you can’t place the name, don’t worry. We’re quite certain
you’ll recognize Jim Gaffigan the second he steps on stage
this Saturday at the Egg. Simply put, Gaffigan is that
guy: the pale, white-haired actor from That 70s Show,
Ed, Sex and the City and Super Troopers
(he’s the driver who gets meowed at), the actor in all those
Sierra Mist commercials and the comedian from that Comedy
Central special who makes jokes about sea cows wanting to
be called manatees and, in one of his most popular current
bits, the societal implications of the Hot Pocket. “Ohh,”
you’re probably saying now, “that guy.”
never imagined that the joke would be so universal,” laughs
Gaffigan of the bit that causes fans to line up with boxes
of Hot Pockets for him to sign after every show. “But then
again, I didn’t realize that people would continue to eat
Touring in support of his recently released DVD and album
Beyond the Pale, the multitasking performer says
he enjoys the dual actor/comedian lifestyle, despite the
drawbacks inherent to each scene.
I did just one, I’d probably be smoking crack within six
months,” says Gaffigan. “With acting, you feel like you’re
begging for a job every time you audition, but with stand-up,
the traveling can really wear on your nerves.”
at 11 o’clock is no way to lead a normal life,” he explains.
Nevertheless, the New York City-based performer appears
to be hitting critical mass these days, with sales of Beyond
the Pale occupying top spots in online media vendor
Amazon’s DVD and album sales rankings. Gaffigan attributes
much of that success to the Comedy Central Presents:
Jim Gaffigan special that first aired in 2000 and has
remained in heavy rotation to this day. However, he says
he’s still thrown a bit when a crowd of hundreds not only
knows large portions of his routine by heart—but specifically
requests that he perform them.
weird, because you’d think that people would not want to
hear stuff they’ve already heard,” he says. “But everyone
wants to hear the Hot Pockets joke or the manatee bit.”
get the feeling that, for a lot of people, the jokes have
become inside jokes with their friends,” continues Gaffigan.
“And really, that’s what stand-up comedy is all about: You
write what you think is funny and hope that people latch
He is quick to add that this doesn’t mean the audience at
the Egg won’t receive a unique performance. His trademark
inner-monologue voice, which he uses to generate a critique
of the show while he’s performing it, ensures that every
show is slightly different.
voice] was inspired by the way my sister would comment on
some of my jokes, but now it has sort of an improvisational
quality to it,” says Gaffigan. “It makes a show specific
to each audience, and I think they appreciate that.”
Jim Gaffigan will perform two shows at the Egg (Empire State
Plaza, Albany) on Saturday (March 25) at 7 and 9:30 PM.
Tickets are $26.50. For more information, call 473-1845.
Spirit of Courage
hard to imagine now, but it wasn’t immediately obvious in
1933 that Adolf Hitler intended to enslave the known world
and visit a genocide on the Jews. Mainstream European and
American opinion was, more or less, that he would enslave
Germany and visit more traditionally despicable anti-Semitic
sufferings on the Jews. (That was just about sum of the
mental effort most mainstream opinion makers in the 1930s
were capable of sparing for the Jews of Germany.)
The play The Spirit of Courage, adapted from Katherine
Kressman Taylor’s acclaimed novel Address Unknown,
and to be performed Saturday at Stageworks/Hudson, is set
during this era, as Hitler’s evil began to assert itself
in Germany. It’s the story of a Jewish-American man who
tries, through his former business partner in Germany, to
save his sister. The title was inspired by a Jewish proverb:
“When you have no choice, mobilize the spirit of courage.”
The performance will feature actors Robert Ian Mackenzie
and Chris Karczmar, both veterans of other Stageworks productions.
Following the play, activist and Holocaust survivor Esther
Bauer will speak.
Spirit of Courage will be presented Saturday (March
25) at 7 PM at Stageworks/Hudson (41 Cross. St., Hudson).
Tickets are $30. Reservations are strongly encouraged. For
more information, call 828-7843.
2004, clarinetist Don Byron (pictured) assembled a group
with drummer Jack DeJohnette and pianist Jason Moran for
his album Ivey-Divey. Inspired by a 1946 trio recording
featuring Lester Young, Nat Cole and Buddy Rich, Ivey-Divey
was praised for its skill in suggesting the style of the
legendary reedman without imitating it. When Byron subsequently
toured with this material, the “Ivey Divey” trio usually
did not include DeJohnette; one of the factors that makes
Friday’s show at the Egg so special is simply that DeJohnette
will be there.
In fact, this has the potential to be, well, spectacular.
DeJohnette is a musical giant. We won’t waste space listing
all the other legends he has performed with. Byron is one
of the most important jazzmen around; as a Guardian
critic wrote after a 2004 performance of Ivey Divey material,
“Apart from his sheer dexterity, Byron has an imaginative
flow, enlivened by a sly sense of humor, that sets him apart.”
And Jason Moran is one of the most respected young pianists,
earning the praise of The New York Times for being
“serious and direct,” neither too iconoclastic nor too ingratiating.
The Ivey Divey Trio will perform tomorrow (Friday, March
24) at 8 PM at the Egg (Empire State Plaza, Albany). Tickets
are $24. For more info, call the box office at 473-1845.