Jim Gaffigan’s impressive resume reads comedian, actor, writer and producer. Now, he’s adding another title: sleep aid …
When I was a little kid, to enjoy stand-up comedy, you either needed to know someone whose parents owned comedy albums, or you had to stay up until after the local news and hope, hope that Johnny Carson had a stand-up comedian on “The Tonight Show.” Often, I fell asleep during the news. Remember when the news was boring?
Yes, I grew up a long time ago! I just look like I’m in my 20s.
For decades stand-up comedy has been accessible everywhere. Cable TV, satellite radio, Netflix, Amazon, YouTube, on all the social media platforms. It’s a good thing, and it’s changed many comedians’ lives, and allowed me to be the mediocre father of too many children. People can discover comedians they enjoy and immediately listen to that comedian. It’s a win-win for everyone.
Now recently, I’ve noticed a trend that is, well, I think, odd. On more than one occasion I’ve been told, often by a stranger, “My 10-year-old son listens to you to fall asleep.” “My kids listen to you as a nighttime ritual.” “Your stand-up helps my teenager at bedtime.”
I’m always like, “Um, okay?”
These comments are always presented as a compliment, but I’m never sure how to respond to being used as a sleep aid. It doesn’t feel flattering to be told you’re the human equivalent of warm milk.
I’ve never been considered an “edgy” comedian, but I’ve constantly aspired to get laughs, not snores.
Anyway, next time you can’t sleep, don’t count sheep. Just say, “Hey, play Jim Gaffigan.”
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Story produced by Aria Shavelson and Sara Kugel. Editor: Mike Levine.