It took me mere seconds to start cracking up at Jim Gaffigan’s Dad is Fat—and I didn’t even read typeset text.
A gander at the precious pencil drawing (clearly by one of the stand-up comedian’s five young children) opposite the title page shows the whole Gaffigan clan…with the unmistakable depiction of Gaffigan’s torso, front and center, round as a beach ball…and you already know how this book is going to turn out.
Then he dedicates Dad Is Fat to his wife, Jeannie, and all bets are off:
“If you are a fan of Jeannie, you will hear her in this book. For your sake, I removed all of the yelling. The image of Jeannie sitting at her computer turning my insane drivel into coherent essays while breastfeeding newborn Patrick will stay with me forever…She really has ended up being a fantastic first wife.”
Gaffigan, who’s best known for his legendary riffs on Hot Pockets…
…as well as bacon, manatees, and McDonald’s, here expresses all the joys and horrors of life with young children—everything from cousins (“celebrities for little kids”) to toddlers’ communication skills (“they always sound like they have traveled by horseback for hours to deliver important news”) to the eating habits of four year olds (“there is no difference between a four year old eating a taco and throwing a taco on the floor”).
The following chapter-title sampler delves into related subjects:
You get the idea.
Check out this uproarious excerpt—Gaffigan’s letter to his children:
I am your dad. The father of all five of you pale creatures. Given how attractive and fertile your mother is, there may be more of you by the time you read this book. If you are reading this, I am probably dead. I would assume this because I can honestly foresee no other situation where you’d be interested in anything I’ve done. Right now, you are actually more interested in preventing me from doing things like working, sleeping, and smiling. I’m kidding, of course. Kind of. I love you with all of my heart, but you are probably the reason I’m dead.
All right, you didn’t kill me. Your mother did. She kept getting pregnant! I don’t know how. Don’t think about it. It will give you the willies. At one point, I was afraid she got pregnant while she was pregnant. She was so fertile I didn’t even let her hold avocados. Anyway, this is a book all about what I observed being your dad when you were very young and I had some hair back in good old 2013.
So why a book? Well, since you’ve come into my life, you’ve been a constant source of entertainment while simultaneously driving me insane. I felt I had to write down my observations about you in a book. And also for money, so you could eat and continue to break things. By the way, I’m sorry I yelled so much and did that loud clapping thing with my hands. I hated when my dad would do the loud clapping thing with his hands, so every time I do the loud clapping thing, it pains me in many ways. Most of the pain is because that loud clapping thing actually hurts my hands.
You may be wondering how I wrote this book. From a very early age, you all instinctively knew I wasn’t that bright of a guy. Probably from all the times you had to correct me when I couldn’t read all the words in The Cat in the Hat. Hell, I find writing e‑mails a chore. (Thank you, spell-check!) I wrote this book with the help of many people, but mostly your mother. Your mother is not only the only woman I’ve ever loved, but also the funniest person I know. When your mom was not in labor yelling at me, she made me laugh so hard.
P.S. How did you get that hula hoop into that restaurant Easter 2011?
Sean Donnelly asks Gaffigan about raising five kids:
Reminiscent of Fatherhood, Bill Cosby’s written-word tour de force, Dad is Fat is sharply observed, explosively funny, and a cry for help from a man who has realized he and his wife are outnumbered in their own home. (Or is it Jim who’s all alone?)