Jim Gaffigan doesn’t need to go far to find material: He and his wife share a two-bedroom apartment in New York City with their five children—a situation that inspired his new TV Land sitcom, The Jim Gaffigan Show. Here’s a conversation with the comedian (and Georgetown grad), who brings his act to Wolf Trap this month.
What is it about parenthood that’s so funny?
It’s a really strange assignment to be in charge of another human being. We all have the best intentions, but it’s a rather unrealistic pursuit—you really have very little control.
You’ve compared negotiating with little kids to negotiating with terrorists.
They’re like al-Qaeda morphs into ISIS. If you were an alien and you came to Earth to observe my life, you might draw the conclusion that children are slowly attempting to turn parents insane.
One of the things said about your act is that it’s “clean,” but that doesn’t mean there’s not plenty of adult material.
My wife describes the show as PG-13. We’re so fragmented and we’re so niche. Everything’s like “this is for the 23-year-old guy and this is for the 47-year-old woman.” I think similarly with my standup, This is for both of them.
How much of your standup is from your life?
I kind of make a point of having not too much stuff about family, but then again I try to make it not too much about food. Nobody’s going to come to see what outfit I’m wearing or to hear about me talking about some celebrity I was hanging out with.
This article appears in our August 2015 issue of Washingtonian.