TV Weekly Cover: The Life and Times of Jim and Jeannie Gaffigan

TV LAND, Wednesdays, 10:00 PM ET
Being Funny is all in the family

By Kellie Freeze

“The Jim Gaffigan Show,” airing Wednesdays on TV Land, stars comedian Jim Gaffigan as a fictionalized version of himself — a food- and nap-loving devoted father of five, who is raising his brood of fair-haired kids in a two-bedroom apartment in New York City.

Gaffigan produces and writes the series with his wife, Jeannie, and boasts, “The point of view of this entire show, from wardrobe to casting to locations, is all Jim and Jeannie.” Jeannie jokingly adds that by controlling the show, they are controlling their destinies. “That way, we know 100 percent that if people like it, it’s us — and if people don’t like it, it’s us.”

Gaffigan is a wildly successful standup comedian and best-selling author of “Dad Is Fat” and “Food: A Love Story,” but the new show isn’t a rehashing of Gaffigan’s most famous material. Instead, the fresh and funny series “is showing thematically where some of this material comes from,” Jeannie says. She calls Jim’s point of view “the id of us all” — that almost everyone would like to lie in bed and eat bacon all day, but only Jim is honest enough to say it loudly and proudly, and then take those Homer Simpson-like desires and act upon them.

“From an acting standpoint, I love playing a smart dumb guy,” Jim admits. When asked how he differs from his performing personas, he explains, “I would say that Real-Life Jim is smarter than Standup Jim, and Standup Jim is smarter than ‘The Jim Gaffigan Show’ Jim.”

Supporting Jim is a brilliant cast including Adam Goldberg as his cynical and acerbic comic friend, Ashley Williams as the TV version of Jeannie, and Michael Ian Black as Jeannie’s gay best friend and Jim’s biggest critic.

Being gifted with such a talented cast is not without its challenges for Jeannie. “We have to get these episodes cut down to 20 minutes and 30 seconds,” she laments. “That’s the hardest part because there’s so much funny in these improvs that these guys are doing!”