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Universal Critique


Comedian Jim Gaffigan raises his material to new heights on "Mr. Universe," a new special


By Michael Shashoua / Jester Editor-In-Chief


On “Mr. Universe,” an album being released by Comedy Central on Aug. 28, comedian Jim Gaffigan accelerates and sharpens his deliberately laconic onstage persona to deliver a critique of American fast food culture.


Gaffigan kicks things off with his trademark middle-aged lady whisper, saying “he’s doing that voice again.” But this isn’t the only voice in his arsenal this time around. He reveals an Italian accent here and there on pieces such as “Bodybuilders” and “Domino’s.” Aside from that pizza chain, he takes on McDonald’s and Subway as well, along with Disney theme parks. One of Gaffigan’s trademark bits is about Hot Pockets, and he has expanded on that with some of these riffs.


In that Disney piece, Gaffigan tells adults that to understand what Disney is like, imagine “standing in line at the DMV … and that’s it.” And from there, he digs into everybody’s proclivity for photographing anything and everything – to the extent that downloading all those photos chokes your computer. Gaffigan concludes that we now just stack up computers rather than photo albums. “This is my computer from when I was single. Better destroy that one,” he says.


On pieces like these, as well as “Hotel Pools” and “Working Out,” Gaffigan shows himself to be a master of satirizing consumer culture, often doing so by confessing to falling prey to it. As an album and special, “Mr. Universe” finds Gaffigan pumping more energy into his delivery and thus connecting with his material more deeply and frequently.














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