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Back from Seattle and Dad Is Fat


And actually I can get most shit done on my phone. By which I mean social networking. As that is how I primarily internet. So for those of you who follow me on Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr and Instagram (WHICH IS SOME OF YOU I'M NOT SICK OF YOU YET ARE YOU SICK OF ME), you're fully aware of how I spent basically all my time in Seattle. But for those of you who have somehow managed to AVOID this situation, I will post (to..morrow?) about my awesome, Pacificky trip.

I also read Dad Is Fat.

So. I've been a fan of Jim Gaffigan since about 2002 when Comedy Central Presents was a big (in my world) thing. That's how I discovered Maria Bamford and Kathleen Madigan, too. I have some Serious Standup Comedy feelings, and it's mainly about those three (but has since been expanded to include John Mulaney, Louis CK, Tig Notaro and some Patton Oswalt). They managed to be a part of the tail-end of my childhood, which means they're half-in the don't-speak-badly-of-this-thing-I-love-or-I-will-fuck-you-up group (mentioned last week with the terrible Narnia movies that are amazing).

That being said, damn, I have issues with Dad Is Fat.

Namely that it's not that funny. You know when everyone's laughin', jokin', havin' a good time, and then someone says something sincere and EVERYONE FEELS AWKWARD? That's how parts of this book felt. There's an audiobook version narrated by Gaffigan, which I would 100% recommend as the way to go, as a lot of his humor depends on his delivery. Maybe the parts that made me uncomfortable are in fact HI-larious. I do wish he hadn't used lesser versions of parts of his standup act in the book, 'cause I have that shit memorized.

Okay, essentially, he got married to a woman named Jeannie (who from Twitter seems awesome) and they have five kids, the oldest of whom is eight years old. And this book is basically about his kids. 'Cause the title has the word "Dad" in it.

The part I liked: That it's occasionally funny.

The parts I didn't like: Strap in. First, it comes across as defensive. I'm sure (mainly because he says so) he gets a lot of crap about having five kids, especially so close in age. It's weird in today's culture. My family has four kids (my youngest brother's eleven years younger than I am) and we're at the "Oh, you've got kind of a big family" point. If I see a family of FIVE young kids, I assume they're religious extremists. I'm sure it was super-helpful when you had to work a farm, but there's a whole host of factors as to why it's rarely seen now.

So, he spends a lot of time being defensive on that front. Which, okay. It's your book. But then he's got some weird underlying stuff, like talking about mothers vs fathers and saying

Nurturing for a mother is instinctive. [...] Meals, stories, laundry, and organizing their rooms have this nurturing element. They are not just doing "chores." It is a natural instinct for the mother to make the child feel safe, protected, and comfortable. She is driven to do these things and actually wants to do these things. I can kind of relate because I have really strong natural instincts to eat cheese and take naps.

Admittedly, I don't like that because it just rubs me the wrong way. I feel it does a disservice to fathers and puts a weird onus on mothers. And stuff like it is peppered throughout the book. 

I think this is the first time a comedian's book has actively made me like them LESS. Sarah Silverman's did the complete opposite. Sara Benincasa's was engaging and thoughtful and still hilarious. And I'm sure other people with a non-Sarah-variant name have also done well. Just...this was not great.


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