The first comedy CD I ever bought was Jim Gaffigan’s “Doing my time”. In between the jokes about hot pockets and manatees, there is a joke about a kid pretending to be Pope instead of a baseball player. I loved it! I remember laughing so hard that I was afraid I was going to get into an accident — you know, like that moment you’re driving and you sneeze.
For those of you unfamiliar with him, here is Jim Gaffigan in a nutshell: he’s married, has five kids, is #Jesuiteducated, and is a practicing Catholic. Through the years, Gaffigan has put more and more of himself, his family, his faith, and his food, into his routine. This summer, that routine morphed into a sitcom on TVLand, aptly named “The Jim Gaffigan Show”. The show is getting good reviews and has just been renewed for a second season.
The surprising reason I really like the show is one of the supporting characters: Fr. Nicholas. When I first heard that a priest would be a supporting character on this show, I was a little wary, though I had no reason to be. Jim and his wife Jeannie, who is also a writer on the show, wrote the character to be a priest full of joy and authenticity. Fr. Nicholas is the Gaffigan family’s local parish priest from Zimbabwe. He is shown constantly interacting with his parishioners after Mass, greeting them on the street, joining them at family celebrations, and even starting an intramural soccer team for the men of the parish. He is a normal part of their life. In one recent episode, for example, Fr. Nicholas accompanies Jim to a performance on “The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon”, making Jim very uncomfortable. The joy that Fr. Nicolas has though is so contagious that he ends up bumping Jim from the show. You can watch the whole episode here.
It is good to see a priest represented as real and joyful on a TV show, I haven’t seen one since Fr. Mulcahy on the reruns of “M*A*S*H”. I find it refreshing to see a priest on TV who reminds me of the priests that I know and the priest I hope to be one day: filled with joy. I’m looking forward to seeing how Fr. Nicholas continues to be a part of the Gaffigan family next season.
Cover Image Joy & Mya – Steel non se la sentiva, by Flickr User Luca Rossato, via Flickr Creative Commons, available here.