Everyman comedian a hit at San Antonio’s Majestic Theater
Comedian Jim Gaffigan is that rarest of touring headliner who can take on Fiesta and come out on top.
Gaffigan played two virtually sold-out shows at the Majestic Theatre on Saturday. All told, he would perform for more than 4,400 fans.
Fiesta fireworks could be heard reverberating as Gaffigan’s first show was letting out.
His tour is called “The Fixer Upper,” but Gaffigan, the famously suntan-averse, tubby, lazy-but-clean comic in dad pants, didn’t do any handyman bits.
The low-key comedian, actor and best-selling author hit the stage at 7:15 p.m., profusely thanking the crowd and then uttering, “I should have showered.”
Before Gaffigan got started, opening act comic Ted Alexandro drew laughs with his sarcastic takes on love and the aches and pains of aging. He joked that he wakes up with a new injury routinely. “Am I supposed to stretch before I sleep now?”
In his performance, Gaffigan employed his trademark breathy delivery, which can go from a whisper to a self-deprecating yelp all in the same sentence.
His offbeat observations, weird, silly and downright strange, often brought the talking points home to San Antonio.
“I’ve been in Texas two days, and I’ve had queso five times,” he joked.
Gaffigan is an everyman entertainer — though not quite a throwback. In temperament, he’s like the baby brother of a baby boomer. To put it in perspective, he was born the year before the late Kurt Cobain of Nirvana.
The pale bearded comic wore a button shirt, fastened almost to the top button, black jeans and sneakers. He joked about his casual non-style.
Since he’s toured overseas lately, his act included mildly twisted bits about Roman conquests, vegan cannibals, eating reindeer at Christmas and imagining being at the Alamo.
Gaffigan said he’d be the guy who would’ve spoken up when it came to discussions about fighting to the death.
“Excuse me?” he said in a feigned high-pitched panic. “Have you tasted Mexican food?”
Gaffin somehow worked in a routine about a castle’s moat: “Moat jokes did much better back in the 1400s,” he said.
The internal monologue is his most effective weapon, disarming a joke that’s going south or taking aim at his out-of-shape body and attitude.
When Gaffigan joked that there were no images of the teenage Jesus Christ, the comic interrupted himself, “Jim, you sound so stupid.”
Later, he would scold himself: “Jim, you’re too believable as the creepy guy.”
Last April, Gaffigan’s wife, Jeannie, was diagnosed with a brain tumor and had to undergo brain surgery. Even that wasn’t off limits, as he discussed the ordeal (she’s OK) in his best Andy Rooney voice.
Unlike many comics these days, Gaffigan only mentioned President Donald Trump once in fleeting, but effective, fashion.
“I feel as a straight white male, I’ll be OK,” he said.
And then there was the just plain weird. He described a goat — in a bit about goat cheese — as a “dog that looks like it smoked meth.”
The crowd was with him all the way. Some fans even brought preteens to the show, though the younger looking ones didn’t always look like they could follow the absurdities.
Gaffigan performed for an hour and returned for a brief encore dominated by his famous “Hot Pockets” jokes.
“I just ate a Hot Pocket,” he joked after returning to center stage. “I still buy ’em, even after the recall.”
Maybe because they still will get him a standing ovation at the end of a hilarious night.
Gaffigan’s upcoming direct to digital comedy special, “Noble Ape” is expected this summer.
Hector Saldana is curator of the Texas Music Collection at The Wittliff Collections at Texas State University