Jim Gaffigan has made his bread and butter by literally talking about bread and butter. (And McDonald's, Domino's, Hot Pockets, cake, doughnuts...) But the seasoned standup comedian and author of Dad Is Fat and Food: A Love Story is more nuanced than the overeating all-American everyman he portrays himself as.
"I think people would be surprised at how much I enjoy work. I mean I'm a lazy guy — I don't enjoy being active, but I enjoy working." Between his Canadian tour (including headlining JFL NorthWest in Vancouver), five kids and the recent release of his fifth standup special, Cinco, on Netflix, it's no wonder that he "feels like a bit of a zombie."
Though the 50-year-old Catholic loves stretching himself between writing, acting and standup, the latter of these passions is still his most treasured.
"There's a mobility, portability and immediacy to standup that acting doesn't have. It's such a nocturnal thing — you come up with an idea and try it that night," Gaffigan says. "With writing, you're lucky to get feedback a week later."
As Trump begins his presidency, Gaffigan makes a point of embracing opposing elements.
"We have to understand why people voted for [Trump], what they're angry about, and what they want. They're not just idiots. There are people I might disagree with, but I like doing shows where there are liberals and conservatives in the audience. Or there's a Mormon family next to the lesbian couple.
"[NY comic] Dave Attell has this belief that the material should be so strong that even if the audience doesn't like you, they like the joke." Even that contrast is delicious: Gaffigan, who couldn't be more squeaky clean and family friendly, following in the footsteps of his mentor, a fellow New York comic who couldn't be dirtier. "Not everyone's supposed to like me, but I shouldn't cut off half the population and go: 'Oh, I'm just going to concentrate on this 50 percent.'"
Gaffigan knows that comedy won't fix everything, but as the world becomes more divided, it's nice to know that laughter is still common ground.