35 Times Jim Gaffigan Was the Funniest Dad Around
Jim Gaffigan is one of America's most famous funny dads. Growing up in the Midwest led Gaffigan to create mostly clean, family-friendly material. The comedian specializing in observational humor has built several successful stand-up specials and has appeared in various TV shows, movies and commercials. He also wrote a book and recently launched a YouTube cooking show with his family called “Dinner With the Gaffigans.”
His dad jokes are what have really gained traction, though, especially as he and his wife welcomed more kids into their family. The New York-based stand-up comic now has five kids in total, so we expect him to keep churning out family-focused comedic gold. Here are 35 times Gaffigan was the funniest dad we know.
On New Year's Eve
The holidays can be a stressful time, but especially so this year, considering we've been quarantining with our families for months.
Gaffigan touched on the topic on Twitter, where he often chronicles his family adventures and shares clips from his shows.
The Joy of Christmas
The winter holidays can inspire countless moments of joy in our households, but juggling presents, decorations, work and kids can get to be a bit much. So, it makes sense that parents rely on the threat of Christmas being canceled, or at least the presents, to instill some calm within their children.
"Merry Christmas, and RIP bargaining chip of 'Better behave or no presents,'" the actor shared on Instagram alongside this picture of his family.
Trying to Sleep
New parents, err, all parents might appreciate Gaffigan's advice regarding finding creative ways to keep the kiddos quiet.
The fact that Gaffigan has five kids in New York of all places, you better believe he talks about this large family dynamic in his shows and online.
Even on Father's Day...
Gaffigan jokes about having multiple kids even on the most celebratory of days…
"Strangers, for some reason, think I'm unaware that it's a lot of kids. 'Five kids. That's a lot of kids.' Oh, you think so? Thanks for the heads-up. Do you mind if I stab you in the head?" he shared in this bit on Twitter.
…And on His Comedy Specials
He’s even used the joke in his comedy special, “Noble Ape.”
"But we got five kids and that seems like a lot. And, frankly, it's too many. It's … it is a lot, but what am I gonna do now? It's not like they come with free return shipping."
Kids Telling the Truth
Kids are kind of famous for their brutal honesty. Or do they call them "burns" in a comedian's house?
Either way, Gaffigan shares this classic example of his daughter being too honest that many parents can relate to.
The Miracle of Birth
In addition to being a famous comedian, actor, writer and producer, Gaffigan also wrote a book titled “Dad Is Fat.” He covers a lot of the parenting journey in his book, including the miracle of birth.
"But truly, women are amazing. Think about it this way: A woman can grow a baby inside her body. Then, a woman can deliver the baby through her body. Then, by some miracle, a woman can feed a baby with her body. When you compare that to the male's contribution to life, it's kind of embarrassing, really," he wrote.
Fake It ’Til They Turn 18
Sometimes you don't realize how little you know about the world until an inquisitive kid won't stop asking you questions about everything. They're new here on Earth, have many questions about it all and assume the nearest adult has the answers.
"I don't know what's more exhausting about parenting: the getting up early or acting like you know what you're doing," Gaffigan shared in his book.
Babies as Roommates
Even though he’s raised five babies, Gaffigan had a hilarious take on their role as roommates in his book. "Babies are the worst roommates. They're unemployed. They don't pay rent. They keep insane hours. Their hygiene is horrible. If you had a roommate that did any of the things babies do, you'd ask them to move out," he wrote.
"'Do you remember what happened last night? Today, you're all smiles, but last night, you were hitting the bottle really hard. Then, you started screaming, and you threw up on me. Then, you passed out and wet yourself. I went into the other room to get you some dry clothes. I came back, and you were all over my wife's breasts! Right in front of me, her husband! Dude, you gotta move out.'"
Gaffigan also touched on bedtimes and enforcing them as a parent in his book. "Bedtime makes you realize how completely incapable you are of being in charge of another human being. My children act like they've never been to sleep before. 'Bed? What's that? No, I'm not doing that.' They never want to go to bed," he wrote.
"This is another thing that I will never have in common with my children. Every morning, when I wake up, my first thought is, 'When can I come back here?' It's the carrot that keeps me motivated. Sometimes, going to bed feels like the highlight of my day. Ironically, to my children, bedtime is a punishment that violates their basic rights as human beings. Once the lights are out, you can expect at least an hour of inmates clanging their tin cups on the cell bars."
Loving Little Monsters
Gaffigan is often asked by fans and reporters why he and his wife have had so many kids.
"I guess the reasons against having more children always seem uninspiring and superficial. What exactly am I missing out on? Money? A few more hours of sleep? A more peaceful meal? More hair? These are nothing compared to what I get from these five monsters who rule my life," the comedian also wrote in his book.
Parenting is a 24/7 job with no official awards outside of "Best Mom" mugs.
We especially love this line from his book about the illustrious pay of parenting: "Raising kids may be a thankless job with ridiculous hours, but at least the pay sucks."
All the Birthday Parties
In addition to caring about what your own kids do, it can become too much when parents have to care about what their kids’ friends do, too — and that’s especially true when it comes to birthday parties.
"Other people's children's birthday parties are the most joyful events you will ever resent having to attend," Gaffigan wrote in his book, “Dad Is Fat.”
Pajamas for Everyone
One of the joys of being a fan of Gaffigan is hearing his interesting bits of operational humor — like this gem from Twitter.
Pajamas are indeed enjoyed by all. Even more so after 2020 when we all worked from home in them for months.
Playing Catch With Kids
Another joy of parenting is teaching your little ones things about life. The problem is that sometimes they don't exactly stick.
America's favorite funny dad tweeted out a great example of this when he tried to his son to play catch.
Comedians travel a lot, performing their shows live. When Gaffigan is home, he tries to plan special one-on-one time with each of his children. In his 2018 special, “Noble Ape,” he shared how well that is going.
"So, sometimes that special daddy-and-me time is just doing something mundane like going with me to the post office. That's right, buddy, it's just you and me going to find out why we got this damn slip on our door. Stick that in the memory bank. 'My dad always making time for me, squeezing me into errands. I remember walking to the post office and listening to him [moan about] the federal government. What a guy.'"
His Wife's Surgery
In his “Noble Ape” special, the comedian even managed to bring humor to the rather serious topic of his wife’s brain surgery.
"I joke around, but it was scary,” he said. “We have five children, and there were moments when I was like, "Oh, my gosh, if anything happens to my wife, those five kids are gonna be put up for adoption.'"
Taking His Kids to the Doctor
In addition to speaking about his wife’s brain surgery in the special, Gaffigan also jokingly shared what family trips to the doctor are like. "That was the only time I would ever see a doctor. Is when I bring my kids in. Sometimes, I'd try and horn in on a pediatric appointment. The doctor'd be like, 'How's little Mikey doing?' 'Mikey's good. He's good," Gaffigan joked.
"He's a little worried about this mole I have on my arm. Yeah, I explained to Mikey that I've always had the mole, but Mikey thinks it might've changed colors. 'Jim, would you like to make an appointment?' No, it's Mikey. He just needs a thumbs up or a thumbs down on the mole. I know Mikey doesn't want to play the Hippocratic Oath card, but you have to tell us, don't you?"
Traveling With Kids
Traveling with kids can be fun. It can also be a cultural experience, even for the locals of the place you're visiting. Gaffigan brought his kids to Japan and thinks they likely startled everyone. "The Japanese are quiet and polite. They're like the opposite of my children. I had my kids with me, and they were always making loud noises," he told the crowd during his “Noble Ape” stand-up special.
"Occasionally, I would catch a Japanese person looking at my poorly behaved kids, and then they would look at me, and I'd always say the same thing, 'We're Canadian.' Of course, we're not Canadian, but … that is what some Americans do when they travel internationally. They tell people they're Canadian."
Going Out to Eat
Gaffigan has brought his kids on a lot of his trips since he travels so much for work — and it’s not all bad. He joked in his special that he likes to have fun going out to restaurants with such a large family.
"I travel with them 'cause I don't wanna be away from 'em, and I also enjoy the look on waitstaff's faces when I walk in with my family. 'Cause my kids are five, six, eight, 11 and 13. And we walked into a restaurant in Dallas, and I saw a waitress look at me and my family and quit her job. I mean, she could've been getting off her shift — I just saw her look at us and throw down her apron and storm off. And I felt like we won."
Summer as a Kid
During Gaffigan's fifth Netflix original stand-up special, “Cinco,” the comedian talks about summer and why it is the best season ... for kids. "Summer's presented as a vacation. It's like a three-month vacation for nobody but children. And who doesn't deserve a few months off after the rigors of kindergarten?" he joked with the crowd.
"I have five young children. During summer, they lounge around like they've just returned from fighting ISIS. ‘Third grade was a beast.’ Summer vacation does kind of set up an adulthood of disappointment. That first job, you're like, 'I have to go to work in July? What is this, Russia?'"
On Kids’ Inability to Clean
Since Gaffigan is a relatable celebrity, he doesn't shy away from sharing the day-to-day parenting moments with his fans on social media. Recently, he shared an experience on Instagram most parents have lived through: the day your kid gives up on cleaning.
"If only the goal was to raise polite, lazy children," he captioned this post on Instagram. "After repeatedly asking our nine- and eight-year-old sons to hang up their coats, they finally relented by providing a written apology."
Kids and the Arts
In addition to attempting to raise polite adults, parents also hope our kids will grow up to be cultured. Or at least somewhat interested in culture. Enter: museums. They are huge spaces dedicated to educating people on art, science, history, etc.
While they are worth the trip, Gaffigan pointed out the reality of how parents get to spend their time in these educational spaces.
Celebrating National Ice Cream Day
Kids and sugar. Was a worse combo ever created? Of course, Gaffigan has some thoughts on the matter. After all, he's the comedian who has a famous Hot Pockets bit.
The man known for his food comedy took to Instagram on National Ice Cream Day (yes, it's a thing) to share a few thoughts on mixing children and sugar.
The Joy of Fall
With the fall season comes certain activities parents do begrudgingly even though they are sometimes fun. Visiting a pumpkin patch or apple orchard comes to mind. Sure, they’re cliche, but sometimes, you have to stick with tradition.
Gaffigan shared what the reality of a day like this is for parents on Instagram. "Today, my family terrorized, I mean visited an apple orchard and overpaid to pick our own apples," he shared. "Following tradition, we lost our two youngest sons in the corn maze for an uncomfortable amount of time."
The Power of Binge-Watching
Even though he travels the world and makes millions from telling jokes, Gaffigan is just like the rest of us and can't resist a good Netflix binge. During his “Cinco” special, he shared how his TV watching has gotten out of hand.
"My friends don't understand. 'When do you watch? You have five kids.' I ignore them. I can't go to that recital. I'm re-watching ‘West Wing.’ It's embarrassing how I consume television," he told the audience.
"There are nights when I've told myself: 'All right. One more season … then I'm going to bed. I mean, come on.' It's hard to stop. You see the ending. You want the accomplishment. Right? 'Oh, you ran a 10K? Yeah, I finished ‘Mad Men.’ I did it. I'm a little sore, but I did it. I'm a television athlete. I'm a tel-athlete.'"
Costumes are inevitably part of the parenting package, and Gaffigan shared his thoughts with the audience in his “Cinco” special about how odd kid costumes can really be.
"When we were in Erie, Pennsylvania, we went on a pirate boat ride, which was pretty authentic because, when I think of Lake Erie, I think of all them pirates storming the shores of western Pennsylvania. There were like 50 kids and they were all dressed like pirates. I felt like I was at a children's Jimmy Buffet concert. And I tell you, those kids were having the time of their lives.
“Kids love to dress like pirates. The murderers and rapists that pirates were. And we think it's adorable. 'It's so cute. He looks just like one of those sociopaths who terrorized the Caribbean.' We let our kids dress like murderers. Darth Vader, that genocidal lunatic. It's fun. The devil. It's cute."
Differences Between Boys and Girls
During “Cinco,” the comedian shared a few thoughts he had on the difference between raising boys and girls. For the record, he has two girls and three boys.
"The weird thing is, if you have little kids, if you have little boys and little girls, you would never think it would ever be a man's world because if you put a three-year-old boy next to a three-year-old girl, and you had to pick who was gonna be in charge in the future, you wouldn't be like, 'The boy, the one chewing on the table.' Because little boys are savages. I have three little boys. Each of them has head-butted me for no reason at all," he said.
"When you have a daughter, you have thoughts like: 'Maybe I should save for med school.' When you have a son, you're like, 'There's gonna be a few rounds of rehab. That's okay.'"
Looking for Your Kids
Every parent has had that anxiety-inducing moment where you can't find one of your kids. Gaffigan shared what that's like for him in his “Cinco” special.
"I travel with my kids. My two youngest are three- and five-year-old boys. And traveling with boys that age is like transferring serial killers between prisons. We've seen the movie. You know it doesn't work out. My three-year-old, I love him, but he's eternally in a bad mood. He always has a look on his face like he's gonna shiv you with a crayon. Or he's pooping. And sometimes it's both," he tells the crowd.
"And our five-year-old, he's an escape artist. He's the El Chapo of children. You just put him down, and he runs. And then I have to pay my 12-year-old to go get him. Sometimes, she can't find him, and I'm forced to stand up and look for my own child. Sometimes, I can't find him. I mean, you always find the kid. The joke doesn't end with, 'Now, I got four kids,' you know? You find the kid. They're with a security guard. They're always with a security guard."
Working With His Wife
During his “Cinco” special, Gaffigan shared some heartfelt and funny thoughts on parenting, marriage and writing with his co-writer, co-parent and wife, Jeannie Gaffigan.
"But that's parenting. It's stressful. Parenting is a sacrifice. It's exhausting. It's expensive. At times, it feels thankless. But, eventually, you die," he shared. "My wife hates that joke. My wife hates that joke. And in full disclosure, she does 90 percent of the work. And the 10 percent I do feels like too much. I'm getting ripped off. Ten percent of five kids. That means I'm in charge of one kid for like half a day."
"My wife is amazing. Even in the most stressful moments, I will catch her looking at me with an expression that could only be described as regret. But she's Catholic, so there's no quitting the team. Thank you, Jesus. I'm aware my wife is out of my league. She's very thin and attractive. I look like I had two wives, and I ate one of them. She's amazing. She's my writing partner. We do everything together."
One of Gaffigan’s best observational humor bits has to do with basic communication — something we all inevitably struggle with. "My wife loves talking on the phone, and I would rather be hit by a car. I'm not saying a big car, but a Mini Cooper. I'd take that over a 20-minute conversation," he told the “Cinco” audience.
"She's always like, 'It seems like you're trying to get off the phone.' 'I am. I love you. I just can't hold my arm up for this long.' I can't believe any of us talk on the phone. There are email and text. Sometimes, my phone rings, I look at it and I think: 'This person better be calling to tell me their hands are chopped off.'”
While we teach our children not to lie, many parents have undoubtedly told a small fib here or there. And Gaffigan’s examples of this are spot on.
"I do sometimes lie up here. I'm not proud of it," he told the audience during his special, “Quality Time.”"But sometimes we all have to lie. Like, even when I tell my children not to lie, I'm kind of lying to them. Some people are like, 'You should never lie to a child,' and those people don't have kids. 'Cause when you have kids, you lie to them all the time. You're, like, 'You wouldn't like this ice cream; it's very spicy. I'd share, but Santa said I can't. Now, why don't you go to sleep, so I can wrestle your mom?'"
The Joy of Traveling Alone
While the dad of comedy is gracious enough to bring his brood on many trips, he also appreciates the silence and extra sleep traveling alone entails. He details it in his “Quality Time” special.
"The kids aren't with me, but if we're really quiet we can hear them screaming in New York City," he told the crowd. "When I travel without my children, in between those moments of guilt, are just hours of happiness. I mean, I love my kids. I just love them more when I'm not with them.”
Final Thoughts on Big Families
In his special “Quality Time,” the comedian extended his thoughts on big families to include his in-laws. "My only issue with my in-laws is there's too many of them. My wife is one of nine children, so every holiday all nine of the siblings and their individual families all get together and spend every moment together," Gaffigan told the crowd.
"Over Christmas, I went to a movie with 30 people. I didn't even know that was legal. We were walking around; people thought we were from a church. To put it in perspective, Jesus only walked around with 12. I learned very quickly I don't wanna do anything with 30 people. If I was on the Titanic and the last rescue boat was filled with 30 people, I'd be like, 'You guys go ahead. I don't want to be there when you try and decide where to eat lunch.'
"Oh, but it was more than 30 people because sometimes those 30 people will invite other people. So, you'll have conversations, and someone will be like, 'I'm your wife's uncle's best friend.' Oh, there's a term for that. Stranger. You're a total stranger," he shared with the cackling crowd.