When he’s at home with his five kids, Jim Gaffigan talks about the pandemic with them. During the first few months of the pandemic in 2020, Gaffingan and his wife Jeannie and their five children, Marre, Jack, Katie, Michael, and Patrick, lived in New York City. In June, they found it too much, so they moved upstate and bought a house to have more space.
“It’s been a long time, isn’t it?” Gaffigan talks to CNN about the last two years. He talks about how things have changed. The Fall of Saigon is a good analogy. There are so many emotions in that story, you know. I think it’s going to be really interesting to see how we all grow to understand what we went thru as a group. What do I mean? There are psychological effects, and we know that kids have had a hard time.
It’s hard for even a well-known comedian like Jim Gaffigan to describe what it was like to live with five kids and a pandemic.
He says with a big smile that he thinks it’s a little bit like watching an episode of “Dateline,” As soon as we get to the four-minute commercial junk, there’s a new one when we get back.
When the pandemic came around, he says he wasn’t doing stand-up. He was still getting a lot of material from inside his own house, which he turned into commentaries for “CBS Sunday Morning.”
In the first year and a half, Gaffigan says, “I didn’t write standup very much.” He adds, “I was trying to work out.” Finally, I got all of my weight back. At least a week. Our house has seven people, so there was a lot of people “going crazy.”
As time went on, the screens took over, like many many families.
That spring break, the whole family watched movies together every night. But the screens took over. What do I mean? I’d be lying if I said they didn’t, like. because we didn’t want to kill each other.
Some drive-in shows made Jim Gaffigan want to keep his sanity at home, but he also didn’t want to lose stage time and his sense of community in the comedy world.
This is what he said: “It was really bad, but you know, it wasn’t the connection, but that was a reflection of how much we wanted to be part of something.”
As time went on, he kept doing fundraisers and virtual performances, but he stopped doing live shows.
Then I had done standup for 30 years, and I had kind of made my mark. That’s what he says. I felt more sorry for the people who were finally getting some attention because they were selling out shows.
He and his wife, who had a near-fatal brain tumor removed in 2017, decided to try to help medical workers who were on the front lines of the pandemic by giving them money and gifts. The couple started a project thru their nonprofit group, The Imagine Society, to bring food to hospitals across New York City’s five boroughs.
In August 2021, Jim Gaffigan took the stage again, and quickly turned a new act into a Netflix special called “Comedy Monster.” While he says that a lot of his material is timeless, he decided to keep some pandemic material in because, well, how can we forget about it?
It’s like how the stock market used to go up and down, he says. In some ways, it almost forced me to make the jokes about the pandemic in a way that made them universal.
This made Jim Gaffigan think about comedy and live shows in a whole new way after he went back on stage.
Then: “Oh my gosh. It was so amazing. When he did the job, “it was so rewarding.” I understand that it’s not ideal, but there is a lot of energy there that people like. A live show is an extra treat, you know?