Leadership Tips from The Jim Gaffigan Show

If you haven’t already seen it, The Jim Gaffigan Show—just starting its second season on TVLand—is a treat. It stars Gaffigan as a fictionalized version of himself—a standup comedian, husband, and father of five living with his family in New York City. Misadventures center on domestic topics, the temptations of food (a frequent topic in Gaffigan’s own standup routine), and interactions with a variety of characters.

Leadership Tips from The Jim Gaffigan Show

Along with the laughs, there’s a sense underneath it all that these are people who know how to make life work well. And with a large family living in a two-bedroom apartment, that’s no small achievement. How they make that happen, while never set out didactically, is worth considering for anyone in charge of a team or organization. Here are a few examples:

Let people be who they are.

In addition to Gaffigan and his wife, Jeanie, the show includes their priest, an ex-boyfriend of Jeanie, the five children, a house keeper/nanny, and his single friend Dave (another comedian). Disconnects among the group and the choices each of them makes may be played for humor, but at the bottom line they all coexist pretty peacefully. They ultimately understand each other’s strengths and solve problems in every day life.

Conquer chaos with teamwork and dedication.

Especially by current urban standards, a family of seven is big. (In one of Gaffigan’s better-known lines, he quips, “Imagine you’re drowning. Now imagine someone hands you a baby.”) Part of the charm is that the two don’t work perfectly together, but their dedication to their children is obvious, and they spend considerable time dealing with the logistics of their large family to make it work.

Roll with it when plans go awry.

Whether it’s an anniversary date or a preschool application, the couple tends to respond to problems with the ability to laugh together at themselves, apologize when needed and consistently have a willingness to accept an outcome that wasn’t what they hoped for, instead of blaming and anger.

Create a team that respects and cares about one another, then have fun together.

Much of the show portrays people who care about one another and enjoying each other’s company. Laughing together, sharing meals, and generally having fun is important. It’s worth remembering the value of those simple actions.


What about your team? Are they accepting of each other’s differences? Dedicated to a common purpose? Able to roll with the punches without finger-pointing or anger? Do they share in each other’s lives and enjoy each other’s company? If not, it may be time for you to set the tone with some guidance and modeling from the top.


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