Sunday, October 26, 2014

FOOD: A LOVE STORY by Jim Gaffigan

DAD IS FAT by Jim Gaffigan was a rabid mix of blog posts, essays, observations, and stand up comedy related to his real life experiences raising five kids in a two-bedroom walkup. Topical gallows humor taken from his stand-up routines for various comedy clubs and late night shows like Letterman were combined to produce his first actual book. (Previously his Mr. Universe, Beyond the Pale, King Baby, and Doing My Time were only audiobook stand-up routines, so the complaint that some of that material was reproduced there was not a valid one.) Once Jim had an actual book to sign at bookstores, he toured the country, culminating in performances at universities, arts centers, and the Mirage Hotel in Vegas. While another complaint about that hilarious book is that it mostly relates to the trials of being a parent, (and the loss of sleep and eating habits resulting from being caught in those particular cross-hairs), I believe that this too was a plus. Being a bachelor without kids, I can learn and laugh over what it tells me about that side of life---(what might have been, had I been wise or stupid enough to leap/stumble into that wonderful/horrid situation.) My only complaint about the subject matter can be seen in the stand-up video below. Humor is made by laughing at any possibility of choice we have regarding pop culture and eating at McDonalds. His new book FOOD: A LOVE STORY continues on this theme, saying he's given up trying to resist all the ads for junk food, while embracing the American obsession with basic food porn and overeating. And, ironically, maybe he's right. The patriotic thing to do does, these days, seem to be: get a cheeseburger topped with a ham sandwich and two donuts. "We eat for the rest of the world," he jokes, "so maybe the solution to starvation is that we eat the starving, too." Reading this sentiment sounds outrageous, so I recommend hearing these books on audio. This is satire, and audio is the only way to listen to a comic, to get their gist and nuance reading words, unless the writer is as good as Woody Allen, writing in The New Yorker. Gaffigan is no Woody, but neither are most comics. (Ed. note: Most Americans are not into written satire, anyway, but rather blunt jokes, and escapes. This is why sports and gaming are two of the most indulged fantasies on Earth. Seems we only surface long enough for another Baconator and a few one-liners from the news media, consumed like fries. It’s like we’re on this giant merry-go-round, Jim seems to be saying, with lots of bells and whistles, going in circles, and what do we do instead of getting off? Play the ponies. Pretend we’re racing.) Most of the audiobook is comedy about various foods, while Jim has "no idea" why anyone is vegetarian or a health nut. Taste is all that matters here. You shouldn't eat for any other reason. Except for that feeling of fullness: "I know I haven't finished eating until I'm sick." Luckily he hasn't discovered drugs yet. Like for diabetes. If he was serious---and you can't tell if he ever is---perhaps his gravestone would read LIVED FAST, DIED YOUNG. The stone would, no doubt, resemble a strip of bacon!

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