Mr. Universe: Comedian Jim Gaffigan Rocks In His Stand-up Comedy Special

I recently reviewed comedian Jim Gaffigan’s new stand-up comedy special called Mr. Universe and I have to say from a personal perspective that I found it to be hilarious.

Whether an individual personally cares for Jim’s stand-up comedy or not, I will tell you this – there is a lot that can be learned by other comedians from this master of the stand-up comedy stage.

Let me touch on just a few things that other comedians may want to pay attention to:

Topic based material – below you will find a 9 minute YouTube video of comedian Jim Gaffigan talking about one topic: McDonalds.

My online course for comedians is focused on developing and delivering topic based material for a number of reasons that are illustrated by the stand-up comedy material delivered by Jim Gaffigan as demonstrated in the video below:



1. Once a topic is set-up properly, minimal set-up is needed when expressing oneself about all aspects regarding that topic.

If structured properly, less set-up in stand-up comedy material means more punchlines (provided the material is funny in the first place of course).

Note that the video below represents 9 minutes of material on a single topic. Comedians who work on one joke at a time can literally spend months and months developing enough “jokes” to make up just 5 minutes of material.

2. Just check out the punchline frequency in the video. You need only to count the number of laughs generated each minute to verify for yourself what I am talking about.

Again, another advantage of developing and delivering topic based material.

I should probably mention that over a third of each minute (20+ seconds) in this performance is audience laughter.



3. Also note the topic material itself: McDonalds. Is it cutting edge? Nope. Can virtually everyone relate to, appreciate, visualize what Jim is talking about? Absolutely.

What does that mean? Maximum laughter frequency and intensity because the audience doesn’t have to try to figure out what he’s talking about.

But more importantly, the topic material is appropriate for ANY audience, which provides maximum performance opportunities (and more income for sure).

Another thing I really admire about Jim Gaffigan’s stand-up comedy is that he is able to generate significant and frequent laughter without the usual comments about being a “physical” comedian (which I say throughout this blog that delivery “style” does not matter when it comes to getting big laughs on stage).

Here’s the video:


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6 Replies to “Mr. Universe: Comedian Jim Gaffigan Rocks In His Stand-up Comedy Special”

  1. Jim Gaffigan is a textbook example of what comedic heights can be reached when you use the tone and pace of your voice to add hue and texture to the words that you verbally speak. … If hilarity has a harmonic resonance within us, Gaffigan has found it. … I 100 percent assure you that at no point in his current comedic persona does Jim Gaffigan ever speak faster than an ‘easily absorbable’ rate of words per minute, nor speak louder than an ‘audibly pleasurable’ decible level. … What he has to say is almost incidental to how he says it.

    I am relatively new to comedy, but the three ironclads that I am seeing in all the really great comedians, is that they all have excellent comedic timing; they use their voice like they would use it in their regular, animated, everyday way–with no exaggerated or contrived energies; and they tell stories more than one liner, set-up and punchline style jokes.

    I concluded these things through observation and analysis. But when I stumbled across this site and basically saw all of my conclusions confirmed by someone who has been there, that gave me solace to know that my instincts were true. … I’m a lot more confident in what I am doing, and it is starting to show.

    Just last week I slowed down while telling some stories that got mild laughs the first time out: and they got big laughs when I colored them calmly with my voice, instead of ramming them in the audience’s earhole at a frenetic pace. … I’ve got a lot to learn; but I feel like I am on the right track, now that I understand ‘pace’ and ‘laugh breaks’ a lot better.

    Keep up the good work, Steve.

  2. Love this guy. He tags all of his jokes at least twice and his utilization of characters really accent the tags. There is a lot to learn from studying him.

    • Agreed. And here’s the kicker…

      I would be willing to bet my house that if you spent 30 minutes just talking and cutting up with Jim Gaffigan in real life, his “character” would be the same as what you see on stage.

      That’s the magic of being able to capitalize on what makes an individual funny off stage for the stage.

  3. Gaffigan might be one reason for a bunch of “If he could do it, I can too”comics. Love this guy, has HIS style perfected so it looks easy.