What is Jim Gaffigan’s Net Worth and Why Did His Wife Want Him To Joke About Her Cancer?

Jim Gaffigan is beloved as everyman’s stand-up comic. He relates in his humor situations anyone can connect with. He’s talked about a range of topics, from the experience of camping to being at Disney World with five kids. (“Just imagine you’re standing in line at the DMV. That’s it.”)

Jim Gaffigan
Jim Gaffigan | Jamie McCarthy/Getty Images

Find out more about Gaffigan’s marriage, how his wife encouraged him to joke about her cancer, as well as about the comedian’s net worth.

His marriage to Jeannie Gaffigan

Jim has been married to his wife, Jeannie, for 16 years. She was diagnosed two years ago with brain cancer. She wrote about what she went through in her book released this month, When Life Gives You Pears. The tumor found on her brain stem was the size of a pear, thus the book title.

Jeannie told NPR this month, “…when [Jim] realized that he was not going to be a widower, he just was my personal comedy concierge. He would wash my hair. He turned into…this very ‘Steel Magnolias’ gossipy salon owner who has been divorced five times. And this kind of thing showed me…my marriage to Jim was designed at the beginning of time.”

His wife encouraged him to work her cancer into his stand-up act

The comedian told People this month, “The doctor said, ‘This is very concerning,’ and I saw fear in his face,” Jim recalls. “That was the day I was most frightened. It was definitely a period where I was like, ‘Alright, I’m probably going to be a mediocre single father of five.’”

Eventually, the Gaffigans were told that Jeannie’s tumor was operable. Jeannie is her husband’s creative partner as well as his life partner. So when she had to start going for MRIs and other tests, she encouraged her husband to work some of that “material” into his stand-up act. He told AVClub more about that.

“It is…kind of what we do. Whether it’s working on the show or my stand-up or writing our book, it’s our defense mechanism. It’s therapeutic, but it’s also weird, because I immediately came up with some tumor jokes and was running them by her.”

“There are certain things where I think a lot of people would be like, “That’s way too soon,” but look, Jeannie went in for this two-hour MRI, and she came out and the first thing she said was, ‘Write down these ideas.’ So I suppose it’s therapeutic in a way.”

Jim’s net worth

According to Forbes in August of this year, Jim Gaffigan’s net worth is $30.5 million this year. This puts him at No. 3 on Forbes’ list of the highest-earning stand-up comedians. Half of that was earned, as he puts it, by putting “butts in seats.” The comedian has also made lucrative deals with Netflix (which he ended recently according to Forbes). He has also made deals with Amazon and an independent company, Comedy Dynamics.

The comedian spoke with Business Insider about his departure from Netflix.

“I was approached by Comedy Dynamics, proposing that the special would be available everywhere people rent or buy.  You didn’t just have to have Netflix. And I thought this was appealing, that it’d be available to everyone at the same time.”

Read more: Comedian Jim Gaffigan Comments on Dave Chappelle’s Netflix Special and Comedy Cancel Culture