In today’s profanity-laden world, it is almost difficult to make waves in the comedy industry without a generous usage of colourful language. There are, however, people who are doing this and one of them is renowned American comic, Jim Gaffigan.
Popularly known as the Clean Comic for his use of almost no obscene or profane language in his comedy, Gaffigan has had a very long and fruitful career as a stand-up comedian with his brand of comedy bordering on fatherhood, family, food, observation, and laziness.
Gaffigan’s career has been quite successful and one thing that has fuelled his rise is none other than his family. They provide him with the love and support needed to grow and even most importantly, his wife is part of his creative and writing team.
A Look At The Ways Jim Gaffigan Built Up His Fortune
Jim Gaffigan may not be one of the richest comedians in America but there is no gainsaying that he has done well for himself. The Midwest native now has a net worth of about $25 million and he owes it to his comedy career, as well as other creative pursuits listed below.
Comedy Specials and Stand-ups
Gaffigan’s comedy career dates back to his childhood. As a youngster growing up in the conservative Midwest, he loved comedy shows such as Saturday Night Live and David Letterman and aspired to toe that line. He, however, found himself with a few opportunities in that regard and as such, decided to follow the path of formal education.
Upon completing his business degree at Georgetown University in 1988, Jim headed out to NYC to pursue his career. He found a day job in the advertising industry and at night, took improv classes. From there, he started doing stand-up and spent much of the 90s cruising the various comedy clubs in the city. He eventually built up a reputation and was tapped to join the David Letterman show in 1999.
This marked Jim Gaffigan’s breakthrough and since then, he has not looked back. He has toured various parts of the United States, as well as other parts of the world (South America, Asia, and Europe), selling out venues such as the Madison Square Garden. He has also dropped several comedy specials on platforms such as Amazon and Netflix.
Gaffigan’s 2017 Netflix special, Cinco, fetched him about $10 million in earnings and helped propel him to number 7 on that year’s Forbes list of the highest-earning comedians in the world with a total taking of $30.5 million. He has since pocketed similar amounts for other specials such as Noble Ape (2018) and Quality Time (2019).
Jim Gaffigan made his acting debut in the year 1998, appearing in the TV series, Soul Man, as well as the comedy film, The Real Howard Spitz. Since then, he has landed a steady stream of roles and the resultant paychecks that come with it. The funnyman has however stated that he still has to audition for roles much like everyone else as nothing is handed to him on a platter of gold.
Thus far, Jim has featured in movies and TV shows such as The 70’s Show, Sex and the City, 3rd Watch, Ed, Just For Laughs, Love Guru, Law and Order, Being Frank, American Dreamer, Troop Zero, Tesla, Them That Follow, Light From Light, 13 Going on 30, My Boys and The Ellen Show. These projects have paid him salaries in the 6 and 7-figure region – contributing to his bottom-line.
The King of Commercials
A 1999 article in the Businessweek described Gaffigan as the salesman of the year and this was due to his penchant for featuring in commercials for various companies. While still waiting for his breakthrough as a comedian, Jim took to TV advertising to pay the bills. He has sustained that pattern to date and his clean brand of comedy ensures that he remains the toasts of several brands.
To date, Jim Gaffigan has featured in over 200 commercials for companies such as Saturn, Chrysler, ESPN, Rolling Rock, Fleet Bank, Sierra Mist, Holiday Inn Express, and Chrysler Pacifica. Since 2016, the comedian has been portraying the role of Colonel Sanders in a series of commercials for KFC. The ads have been played at the Super Bowl and the company has credited the ad for helping to improve the relevance of their brand.
Meet His Wife And Kids
Family is an important part of Gaffigan’s comic act and this gives one a sense of how close he is to his family. He is married to Jeannie Gaffigan, an American actress, producer, and comedy scriptwriter. Jeannie is a native of Milwaukee and hails from a large family, the eldest of nine children. She holds a degree in theatre from Marquette University and started her career as a stage actress. She later diversified to teaching the film arts to young people.
Gaffigan and Jeannie first crossed paths in April 2000 at a Korean market in Manhattan. He was immediately smitten by the stage actress and asked her out. She resisted for a few days but later accepted to go out with him. On their first date, Jim proudly proclaimed that they would probably get married and his words came through three years later when they tied the knot in a Catholic ceremony held at St. Patrick’s old cathedral New York in July 2003.
The couple has remained together to date and has five children together. The names of their kids are Marre, Katie Louise, Jack, Patrick, and Michael and they belong to the Catholic faith. Jim jokingly refers to his wife as a Shiite Catholic for her very strong devotion to the religion.
Jim Gaffigan Works and Tours with His Family
The Gaffigan family is a close-knit one; they travel together on daddy’s comedy tours and spends a good amount of time together on weekends and Sundays. Some of Jim’s children have joined him in putting up an annual Christmas show in the state of Wisconsin. They have also featured in some of their dad’s TV commercials.
Jeannie has also made tangible contributions to her husband’s career. She produced and contributed writing material to five of his stand-up specials. She also joined hands with him to create The Jim Gaffigan Show which depicts the family life of Jim and Jeannie as they raise their kids. The show successfully ran from 2013 to 2015 before the couple decided to discontinue it to have more time for family.
It has however not been all smooth sailing for the Gaffigan family as Jeannie was diagnosed with a Papilloma of the Choroid plexus (a kind of brain tumour). She initially experienced dizziness and headache which she dismissed as an issue arising from the stress of work. However, upon a visit to the doctor, the couple discovered that Jeannie had a tumour the size of an apple affecting her hearing. Thankfully, the growth was surgically removed after a successful nine-hour surgery. In his 2018 release – Noble Ape, Jim recounts how he and Jeannie tackled her health scare with comedy.