Saying Jim Gaffigan is a talented comedian is a little like saying J. Robert Oppenheimer is a noted historical figure. Not only is Gaffigan’s humor excellently crafted, unique, and utterly brilliant, but the jokes are also shockingly relatable to millions of parents everywhere. You can watch a clip of a Jim Gaffigan bit on your phone, on mute, in the middle of the night, only with captions, and his deep understanding of the travails of parenthood can buoy you for like an entire month. Sometimes a Jim Gaffigan joke cuts so deep it barely feels like a joke, but instead, a telepathic shared catharsis.
There’s several definitions of what constitutes “Dad Joke,” but what we talk about when we talk about Jim Gaffigan jokes is the idea of a “Dad Joke” as a joke about how hard it is to be a parent. His latest stand-up special, Dark Pale — which just hit Amazon Prime — has been declared his “best yet” by the New York Times. And it’s easy to see why. Not only is Gaffigan going a bit darker in this special, but he’s also speaking to the world of parenting in a way that only he can.
If you remain unconvinced, here are Gaffigan’s three best parenting jokes from Dark Pale that will convince you that somehow, he has looked deep into your soul and stolen everything that lurks there, and then, turned it into a comedy bit.
Gaffigan’s latest special is largely focused on mortality and the idea that it’s unfair for family members to have to plan funerals. But, his best joke in this vein is the idea that he wants his funeral to be a total surprise. “Evites go out to friends, last minute party, big announcement!” And then, and only then, when people show up, does he want anyone to be told. That’s the ultimate dad prank, right?
As millions of dads either embark on, or return from summer vacations, this new Gaffigan bit hits home. “You ever seen a dad on vacation? They’re so confused They’re always like...wait is this my vacation? But, but but, I’m not having any fun.” He also points out that nobody would choose to travel with children unless those children were their own. “You know what would make this road trip epic? A four-year-old!”
“Good at Parenting”
Gaffigan is somewhat famous for having five kids. And he points out that having a big family leads people to jump to conclusions that he is a good dad. But as all parents know, just being around kids a lot doesn’t mean you’re great at what you do. As he says: “Sometimes when people find out I have five kids, they think I’m good at parenting. Which is kind of like assuming people with lots of cats aren’t crazy.”
Gaffigan doesn’t drop the mic with this joke, but he very well could. Dark Pale takes Gaffigan to his familiar territory of everyday comedy but also feels new and fresh. He goes dark, he goes big, and at the end of it all, you feel like you’ve hung out with your funniest and most insightful dad friend.