Comedian Jim Gaffigan was barely finished with the promotional trail behind his first book, Dad Is Fat when Food: A Love Story appeared. That’s because he’s – somewhat cleverly – worked out a good way to get paid here, to add to the merchandise of the annual CD/DVD in support of his comedy shows. Books. And Gaffigan’s PG-rated observational humour lends itself, perfectly, to the book treatment. Disguised as “essays” here we have his various bits on/around food.
Food’s a hot topic (er, sorry) for Gaffigan, it’s part of his routine always – and his Hot Pocket bit was one of the things that first got him noticed, pushed him up a level. He’s a great comedian, perfect timing, a unique approach – and Food: A Love Story is funnier than Dad is Fat. Probably the appeal is more universal too, where the first book was a parenting tome – and wanted to have a certain sensitivity to it as well as the mirth – Food is more concerned with collecting his various thoughts on a topic that everyone has some purchase on. Not just parents.
It’s simply funnier too – it feels like more of a book, even though it’s essentially a Greatest Hits, a themed compilation of tried and tested pieces. There’s enough supplemental material fleshing this out for those that have followed Gaffigan’s comedy through the many live albums and TV specials. There’s also the right amount here for first-timers – given this is a subject that should be of appeal to plenty who haven’t delved into Gaffigan’s comedy previously.
There’s a sharper tone here too – because Gaffigan approaches food with no angle of/on moral high ground. He’s a fan. A big fan of food. And fat enough to be able to make fat jokes – to add barbs to any of the bits and come across as the potential target of his own jokes rather than someone being cruel and cold.
At his best Gaffigan is a great comic – and his voice is so clear on the best pages here. It’s a very funny book, one I can imagine dipping back into. Regularly. Returning to this buffet of jokes.