Jim brings the gaffes, again


Easton Thompson

Jim Gaffigan gets into a joke at the beginning of his act on Aug. 16 in Wichita. The show was held at INTRUST Bank Arena.

According to Jim Gaffigan’s “Secret and Pies” traveling comedy show, “Wichita is Native American for Land of the Westboro Baptist Church.” I’ll admit that I had no idea what to expect when I stepped into this show, but after his first joke, I was pretty convinced.

I’ve watched my fair share of comedy specials, but I never got around to seeing anything of Jim Gaffigan’s until Friday at INTRUST Bank Arena.

Gaffigan, one of the most popular “clean” comedians in the industry, has made a career of absurd but also equally mundane observational humor with a dynamic range of voices. He has been nominated for Grammys four different times for his previous specials, so I had some high hopes.

Comedian Ted Alexandro led off the “Secrets and Pies” show. Alexandro was surprisingly entertaining throughout. His flat, dry tone is a great contrast for Gaffigan’s more dynamic flow. I’m someone who would normally prefer to just get to the main act, but Alexandro was a great opener.

Gaffigan himself was a delight to experience live. His energy filled the room. He had the audience’s attention right away. He is clearly a professional in comedy — he always had control of the room. Even when some of his jokes would drag a little long, he kept the audience captivated.

To call Gaffigan clean would be a stretch. He swears very little — if at all. However, that doesn’t stop him from talking about bowel movements that one might make by eating too many Hot Pockets or Taco Bell. He fails to tiptoe around touchy subjects, including the “death sentences” assigned to bikers and cyclists.

For those who have never seen a Gaffigan special, there’s definitely something fresh to enjoy in his touring act.

From his dynamic voice that can change from a deadpan low to a falsetto high at ease, to the way he uses that falsetto to mimic the minds of the audience members out loud, he can break down even the most mundane of topics and push them in bizarre directions. You never really know where he’s going to go.

Gaffigan at his best is when he’s talking about something very real to him. When he’s talking about his experiences as an American tourist or growing up as self-proclaimed “white trash,” he turns his reality into absurdity until it essentially becomes a parody of itself.

I would recommend seeing “Secrets and Pies” for both new and seasoned Gaffigan fans. He’s been doing stand-up comedy long enough that he knows how to put on an entertaining performance, and he isn’t showing any signs of letting up.