Jim Gaffigan “Beyond The Pale”

Posted 30 Apr 2012 in Albums of 2006, Albums of the 00s, Comedy


Today’s Cool Album of the Day (#690 in the Series) is Jim Gaffigan, Beyond the Pale 

I have always wondered why and how a comedy record would cost as much as a record by a musical artist; I mean you might listen to it a couple times, but rarely more than that right? Well, here is an exception and I believe an exceptionally funny album that I have played many times and even though I know what is coming next, I still find myself laughing out loud. The material is highly quotable and very much repeatable as he makes expert use of deadpan sarcasm. His observational comedy seems to have universal appeal and is spot on when it comes to the, I agree, that is funny, people never talk about that, but Hot Pockets are totally disgusting, but as I write this I can’t get my mind off having one for lunch.

Jim Gaffigan is best known for his stand up comedy but he also has done quite a bit of acting, occasionally playing non-comedic characters (one of my favorite movies, “It’s Kind of a Funny Story,” Gaffigan is the main character’s clueless dad). There are two things that stand out about his stand up act, and both are displayed in Beyond the Pale. The first is he is for the most part pretty clean in his humor, leaving out the F-bombs which would not make this material any more hilarious. The second, his omnipresent alter ego which offers commentary on his material from a hypothetical, naïve and easily offended audience member. For instance, in the final piece on the record he asks rhetorically if Jesus ever mixed his carpentry with his miracles; ”‘yes, I need a new bookshelf and my son is blind, but build the bookshelf first because I know the kid really wants to see that.” And the alter ego says, “He is going to get struck by lightning right there on stage. That would make this the best show ever.”

A high percentage of the cuts here are about food, and they are pretty darn funny, but my favorites are when he talks about holidays (Independence Day-“I normally wouldn’t eat a burger, brat and a steak, but it’s what our forefathers had in mind when they wrote the Constitution. Then I ‘m going to get drunk and blow up stuff”.) And in the next track, Presents,” did you ever get a flask for a gift? That person is saying, you look like a drinker on the go.”

Beyond the Pale is a great satire on the everyday life and he gives some killer punch lines that are sure to keep you laughing and probably wanting more. The title is based on Gaffigan’s light complexion, but the laughs are anything but light, and even if you only own one comedy album there is a good chance that when you play it for someone else they have either heard it and love it or will ask you who it is so they can get it.

— John Driscoll

Track listing

  1. Opening
  2. I Love Food
  3. Packaging
  4. The Grocery Store
  5. Eat Like An American
  6. Fast Food
  7. Delivery
  8. Spray Cheese
  9. The Case Against Cinnabons
  10. Dessert
  11. Cake
  12. Holidays
  13. Presents
  14. Eat Vegetarian
  15. Steak and Salad
  16. Eat Healthy
  17. Hot Pockets
  18. Weird
  19. Catholic
  20. Heaven
  21. Jesus, Mary and Joseph


Listen to Jim Below

Posted by Larry Carta

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