BRANSON, Mo. “Laughter has its own way out if you try to hold it in,” says Jim Stafford as he begins two hours of making it just about impossible not to laugh. As I was reviewing a recent performance of the Jim Stafford Show for the Branson Tourism Center, one of Branson’s largest and most respected vacation planning services, it was easy to see how this remarkable entertainer has gained iconic status in Branson over his 22 years of entertaining Branson audiences with his unique brand of humor, charisma, and musical talent.
Jim’s comedy is the mainstay of the show and is worked in throughout to keep the audience in a constant state of anticipation and laughter. He has a unique style and ability that gets the audience involved in the humorous stories he is telling about things to which we can all relate. For example, most of us have all been in a hot tub at one time or another, but after hearing about Jim’s hot tub escapade it is doubtful any of us will ever get into a hot tub again without chuckling.
The shows first number, “Let the Good Times Roll” really tells the story of what is going to be happening for the next two hours as the audience experiences one of the most unique comedy and musical presentations on any stage in Branson. It’s not just the music or the humor, although that would be enough, but it’s the way it is combined to flow effortlessly from one segment to the next along with great special effects.
From lighting and sound to holography, black light and 3D, this show is packed with special effects. This writers favorite and one that really appealed to the kids in the audience, was the “black light” presentation in conjunction with Jim’s performance of “Spiders and Snakes.” The shows use of 3D in the second half was another segment that, while entertaining the whole audience, just had the kids mesmerized.
I could not help, but notice that the show held the interest of the whole audience, including children, as it effortlessly went from one exciting segment to another. While being primarily an adult show its special effects, surprises like the “stampede” and the tossing of cow patties make this an ideal show for both adults and children.
Jim is also a talented musician on a number of instruments, particularly the acoustical guitar. His rendition of “Malaguena” is simply beautiful and I loved his rendition of the old country classic “Wildwood Flower, but it should be remembered that in this show laughter could be but a note away. Jims two children, his daughter GG and son Shea play a variety of music throughout the show from GG’s unique version of the old rhythm in blues standard “Get Your Kicks on Route 66” to Shea’s rendition of the fiddle classic “Orange Blossom Special.” This writer’s personal favorite was their version of “Chariots of Fire” with Shea on the piano and GG on the harp.
Perhaps the words of Patina and Don, from Maine, who attended the same show I did, sum up the Jim Stafford Show experience best. “When we came to the show, we were in a blah mood because of the rain, clouds and no sun, but we’re in a light hearted sunny mood now. He’s really funny and so personable. His son and daughter are so fantastic on the piano. I loved the whole show and his guitar playing, but my favorite part is when he tells his jokes. We definitely recommend this show, it’s fantastic.” And to that this writer would say, “Amen.”