This interview was originally done way back in early 2007. Jim will be performing at The BYT Bentzen Ball Comedy Festival 2015, get tickets here:
Jim Gaffigan was one of those comedians who you’d sorta recognize, popping up now and again on various TV shows, movies, commercials. But in the past year his fame has skyrocketed due to a second Comedy Central Presents special and well selling DVD entitled “Beyond the Pale”, a relentless Sierra Mist advertising campaign with Michael Ian Black, and the reoccurring cartoon “Pale Force” on Conan O’Brien. He’s about to embark on a massive US theater tour, ending in a two night run at Warner Theatre in DC… Nov 30th and Dec 1st. But we didn’t want to wait until then to talk to him.
Brightest Young Things: If we had you DJ one of our elitist hipster parties, what might we hear?
Jim Gaffigan: I realize I look very hip hop but I’m really more emo with a definite Brazilian flavor.
BYT: So for your big summer/fall tour coming up it looks like you won’t hit DC till November. Are you saving the best for last?
JG: Yes, really all the other dates leading up to my Warner Theatre shows are warm ups. Among me and my 10 assistants we call all those shows “pre-DC” shows.
BYT: Right on. Trying out any new material or is it the same old manatees and hot pockets?
JG: Whenever I go back to a city I do make an effort of having mostly new material. I’d say my theater show has about 40 minutes of new material. I imagine by November I’ll have another really good 15 minutes. I however always throw in some old stuff people want to hear like Hot Pockets and Manatee jokes. Besides hot pockets keeps introducing new products every 10 minutes so I always have new stuff on the topic.
BYT: Usually we interview indie rock stars a day or two before their show to help get people excited about it. I’m not sure if this interview alone can keep that excitement fresh for 7 months. Anything else coming up we should know about in the mean time that doesn’t involve traveling?
JG: Well, I’d really like to promote my increasing consumption of bacon. I’ll be eating bacon at least once a week for the next couple months. I’ve been doing theaters like the Warner for about a year and we’ve found the earlier you get the tickets on sale the better idea you get on how many shows we will be doing. (One of the shows is already sold out so a second one was added)
BYT: You have 133,058 friends on myspace yet you promptly answered my message to you. I have 466 friends and I answer like half of my messages. What’s your secret?
JG: Don’t take this the wrong way but I care more and I’m a better online friend than you. I also spend way to much time online.
BYT: Who would win in a fight between Jim Gaffigan and…
Michael Ian Black
JG: Verbal fight, Michael would win. Physical fight, me with my arms tied behind my back.
That douchebag Dane Cook
JG: I’m a lover not a fighter.
The friendly ghost of Mitch Hedberg
JG: I think we’d be doing other things than fighting
JG: Cancer is always funny
JG: I would make sweet love to Don Rickles
BYT: Have there been any serious talks with the Hot Pocket people on being their official spokesperson or anything like that? Or have you heard from their lawyers yet?
JG: Nope. Some people that work for Hot Pockets came to my Denver Paramount Theater show. They brought these hot pocket boxes the size of suit cases for me to sign. I wrote “these are WMD’s” on the boxes. The HP people seem to have a good sense of humor about all of it.
BYT: When people on the street are like “hey aren’t you the guy from…” do you ever go “yeah, Phillip Seymour Hoffman, I won an Oscar, thanks”?
JG: That or I tell them I’m Dane Cook.
BYT: Back before the Sierra Mist money was rolling in and you preformed at the DC Improv, what was your favorite burrito there, the Sunset Salsa or Honey Lime?
JG: The DC Improv food is amazingly edible for a comedy club. I’d have to say Sunset Salsa. Nothing against Honey Lime, but it’s for losers.
BYT: What about Conan or Letterman, who has better green room food?
JG: Cookies at both of them. The cookies are probably better at Letterman though.
BYT: Your bio states that you won Business Week’s 1999 “Salesman of the Year”, your parents must be so proud!
Jim stares silently across the room
BYT: …do you have any pre-show rituals/superstitions?
JG: I smoke crack
BYT: Well yeah, I meant besides that…
JG: I get all my dancers together and we do a prayer.
BYT: What’s your advice for young DC comics trying to make it big?
JG: Write, perform, rinse and repeat.
Check out a clip from Beyond the Pale: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qjeYevD_7QU
Jim’s Official Site: http://www.jimgaffigan.com/
Warner Theatre: http://www.warnertheatre.com/