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The Indiana-born standup comic Jim Gaffigan cultivated a reputation during the late '90s and early 2000s as a low-key, witty, and inventive comic with mildly self-deprecative routines. He then branched out into television and film roles, finding mixed (if not unqualified) success in those venues. Launched during the early '90s, Gaffigan's original standup act sparked the attention of such after-hours talk programs as Late Night with David Letterman (on CBS) and Late Night with Conan O'Brien (on NBC). Both shows booked the comic for repeated spots to tremendous audience enthusiasm. Letterman was reportedly so wowed by Gaffigan's material, delivery, and presence, in fact, that he commissioned his company, Worldwide Pants Incorporated, to produce a sitcom for Gaffigan, Welcome to New York. The series cast Gaffigan as a character named Jim Gaffigan, a former weatherman from Indiana who moves to New York and takes a job on a Good Morning America-like local talk show called "AM New York." Christine Baranski co-starred as Gaffigan's caustic producer, Marsha Bickner, Roseanne's Sara Gilbert as Marsha's assistant, Amy, and Rocky Carroll as Adrian Spencer, the program's smarmy, artificial host. Many of the initial gags and bits revolved around the "fish out of water" concept of a Hoosier thrust into the Big Apple, and Gaffigan's co-workers' cutting objections to his presence in the newsroom. Unfortunately, Welcome to New York folded a few months in, thanks to markedly poor ratings and viewership. The comic continued his television work unabated, however, with a recurring role on the equally short-lived Ellen DeGeneres starrer The Ellen Show. Beginning in 1999, Gaffigan began signing for supporting roles, typically comic turns, in feature films, starting with David O. Russell's Three Kings. He played Larry Johnson, the highway pullover dumbfounded by a "meow"-spouting cop, in Broken Lizard's Super Troopers (2001), then a hotel manager in the eccentric dramedy Igby Goes Down (2002). Gaffigan also landed a bit part as Chris Grandy in Gary Winick's Big update 13 Going on 30 (2004). In mid-2005, Gaffigan issued his premier comedy video, Jim Gaffigan: Beyond the Pale -- an hour-long special in which the comic delivers a number of riffs on the subjects of food, holidays, gift giving, and religion. (The title refers to the fair-haired Gaffigan's ghostly white complexion, one of the recurring subjects of his shtick.) Gaffigan then essayed a supporting role in Hilary Brougher's 2006 psychodrama Stephanie Daley, starring Tilda Swinton, Amber Tamblyn and Timothy Hutton.

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