Jim Gaffigan received a rock star’s welcome at the North Charleston Performing Arts Center Thursday night, where he made a stop as part of his nationwide tour. Opener Tom Shillue, a fellow New York comedian, quickly won over the polite crowd by talking about aging and creeping out high school girlfriends. His set was short and sweet, just long enough to warm us up for the main event.
Standing in a bright spotlight in the middle of the dark stage, Gaffigan was looking extra pale; fitting, considering the tagline of his tour is “In Pale We Trust.” He’s traveling in support of his newest stand up special, Mr. Universe, which you can download here.
He started off with a long bit about personal hygiene — baths vs. showers, body wash vs. soap, shampoo and conditioner vs. shampoo-and-conditioner-in-one. The fact that he could keep the audience laughing while harping on about such simple topics was a true testament to his skill as a comedian. Tapping into the absurdities of everyday life is what he does best.
Shifting between different voices, Gaffigan made it seem as if there were a dozen other personalities on stage with him.
Food was a common theme throughout the show. He loves McDonalds, hates Subway, and has a strict don’t-ask-don’t tell policy with hot dogs (“They’re like strippers; no one wants the backstory.”). The Lowcountry crowd didn’t seem at all offended at Gaffigan’s diatribe against shellfish — crabs are nothing more than “bug meat,” while oysters are “snot from a rock,” according to the comedian.
For his encore, Gaffigan gave us a taste of Hot Pockets, the bit that arguably put him on the map. Blending a few of his classic jokes with some new ones about the frozen mystery meat meal, the comedian finished up strong and left singing the “Hot Pockets” jingle all the way home.