Gaffigans: We Get Through Life ‘Through Humor and a Relationship With God’

Rachel Hoover | August 11, 2016 | 11:24am EDT
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Screenshot of Jeannie and Jim Gaffigan doing a show on Sirius XM's Catholic Channel. (Sirius XM)


( -- “Our goal is to be a positive example of family and humor. The way we get through our lives is through humor and a relationship with God,” said comedy writer and producer Jeannie Gaffigan, wife of stand-up comedian Jim Gaffigan, in a recent interview with Christianity Today.

“Our calling is to write—in a funny way—about the struggles of marriage, the struggles of career, the struggles of parenthood, and to offer that light to others,” she said.

“I think that it’s very important to bring joy to people. That’s what my calling is: to be an example to other people and to love my family in spite of all the reasons that families fall apart,” she continued.

Jim Gaffigan, a stand-up comedian known for his “clean” humor about food and fatherhood, is also the star of TV Land’s The Jim Gaffigan Show, now in its second season.

Jeannie Gaffigan co-writes her husband’s comedy routines and is the executive producer of the TV show, which is based on the Gaffigans’ real life as Catholic parents of five living in New York City.

The Gaffigans are also active in their local Catholic parish, St. Patrick’s Basilica in New York City.

“To have a place to go every Sunday with our kids, to be a part of a community like this, is really important to us. We have a pastor who’s been there for about seven years and who we are very close to, and we try to work together on ways we can connect to the community and bring Catholicism to them in a more accessible way,” Jeannie Gaffigan told Christianity Today.

She also talked about her husband’s shift earlier in their marriage to a more active Catholicism.

“Jim had been raised a ‘cultural Catholic.’ He knew the outline—you go to church, you follow the commandments—but he really had no sense of spirituality at all.

"A few years into our marriage, when our third child was on the way, I began to realize that this wasn’t good enough for him. He wasn’t really happy. ... He felt trapped," she recalled.

“We eventually had this big talk about it—what we wanted out of his career, and what we wanted out of our marriage. I told him: ‘We are growing apart. You’re not happy, therefore I’m not happy. We have to do something different.

“So we reached out to a priest. The priest began having meetings with Jim and, very soon, Jim began changing....He had this big revelation about a merciful God who is there to show him mercy. He was there to love him and to guide him—to pretty much be in control.

“And when things don’t go right, it’s not just like the world is so horrible, but it’s that there’s a guide. There’s a higher power guiding you,” Jeannie Gaffigan said.

Jim Gaffigan also told his story in the commencement address he and Jeannie gave at Catholic University of America in May.

“Before I met Jeannie I had lived across the street from a Catholic church for 15 years. I didn’t notice it. I never went in it once,” said Gaffigan.

“Because of Jeannie, that same church became the place I was married, the same church my five children were baptized in, and the church where once a week I’m reminded to keep focused on priorities: God, family, then work.”

“We needed each other, we needed our family, we needed our friends and we needed God,” said Jeannie in the same speech.

“When you have true love, you don’t only work for yourself. In working with Jim, I realized that I could also work for his career, towards his dreams, and it was actually rewarding," she said.

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