Last weekend I had the pleasure of seeing comedian Jim Gaffigan in concert. It was a fun night. I laughed through his entire show, and his opening act, Ted Alexandro. They were both seamless, current, and entertaining, but there’s something else that was noticeable about this concert, and if it’s okay, I’ll just get this out of the way up front.
I have never been around so many white people. They were everywhere. And I’m white. I promise, this isn’t a post about race relations, far from it, but this is Houston – a very diverse city – so it was kind of weird. And since it’s rude to discuss religion, I won’t tell you about Jim’s Catholic jokes, other than they were mostly respectable. So there you go, I’ve gotten that off my chest. The venue was outdoors, we purchased lawn seats and enjoyed the show from a bird’s eye view.
Here’s what I love about Jim, and other comedians like him, he makes you feel special as a city. His beginning monologue was about how we lived in a microwave. It’s Houston. We know it’s hot. We also know it’s humid. No need to rub it in. But Jim did and it was okay.
And here’s why it worked. Partly, because it’s good to laugh at yourself. When you know your flaws, no one can use them against you, right? But after slamming Houston, Jim spoke about his youthful Indiana winters and how they were worse than our summers. (Though it’s probably a tie.)
A couple of years ago I went to see Journey at this same venue, and the lead singer, Arnel Pineda, called out, “Hello, Dallas,” three times before a roadie told him he was actually in Houston. For the rest of the concert the word, Houston, was repeated over and over again. We got sick of hearing our own name. Just a tip, know where you are, then tease them relentlessly.
And when it comes to Jim’s Hot Pockets routine, you either love it or hate it, but it was cool to see it in person – he saved it for the finale. Overall, I was amazed that Jim could deliver such consistent material in an unrushed manner without visible notes for over an hour, like Jim had all night to hang out with us, in the heat, in his long sleeved shirt and black slacks. Did I mention the heat?