Pandemic parenting stinks and we are over it. COVID is still burning through the Greek alphabet with what feels like a parade of infinite variants, leaving parents exhausted, frustrated and discouraged. And while he may not save parents from the pandemic marathon, Jim Gaffigan has a unique ability to normalize parental frustration while unleashing everyone to laugh at themselves and with each other.
In Comedy Monster Gaffigan’s new Netflix special – he begins by comparing the pandemic to a TV show you thought was canceled before being picked up for another season. And with more than a hint of resignation, he embraces the pandemic fatigue that we all feel so deeply: “Oh, I did not really tackle myself for another season.”
It’s an empathic line that produces knowing laughs from the audience, but it does not fully address how deplorable it is every time your child has to stay home from school because they’re exposed to COVID, get COVID, or the school can ‘s functioning due to COVID-related staff shortages. Luckily, Gaffigan has just started, and he brings the point home by making a perfect multi-sensory comparison.
“Parents know the feeling,” he says. “It’s like exchanging that cloth in the middle of the night. You are exhausted. It’s disgusting. But you have to do it. So you swap the diaper, you finally get the sleeper back on, and as you gently lay the baby back in the crib, you hear the diaper fill up again. And that is what the year 2021 is. Over and over. It’s just a cloth that gets full over and over again. “
This is funny, because it’s true. And just like those dirty cloths we are all too familiar with, the mess seeped in until 2022. It stinks, but at least Gaffigan has found a way we can get a laugh out of it and help us remember that pandemic fatigue is one of those universal parenting struggles.
Jim Gaffigan’s Comedy Monster streaming now on Netflix.