Jim Gaffigan: ‘Kids … Are Great Gateways to Faith’

Jim Gaffigan/Instagram

Jim Gaffigan: ‘Kids … Are Great Gateways to Faith’

By Movieguide® Contributor

Note: This story is part of our Faith in Hollywood series. For similar stories, click here.

While comedian Jim Gaffigan often incorporates his children into his stand-up jokes, being a father wasn’t always part of his plans.

In a personal essay he wrote for Guideposts, the comedian said, “Being a comedian, ‘a stand-up chameleon’ as one of my kids puts it, is a nomadic, nocturnal existence that goes against the consistent routine required to raise a child.

“So I was perfectly resigned to a future of being the weird uncle who lived in New York City,” Gaffigan continued.

However, once he met his wife Jeannie, the couple soon began to start their own family.

Gaffigan has made fatherhood a major part of his stand-up comedy, talking about children’s quirks and the highs and lows of being a parent. 

“Negotiation seems to be the predominant form of communication in my daily dealings with my children,” he joked. “‘Dad, if I take a bath, can I watch a movie?’ ‘What do I get if I clear the table?’ I’m always on the losing end of the arbitration. I’m sure that sons and daughters have bargained with their fathers and mothers throughout the centuries. I wonder if Jesus negotiated with God about some of the stuff he had to go through. Or with Mary and Joseph about his bedtime.”

Gaffigan also talks about how difficult bringing young children to church can be: “On Sundays, Jeannie and I haul everybody to church. Even though it’s virtually impossible to get a young child to sit still for long….we believe that the practice and exposure will benefit them, even if they are too young to understand.”

“At the core of my being I find it a relief to know that I’m not in charge,” he joked. “And dropping by church by myself, I think I’ve heard God say, ‘Thanks for not bringing your kids this time. It’s a little quieter.’”

Gaffigan continued, “People assume we have a large family for religious reasons. Not true. If anything, kids make you religious. Believe me, once you lose a kid in a New York City park, atheist or not, you start talking to God: ‘If you can help me find my son, I promise I will never ever do anything bad again.’ Kids and illness are the great gateways to faith.”

Gaffigan jokes about not being the perfect dad, but he does try his best.

“Dads are not God, obviously, but little kids do tend to look up to you as all-powerful,” he wrote. “Even though they don’t view me as the stern taskmaster I’d hoped to be, I’m their parent and provider. They want to be in my arms when they are scared. They want my forgiveness after they’ve done something wrong. They want to be with me.

“I love being a dad,” he continued. “What do I lack? Money? A few more hours of sleep? A more peaceful meal? That’s nothing compared with what I get from these five monsters who rule my life and the woman who loves us all. Each of my children has made me a better man. Each of them has been a burst of light.” 

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