Jim Gaffigan is one of the biggest names in comedy. He has opened and performed for some strangely huge names like the Pope (yup, that Pope,) and has been nominated for two Grammys. So, when he shuffled onto the stage in a pink “State Fair” hoodie (that he later pointed out matched his skin quite well,) the audience was in the presence of some true comedic talent. Senator Al Franken carried a wooden stool for Gaffigan to sit on out onto the stage. When he was asked who exactly he was, he simply replied with “I’m someone who makes things happen around here” followed by roaring applause from the crowd.
Many have referred to Jim Gaffigan as the next Jerry Seinfeld, full of relatable humor that the average American can’t help but at the very least, chuckle at. He didn’t get too vulgar, curse too much, or get very political, which was appreciated by the nearly 12,000 audience members, many of them being quite young. The crowd was full of not only people but tons of fried snacks that had been brought in from the surrounding fairgrounds. Who could resist drinking pickle flavored beer and eating boozy pie while watching their favorite comedian who has an abundance of jokes about his love of not-so-healthy foods? I sure couldn’t.
Gaffigan talked about his wife’s recent very scary brush with cancer, emphasizing that it was serious and jarring but also noting that, for some reason, doctors always seem to dumb down information about tumors by comparing them to fruit and balls. “I don’t think this guy eats fruit, but centimeters are probably out…” Gaffigan recalled the doctors telling him as they told him about the pear sized growth in his wife’s brain. He seamlessly transitioned into tons of other topics: traveling as an American, dentistry, hot pockets, and dentistry again.
He’s known for his self deprecating humor and he delivered on that gimmick. Multiple times throughout the night he “interrupted himself” with that high-pitched, moan-y, judgemental voice we’ve come to love. He was nitpicking how many times he said he didn’t love his five kids or criticizing his low blow jokes about British people just needing to do things differently than we do here in America and the crowd was clearly eating it up. I distinctly heard the couple behind me exclaim “Ha! That’s so true!” after nearly every joke he told.
The rain began to fall towards the end of the show but without missing a beat, the audience pulled their plastic ponchos over their heads while Gaffigan assured everyone that he wasn’t getting wet so there was no need to worry. After he left the stage to roaring applause, the fair’s signature fireworks began to go off as everyone threw out their empty beer cups and cheese curd buckets and headed home.
Opening the night was Ted Alexandro whose set was shortened by the incoming weather but still managed to get some good laughs out of the crowd in the short time he had