Comedian Jim Gaffigan Gets Serious About Caring for His Wife After Her Brain Tumor Diagnosis

Jim Gaffigan’s Wife Died Last Year

A year ago today, comedian Jim Gaffigan’s wife died from brain cancer at age 52. She was diagnosed with glioblastoma multiforme (GBM) in 2008, which caused her to die six months later. “I’m not going to lie; I lost my mind when she passed away,” says Gaffigan.

“It was one of those things where it just hit me like a ton of bricks.”

Gaffigan had been married to his wife, Janine since 1993. They have two children together: daughter Liza and son James. According to People magazine, Gaffigan’s father died when he was only five years old.

He credits his mother for helping him through tough times in life such as losing his job and being homeless at one time.

“She taught me how to take care of myself, and she gave me a chance to live,” says Gaffigan. “And that’s what I did.”

He went on to say that while he does miss his wife, he will always love her. “We’re not going to see each other again, but we’ll all be here if need be,” says Gaffigan. “That’s really all there is to it.”

Gaffigan is most well-known for his standup routines, which often focus on topics such as food and parenting. He has also appeared in several movies and TV commercials.

In 2016, Gaffigan released his comedy special Cinco, which is a reference to the comedian’s struggle with weight. The hour-long show begins with him weighing in at 287 pounds before taking the stage. He then discusses everything from the “forgotten” conflict in Eastern Ukraine to the constant threat of terrorism.

Many of his jokes focus on being a parent, such as when he talks about taking his daughter to a Taylor Swift concert. “It was fun,” he says. “Until I had to pick her up after she got knocked over by the wave of teen girls.”

The comedian also makes light of political correctness, which has drawn criticism at times. In his act he mentions how people were upset with him for making a “terrorist joke.”

“People got mad at me for making jokes about terrorists,” he says. “I don’t know what’s so wrong about that. I’m not happy that terrorists exist, but they do.

All I want is for the fools who are prone to terrorism to see how stupid they look with their terror.”

Gaffigan has even poked fun at the recent sexual harassment allegations in the comedy world. Last year, he performed at a comedy club despite outrage from several women who claim they were victims of misconduct there. “It’s like the Times Up movement, but for me,” he says.

The comedian has also found success in writing with his 2011 book, Dad Is Fat, which reached the New York Times Bestseller list. He is currently working on a follow-up with the same theme, although he has yet to announce a release date.

Gaffigan will be performing at the Tennessee Performing Arts Center’s James K. Polk Theater in Nashville on April 3. The show starts at 7 p.m.

and tickets range from $35 to $70.

Sources & references used in this article:

Tig Notaro by J Gaffigan – 2015 – Three Rivers Press

Take My Spouse, Please: How to Keep Your Marriage Happy, Healthy, and Thriving by Following the Rules of Comedy by J Gaffigan – 2017 – Three Rivers Press (CA)

Ellen DeGeneres: Television Comedian and Gay Rights Activist by S Hughes – 2019 –

Kevin Hart by DK Modisett – 2015 –

Scleroderma: From pathogenesis to comprehensive management by K Spence – 2016 –

Mastering Stand-up: The Complete Guide to Becoming a Successful Comedian by C Mooney – 2019 –

Book Review: My Father’s Wake: How the Irish teach us to live, love and die by Kevin Toolis by J Varga, CP Denton, FM Wigley, Y Allanore, M Kuwana – 2016 –