There’s something refreshing in knowing that the latest stand-up concert by a straight cis male probably won’t be quote-provocative-unquote, à la Louis C.K. explaining why white people should be allowed to drop N-bombs, or Dave Chappelle or Ricky Gervais or Craig Ferguson explaining why transgender people aren’t real, to name four random examples. Jeannie Gaffigan’s Noble Ape is a concert film of Jim Gaffigan, her husband and the father of her five children, and she also has co-writing credit. Jim Gaffigan has a reputation for not swearing, and while cussing can be pretty darn hilarious, he manages to be very funny without it — and, more importantly, without punching down.
His “I’m a schlub” shtick is genuinely self-deprecating, and not meant as a caricature or an excuse for being a bad person, making him more Patton Oswalt than Larry the Cable Guy. Jim is Catholic enough that he was asked to open for Pope Francis, which he relates in hilarious detail, but that doesn’t mean his comedy lacks edge. No comedian who relies on the mercurial Christian market would dare joke about fisting, or suggest that God talking to Moses via a burning bush is hokum on the same level as astrology, UFOs, and Casper the Friendly Ghost. In some ways, that’s edgier than a million “fucks.”
Opens Friday at the Roxie Theater.