Comedian Gaffigan delivers zany stories from the front lines of urban parenting.
Living in a two-bedroom New York City apartment with five kids and an amazingly “fertile” wife, frumpy funnyman Gaffigan may have found, in a sense, the perfect domestic situation for a comedian trolling for new material. His chaotic family life serves as the basis for this nonfiction debut, and readers can assume that he’ll reap an endless supply of comedic material from this situation for years to come. Branching out from his usual wheelhouse jokes involving subjects like bacon or McDonald’s hamburgers, the author’s G-rated sense of humor expands into new parental/responsible adult territory. Topics include his wife’s obvious love of pregnancy, the cringe-worthy question of circumcision, the demented universe of children’s literature and the challenging adventures of raising kids in the city. He gets much mileage out of the sort of exaggerated mock cruelty that comedian Louis C.K. revels in, only Gaffigan is a bit less mean-spirited. His prose style resembles that of most comedians who write books: The sentences are simple, short and punchy, with much the same rhythms of delivery as their stand-up counterparts. But as the book progresses, the rapid-fire assault of jokes and punch lines can seem strained, and Gaffigan sometimes misses his targets and pulls up lame, much like a heavyweight boxer who comes out of his corner scoring points early but punches himself out halfway through the fight. Later in the book, when he compares a 3-year-old with insomnia to a heroin addict going through withdrawal, you know you’re beginning to witness a once-effective formula running itself into the ground.
Hardly groundbreaking comedy material, but the book will appeal to Gaffigan’s fans. Others can stick to his usually funny Twitter feed.