Any comedy fan vaguely aware of stand-up Jim Gaffigan knows his material is packed with observations about things most people can identify with: Food and families.
He’s waxed about these topics extensively on his acclaimed stand-up specials and in his two recently published books. Last month he further expanded his resume when “The Jim Gaffigan Show” debuted on TV Land.
Gaffigan says the show — which stars Gaffigan along with Ashley Williams, Adam Goldberg and Michael Ian Black — has been met with mostly positive feedback from critics.
“My wife, Jeannie Gaffigan, and I wrote all the episodes and we cast the whole thing. When we went to TV Land we were kind of given complete authority and that allows us to really kind of put out the type of show we want.”
The single-camera show has been compared to Louis C.K.’s “Louie.” Like “Louie,” Gaffigan plays a fictionalized version of himself as a stand-up comedian and father in New York City. That’s where the comparison’s to “Louie” must end. Gaffigan’s show is rated TV-PG, and revolves around his life with his wife and their five children, who all live in a two bedroom apartment.
That part isn’t fictionalized, though. Gaffigan actually did used to live in a two-bedroom apartment with his wife and their five children. The Gaffigans have since moved into a bigger place, but the show’s set is based on their old Manhattan apartment.
“They came in and measured it and thought it was too small, so the apartment that we shoot in is actually bigger than our old apartment.”
Gaffigan says his children aren’t really impressed by the fact that dad’s on TV more now.
“They’re probably less impressed and find it more unique next to their friends’ dads,” he told The Detroit News via a phone call from his tour bus this week. “The good thing is is that most of my audience that likes my stand-up are teenagers. My 11-year-old kind of gets it and likes it.”
On Friday Gaffigan returns to Meadow Brook Music Festival in Rochester Hills where he’s performed several summers in a row. Because his comedy is clean but “not vanilla,” he draws a diverse crowd, he says.
“I love the fact that at my shows a Mormon family will be sitting next to a lesbian couple in my audience,” he says. “It’s not by design, but it ends up that way. I’m not offending anyone. I’m not targeting anyone. There are some jokes that a 15-year-old is going to understand because they’re more computer savvy than their parents, and then there’s some jokes that a parent is going to understand more.”
The Midwest native says he’ll do mostly new material on Friday, but he has to put in some of his well-known bits.
“If I didn’t do ‘Hot Pockets,’ there may be some outrages,” says Gaffigan, referring to what is likely his most famous bit where he talks about how perfectly gross the frozen meal is. “There’s definitely going to be ‘Hot Pockets’ or a version of ‘Hot Pockets,’ some (material) from my last album, the rest of it is all new.”
with Ted Alexandro
8 p.m. Friday
Meadow Brook Music Festival
3554 Walton, Rochester
$20 lawn, $29.50-$69.50 pavilion
‘The Jim Gaffigan Show’
10 p.m. Wednesdays