The news site of Evanston Township High School's student newspaper

The Evanstonian

The news site of Evanston Township High School's student newspaper

The Evanstonian

The news site of Evanston Township High School's student newspaper

The Evanstonian


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Jerry Seinfeld and Jim Gaffigan: the funniest night of my life


The crowd roars around me. Thousands of people screaming, clapping. I cheer, but keep my eyes glued to the stage. I don’t want to miss their entrance. Suddenly they appear, Seinfeld and Gaffigan, walking out from behind the curtains. I’m 500 feet away from the funniest people on the planet. 

I’ve been a fan of Jim Gaffigan since I was ten-years-old; he is the first stand-up comedian I’d ever heard of. My dad and I would listen to recordings of his stand-up while eating dinner, laughing so hard we couldn’t get the food down.

I found out about Seinfeld later, but the obsession was just as strong. I watched his TV show and the Netflix special, then I bought his book, “Is This Anything?,” which features every stand-up bit he’s ever written. I’ve read it over and over again, to the point where I know his material like the lyrics to a song.

This June, when Seinfeld and Gaffigan announced they would be going on a four-stadium tour together, with the United Center as one of their stops, the back of my head blew right off. (Credit to Seinfeld for that line. It’s from his well-known Pop Tart bit, which was prominently featured in the performance). I wasn’t the only one who felt that way; their Friday show was the fastest selling comedy show ever held at the United Center.

Five months later, on November 10, I was thrilled to be in the audience. The energy in the arena was high, everybody talking loudly and excitedly as they found their seats. Surrounded by a sea of people, the stage glowed brightly in front of me. Above the stage was an enormous screen with a black-and-white picture of Seinfeld and Gaffigan smiling.

The audience waits eagerly for Seinfeld and Gaffigan to take the stage. (Sam Froum)

At 8 o’clock, Seinfeld and Gaffigan came onstage together. They were just tiny dots, but even seeing them that close felt surreal. They explained why they were touring together; they had met in 2015 while filming Seinfeld’s show, “Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee,” became friends, and had tried to find a time to tour together ever since. 

After this brief introduction they brought out the opener, Mario Joyner, who had worked with Seinfeld since 1985. Joyner’s experience was evident in his smart jokes and relaxed stage presence. His style was similar to Seinfeld and Gaffigan’s: shorter bits that focused mainly on the details of daily life and topics many people can relate to. After 15 minutes, Joyner introduced Gaffigan.

Gaffigan started his set with a few local jokes about Chicagoans, then launched right into his act. As one of the most prolific stand-ups working today, it’s staggering how much material he produces. After releasing his “Dark Pale” special last July, he already had close to an hour of new, polished material for this performance. The jokes were classic Gaffigan, mostly about food, fatherhood, religion, and laziness. Even though they covered similar themes as many of his past jokes, they still felt completely fresh. That’s one of Gaffigan’s greatest talents: mining enormous amounts of hilarious material from every premise. Along with his jokes, he also told some sidesplitting stories. These were my favorite part of his set, full of unexpected punchlines. Gaffigan performed for nearly an hour, then brought up Seinfeld.

The master at work. (Sam Froum)

Seinfeld came running onstage, bursting with energy. Right away he set a rapid fire pace, dashing back and forth, telling jokes as quickly as the audience could keep up. He didn’t stop for the whole hour he was onstage, leaving the audience gasping for breath between the near-constant laughs. It was masterful. Clearly, Seinfeld had carefully selected every word of every joke to be the maximum amount of funny, and his perfectly timed delivery made the jokes even better. The material focused on the minutiae of daily life, exactly what Seinfeld is known for. Not every joke he told was new, I recognized some of them from his book, but seeing them performed live was still exciting. At the end of his set, Seinfeld announced that he, along with several writers from “Seinfeld,” had written a movie about Pop Tarts, titled “Unfrosted – The Pop Tart Story,” which will be released next year on Netflix. After the announcement, he performed the Pop Tart bit. Here, Seinfeld’s magic was on full display. I had heard the Pop Tart bit so many times, I practically knew it by heart, but still, I was laughing as hard as anyone in the audience. Telling a new joke and getting people to laugh is impressive, but cracking someone up with a joke that they’ve heard a thousand times before is truly incredible. 

It’s not easy to make a stadium full of thousands of people laugh. Watching Gaffigan and Seinfeld perform, you’d think it was. With their relatable, razor-sharp jokes and immaculately executed delivery, they had me rolling in the aisles and pulled off the best stand-up performance I’ve ever seen.

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About the Contributor
Sam Froum, A&E Editor
Hi, I’m Sam Froum (he/him), and I’m the Editor of A&E and Photo & Art. This is my third year on staff; previously I was the assistant editor of A&E and a staff writer. I write for the Evanstonian because it allows me to become a better writer and provides opportunities for collaboration with other students. I also run cross country and track and participate in Wildkit Buddies. Outside of school, I like to draw, run and watch TV.
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