We are finally far enough along in 2017 that Netflix has begun to bring comedy specials from this year to their streaming service, and they did not disappoint. One of the most familiar comedy specialists on the big stage, Jim Gaffigan, hosted his fifth appropriately-titled hour-long special “Cinco” recently. Over the years he’s mastered the art of appropriated humor, and somehow that makes him even funnier than if he were raunchy and vulgar.
Gaffigan anchors his humor on subjects like parenting, American’s stereotypical behavior and exercise. Each one of his jokes has a sense of innocence, yet makes subtle but direct playful jabs at specific people. His special opens with a short film featuring his children, who make up a good number of his jokes. Then he moves on to talk about his life growing up, his numbness to his personal faults and the numerous television watchers who seek accomplishment from finishing a show like “True Blood.”
Like many other great comedians, Gaffigan’s use of impressions adds significantly to his comedic attributes, not to mention his stereotypical impression of narrators on pick-up truck commercials, namely the one for Ram Trucks, is absolutely spot-on.
Since Gaffigan can safely assume that his comedy is appropriate for children’s ears, this has made him a very versatile comedian. Most comedians, when their jokes are inappropriate in nature and laced with vulgar or racial slurs, have a very defined audience. Comedians like Ron White and Maine’s very own Bob Marley can only pander to a certain kind of people. Gaffigan, on the other hand, can get nearly anybody to laugh because he’s not offensive and is innocent when making his jokes. That’s hard to do in an age when controversy consistently fills the news. It is also remarkable that much of his humor is not political. As stated before, he relies much on self-deprecating, deadpan and observational comedy to fill up his hour-long Netflix Original special.
The best thing about “Cinco” is that there are no frills; it’s just straightforward funniness. Bo Burnham’s song-filled routines draw a huge crowd, but if you were to dumb them down to strictly jokes, he might not get as many ticket holders as Gaffigan, and certainly not as many families with children. Gaffigan even might do well in a television sit-com. Not one of those ones that is on Disney Channel, but one of those shows on the popular networks like NBC or TNT. Gaffigan might have even been a great character on “The Office” when it was still being produced. Who knows, but we can all dream a little.
Gaffigan’s greatness as a comedian continues to impress his audience even today. He continually updates his comedy to fit the lifestyles of everyday Americans and his constantly growing audience. It will be hard to best this latest special, but hopefully we will see Gaffigan doing what he does best onstage again soon, this time with even more lazy and food-related stories to tell. Until then, we can all binge watch his specials on Netflix.