Published Jul 08, 2016Exclaim! is reviewing every standup comedy special currently available on Netflix Canada, including this one. You can find a complete list of reviews so far here.
Jim Gaffigan's act is pure in both senses of the word: it's clean comedy, and it's pretty much flawless.
Unlike most comics who frantically jump between topics to maintain their momentum, Gaffigan digs into only a dozen subjects during his 70 minutes on stage, and his focus pays off. The famed family man's concentration allows his strings of goofy jokes to impact at a level that is usually only achieved through candid storytelling, and it's amazing to witness.
The ultimate example of how Gaffigan's humour manages to hit hard is his material about McDonald's. The bit starts off with Gaffigan discussing the embarrassment and guilt of going to McDonald's, then continues to playfully grow with his vivid description of eating their fries fresh versus eating them reheated after a few days. Following that seamless escalation, Gaffigan finishes his McDonald's material by light-heartedly showing that the shameful hedonism he indulges in at McDonald's is universal: "Maybe your McDonald's is telling yourself that Starbucks Frappuccino is not a milkshake. Or maybe you watch Glee. It's all McDonald's. McDonald's of the soul."
Mr. Universe is also outstanding because it makes the most of every nugget of humour: it's packed with repeating punchlines and callbacks that never feel overused. In his material about working out, he mocks the ego of gymnasts by repeating the word "myself" for hyperbolic hilarity. Likewise, in his chunk about whales, he uses a whale noise for reoccurring absurdity. Best of all, Gaffigan takes the sentence "What room are you staying in?" and milks it to its full potential. After establishing it as an unintentionally creepy phrase people say at hotels, he voices it through multiple characters at the hotel's pool to induce rolling laughter, then later unexpectedly brings it back in his closer for a hilariously surprising finale.