Last week I had the pleasure of seeing two author events hosted by one of my favorite bookstores, Rainy Day Books. First was comedian Jim Gaffigan, on tour for his debut book Dad is Fat. He was exactly as expected: funny, down to earth… just a great night! Fun fact: Jim Gaffigan’s favorite food is steak. Somehow I don’t think he was just pandering to the meat-obsessed Kansas City crowd… and yes we did ask him to inscribe our copy of the book to “bacon” 🙂
Dad is Fat is a collection of humorous essays about Gaffigan’s family life, specifically being a father of five children under age 10… AND raising them in a two-bedroom apartment in New York City.
Gaffigan—best known for his comedy specials about junk food and laziness—definitely delivers on his brand of self-depreciating, observational humor here. Other reviews I read complained that that much of the material in the book has already been found in his TV specials… but since I haven’t watched all his specials (and the ones I’ve seen were so long ago), the jokes felt fresh to me. I actually laughed out loud at several essays while reading Dad is Fat! Once in a while Gaffigan will become a bit sentimental and “real” about some of his life, but he always brings back the humor by wrapping up with a joke.
I thought the stories were great and relatable, even for adults with no children… although I think for this book to have a stronger effect on you, having kids in your life in some way could help—as an aunt/uncle or friend of someone with small kids, etc. Or just if you love family life in general and enjoy all its fun and weirdness. But I definitely wouldn’t say being a parent is necessary to “get” the humor. My favorites: his analogy of Mom/Dad = President/VP of the family; the whole “Pale Force” chapter (I can really relate to that one!); and his analysis of classic, beloved children’s books.
If I have a (light) criticism, it’s that Dad is Fat might be a touch on the long side at nearly 300 pages… but the essays are all pretty short and quick reads, and I was able to finish it all in just one weekend.
Read from May 26 to 27, 2013.