Laughter is the best medicine for husband and wife comedy team - Jim and Jeannie Gaffigan

By Anson Liski

With Files from Susan Ponting

“If anything happens to my wife, my five kids will have to be put up for adoption.” – Jim Gaffigan, Comic, Actor

“I don’t want to take it for granted; we are the beneficiary of miracles. It is truly a miracle that my wife had a tumor the size of a pear removed from her head.” – Jim Gaffigan to Jimmy Kimmel


To say the least, Jim and Jeannie Gaffigan, have had a tumultuous year handling Jeannie’s grave health condition this year, even though she faced a life and death surgery, that didn’t stop the two comedians from laughing about it.

In an interview with NBC, Jeannie says, “You can either be sitting in an MRI machine for two hours, freaking out… Or you can just be like, ‘why is this so hilarious?’ It helps get through the trauma.”

They faced their ordeal head on with what they know best: Humour.

This particular chapter in their lives presented many jokes that the couple say, “wrote themselves,” including a funny encounter after surgery with Jeannie’s anesthesiologist, “Dr. Hamburger,” she told NBC’s wellness reporter, “I’m really not even that big of an eater. But when you can’t eat for days, weeks, months and you’re just getting nutrition through a tube, it’s brutal. I was coming back to, and out of the anesthesia. I opened my eyes and I saw his name tag said “Dr. Hamburger.” And I literally thought that I was hallucinating. I was like, “Your name isn’t Dr. Hamburger, is it?” And he’s like, “Unfortunately, yes.” I was like, “What are the odds that your name is Dr. Hamburger and I want to eat a hamburger right now more than anything in the whole world?”Jim chimed in next, “Where’s Nurse Mustard?”

Though their spirits were high through being diagnosed with a benign brain tumor in April of 2017. Jeannie admitted in an interview with People Magazine that, “I was a ticking time bomb, waiting to be paralyzed.”

Jeannie’s surgeon, Dr. Joshua Bederson, Professor and System Chair Department of Neurosurgery at The Mount Sinai Health System in New York City, told People Magazine, “All function of the brain passes through the brain stem and out into the body – and her brain stem was compressed.”

Jim and Jeannie say finding Dr. Bederson was nothing short of a “miracle.” People Magazine also reported that the Gaffigan’s went to the hospital with low hopes on securing a doctor like Bederson, but with a personal connection, they were able to see him immediately after a scheduled surgery that happened to have been cancelled that same day.

The surgery was a success, and Jeannie’s recovery is going well. Her and Jim are back in full force, using this unique experience to co-write Jim’s latest standup special, “Noble Ape.” Jim will also be appearing in 13 movies coming out over the next year.

Jim and Jeannie are both devout Catholics, and they are not shy about sharing their faith or how grateful they are to God for what they say is a miraculous surgery and recovery.

In an interview with Jimmy Kimmel, Jim said, “I don’t want to take it for granted… We are the beneficiary of miracles. It is truly a miracle that she had a tumor the size of a pear removed from her head.”

Here’s Lorna Dueck with Jim Gaffigan in 2015 – watch the interview here:

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