If you’re one of the 2.37 million people who follow comedian Jim Gaffigan on Twitter, chances are you’ve seen a flurry of posts in the past three days about his new TV Land comedy, The Jim Gaffigan Show. Set to premiere this July, The Jim Gaffigan Show made a sneak attack on Wednesday, when the first episode, “The Bible Story,” appeared on JimGaffigan.com.
After TV Land agreed to let him release the first episode on his website, Gaffigan’s team made a plan to launch the episode today — but then it was ready a few days early and Gaffigan didn’t want to wait.
“Once my web guys told me and Jeannie that it was ready, I was like, ‘Just put it up.'” Gaffigan told Rotten Tomatoes. “I wanted to give people all this week, before the weekend… I know [from] selling tickets to shows that you want to do it when people are at work during the week. I was like, ‘If it’s Wednesday, let’s put it up Wednesday. It’s giving people more of an opportunity to finally get to JimGaffigan.com and watch it.'”
The series, created by Jim Gaffigan and Peter Tolan, stars the comedian playing a fictionalized version of himself, living as a stand-up in New York City with his wife, Jeannie (Ashley Williams), and their five children. Michael Ian Black and Adam Goldberg play his two best friends. The first episode, “The Bible Story,” about a controversial photograph of Jim that goes viral, also features an impressive list of guest stars that includes Chris Rock and Jon Stewart.
Getting The Jim Gaffigan Show to a network has taken a few years for husband-wife team Jim and Jeannie Gaffigan (who is also a writer and producer on the show). Bounced around from NBC, TBS and CBS, it eventually found a home at TV Land with a deal that also allows Comedy Central to air week-old episodes. And for the Gaffigans, the wait has been worth it. They’re able to make the show they want.
“All these scripts were written by me and Jeannie,” Jim Gaffigan told RT. “There isn’t an episode where I cringe, which is amazing because I’ve worked on many shows and many of these shows were good or popular, and a lot of those I cringed on. I’m not saying it’s going to be for everyone, but I do think that maybe there’s something about people [in TV] should care more.”
Jeannie Gaffigan, who admittedly obsesses over the details of her husband’s stand-up which she helps write, is just as particular about the specifics of their TV show. In addition to co-writing a character based on herself, she also focuses on the small details, such as how big a salad for a family of seven should be or whether or not the dinner table should have crumbs on it. Also, the set for the Gaffigans’ apartment is an exact replica of the one they moved out of in April.
“We’ve had people who’ve seen that episode, including my mom, be like, ‘Wow, you got all the cameras and everything up all those stairs in your apartment?'” Jeannie Gaffigan said, laughing. “I’m like, ‘That’s not our apartment.'”
For a project this personal, the Gaffigans care less about cranking out episodes and more about being authentic. “We kind of approached these ten episodes as ‘These are the last ten episodes we’re ever going to do.'” Jim Gaffigan explained. “There’s no filler episode of, ‘All right, this is just the one where it’s a bottle episode where they’re all on the roof.'”
The Jim Gaffigan Show will be available on the comedian’s website through the end of June and its creators hope that social media and word-of-mouth will bring on viewers when the series premieres on July 15.
“I wanted people to be able to sample this,” Jim Gaffigan told RT. “If they have twenty minutes in their day, they can go to my website and watch it and make the decision there, rather than trying to maybe DVR it in the middle of the summer. I just want people to sample it. Then, even if people don’t watch it this go around, maybe a friend will have watched it and will hopefully say something nice about it.”
The Jim Gaffigan Show premieres on TV Land Wednesday, Jul. 15. Watch the first episode, “The Bible Story,” here.