Jim Gaffigan’s stand-up routine tends to lean pretty heavily on his life with his family. Well, hot pockets are a big hit with his fans, too. But the comedian’s stories about his wife and kids are really the main event — especially because there are so many of them.
Gaffigan and his wife Jeannie are raising five kids together, but to them, five kids doesn’t really feel like a lot. The devout Catholic couple comes from big families themselves. "Because Jim and I both come from large families (he's one of six and I'm one of nine), five kids never seemed like a big deal,” Jeannie Gaffigan said during an interview with Drew and Jonathan Scott’s Reveal magazine.
Quarantine changed that feeling just slightly, though, since the family was at home together a lot more all of the sudden. “All the things we had in place to maintain structure vanished instantly: no more sitters, school, camps, helpers, outings, etc,” the busy mom said in the same interview. “Suddenly we were like ‘Oh my God! We have FIVE kids!’” They do indeed. Now let’s get to know the comedian’s family a little better.
Jeannie Gaffigan was born in Milwaukee, Wisconsin and has been married to Jim since 2003. She is also a comedy writer and producer who has written and produced on all of her husband’s comedy specials, as well as producing his television show The Jim Gaffigan Show, which was loosely based on their life together, from 2015 to 2016.
Jeannie also wrote a book, When Life Gives You Pears; The Healing Power Of Family, Faith, and Funny People about her struggle with a pear-sized brain tumor in 2017. In a 2019 interview with CBS News, she opened up about finding the tumor and the initial prognosis she was given. "Well, I was at a pediatric visit for my kids and when my doctor was speaking to me, I turned my head and I asked her to repeat what she was saying,” the mom of five explained. “And she was like, 'What's wrong with your ear?' And I'm like, 'Oh, I can't hear out of it.' So, she sent me to an ear, nose and throat doctor, and that's when the MRI revealed that I had, you know, like 30 seconds to live!"
Thankfully she survived. Jeannie underwent surgery to have the tumor removed, and even after the surgery it took months for her to recover. Because the tumor had been in her head for years, the removal saw her struggle with things like swallowing, frequent coughing, and even speaking.
The couple’s oldest child is 17-year-old daughter Marre. She and her younger siblings have become stars in their own right since joining their parents for the popular YouTube series Dinner With The Gaffigans, which raises money to help feed health care workers.
Marre is a student at Marymount School in New York and is already showing signs of being a humanitarian and activist. For her 16th birthday in 2020, she asked for donations to build a computer lab for girls in India, as her father proudly shared on Instagram. Marre also hosts Gaffigan Kids Book Chat with her younger siblings, featuring inspiring stories of kids around the world. Marre’s own sense of humor is on full display in her book chats, where she tends to get dressed up as an announcer and engages with her little brothers whether they like it or not.
The oldest Gaffigan son, 15-year-old Jack, is already an actor. He starred as young Jimmy on The Jim Gaffigan Show for both seasons. He has also starred in two of his dad’s television specials, and many of his social media posts, including a hilarious gem from Facebook in 2019 when he was quietly trying to open a pack of fruit snacks that makes me laugh every time.
Katie Gaffigan explained how to get a snow day.
Jim Gaffigan’s 12-year-old daughter Katie had her own moment in the spotlight in 2019, when she explained how to ensure a snow day from school in a video shared on her dad’s Facebook feed. Apparently you wear your pajamas inside out, pour ice down the toilet, and put a spoon in the freezer. Katie is also fairly ruthless when it comes to family game night, if Gaffigan’s Instagram post from December 2020 is to be believed. The entire family, including mom Jeannie, called Katie out over some suspected nefarious goings on and her reaction was outsized denial and high-pitched pleas for understanding. Hilarious.
As the fourth of five kids, 9-year-old Michael got his very own stand-up bit from his dad. Gaffigan explained that once you have four kids, “people stop congratulating you. Then they just treat you like you’re Amish.” Fortunately Michael, like all of his siblings, is a pretty funny kid. As he showed in an Instagram video when he and his brother Patrick took down the seafood industry and cook live lobster for the first time. Michael really went to town on telling people that they shouldn’t kill clams because “they make the ocean stay clean. And they die for it. Because of you guys who litter in the ocean.”
Mike and Pat have their own show.
The youngest Gaffigan, 8-year-old Patrick, often joins his big brother for the Mike & Pat Show, where they chat and try new food like Vegemite and Gaffigan tapes their reactions. The videos are predictably hilarious. Patrick’s reaction to eating Vegemite? Simply saying, “It tastes... bizarre.”
As you can see, the funny genes are strong in this family.