Jim Gaffigan: King Baby
Directed by Troy Miller
Studio: Paramount/Comedy Central
Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1 anamorphic
Running Time: 71 minutes
Audio: Dolby Digital 5.1, 2.0 stereo English
MSRP: $ 16.99
Release Date: March 31, 2009
Review Date: March 28, 2009
Comedian Jim Gaffigan brings his shambling, affable observations about everyday life to the live stage in King Baby, the end of his sensational cross-country standup act “The Sexy Tour.” Recorded in Austin, Texas, in front of a sold out audience of appreciative fans, King Baby is more of what Gaffigan does best: small observations on the mundane pleasures and problems of life in America told by one of its most unassuming, easy-to-take comic voices. Gaffigan never pushes for laughs by assaulting the audience but rather builds to his boffo moments with an ever-increasing number of jokes on single topics, all the time making small voice observations on his own act by a critical second voice in his head that wants to be heard.
For some, Gaffigan’s gentle wit and piquant world view of our life and times might seem too reserved, but his guileless manner allows the audience to discover his conclusive statements as if we were thinking of them right along with him, all the time laughing at the ironic truth behind everything he says. Much of his act is built around food, certainly a topic everyone can find interesting. He riffs for five hilarious minutes on bacon alone and then returns to it repeatedly during the remainder of the evening. Bowling comes in for some hysterical skewering as well as such seemingly unrelated topics as circumcision, his own laziness (with side trips to discussions of escalators, moving sidewalks, and automatic doors), the Bible’s Abraham, and his own two children.
Director Troy Miller makes the entire 71-minute act seem effortless, and his various cameras placed around the Paramount Theatre in Austin capture the mostly sedentary Gaffigan from a variety of angles. There is nothing grandiose about the presentation, much like the main attraction himself. The cleverness and quiet intelligence behind the jokes isn’t obscured by a flashy production or a too-busy presentation.
The program is framed at 1.78:1 and is anamorphically enhanced for widescreen televisions. The picture is a bit soft, surprisingly so, though there are no obvious problems with dirt or debris. There is some aliasing present, and some pixilation at times is also noticeable. The program has been divided into 27 chapters.
The Dolby Digital 5.1 audio track puts Gaffigan’s vocal track in the center channel and all of the music (opening and closing credits) and audience laughter and applause in the surround channels. Though the audience is appreciative and vocal, they never obscure anything the comedian has to say. The LFE channel is there in name only.
Three episodes of Pale Force, Gaffigan and Conan O’Brien’s Emmy-nominated internet animated series, are offered for viewing either separately or together in one 14-minute grouping. The three episodes are “Sidekicks” (the best of the three), “Land of Robots,” and “Pale Christmas.” They’re in nonanamorphic widescreen.
Four brief episodes of Our Massive Planet, a droll 4:3 nature series satire, can be viewed individually or in one 7 ½-minute grouping. The episodes are “Credentials,” “Primates 2,” Zebras,” and “Dogs.”
Two interviews with Jim Gaffigan are available for viewing. The never-aired faux-interview with a haughty British journalist runs for 6 ½ minutes in nonanamorphic widescreen. More revealing is a 26 ½ minute talk with the host of an XM-Sirius radio/video show in nonanamorphic widescreen.
The Atlanta Meet and Greet On Demand promo for his tour stop in Georgia’s capital city runs 9 ¾ minutes in 4:3.
Two extended series of Gaffigan promos for his two national tours, aired during commercial breaks of Comedy Central’s Friday Night Stand Up, are available for viewing. Both aired in 4:3, “The Sexy Tour” promos run 11 ¼ minutes while the “Beyond the Pale Tour” promos last 10 ¼ minutes.
Jim Gaffigan’s King Baby will air on Comedy Central Sunday, March 29th at 9 p.m. EDT. This DVD, which contains additional comic material which will not be included in the broadcast version, comes to stores on Tuesday, March 31st. It’s a fun, fast hour of big laughs which can be appreciated from teens to adults. Recommended!