Even though Jim Gaffigan is taking a bite out of bigger movie roles, he’ll never lose his hunger for his first love: stand-up comedy.
“When the news broke that Seinfeld was going back to stand-up, I think most comedians were like, ‘Of course he is,'” Gaffigan told the Daily News. “Real comedians have to do stand-up, whether it’s Robin Williams or Don Rickles or whatever.”
Over a nearly three-decade career, Gaffigan, 51, has slowly perfected his stand-up persona: the deadpan, oafish glutton whose bread and butter is talking about bread, butter and other comestibles.
The “endorphin rush” that comes from exploring the “nuggets of an idea that I haven’t figured out” is one of the reasons Gaffigan said he’ll never quit stand-up.
“The figuring out of what the joke is — and I might not find that joke — is very rewarding for me. It’s a sense of productivity.”
While Gaffigan has slowly become one of the most successful comics of his generation, he’s also beginning to land meatier film roles.
In the upcoming “You Can Choose Your Family,” Gaffigan stars as a seemingly normal father whose home life gets turned upside down when his son discovers his dad has a second family.
“It was just a blast every day that there was heavy-lifting on the acting front, as opposed to a comedy where you’re just coming to deliver the goods,” Gaffigan said.
Gaffigan continues to land bigger parts in movies and TV, like his role on ‘Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt.’
(Universal Television/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images)
The role couldn’t be further from Gaffigan’s real-life role as a father of five.
Raising young children with his wife Jeannie has provided ample fodder for Gaffigan’s stand-up act, as well as material for “The Jim Gaffigan Show,” which ran for two seasons on TV Land.
And while Gaffigan is reluctant to give much lip service to Donald Trump on stage, he’s found that the current political era has been great for teaching his kids about compassion.
“If someone has a different point of view than you, that doesn’t mean you should discard them,” Gaffigan said he tells his children. “My family knows that different is not bad.”
Gaffigan and his wife Jeannie are raising their five kids in Manhattan.
(Michael Loccisano/Getty Images)
Gaffigan also said his role in the upcoming film “Chappaquiddick,” the first major film to tackle the deadly Ted Kennedy scandal of 1969, offers an interesting learning opportunity for his kids.
“It’s a fascinating look at America and how we digested a scandal,” which Americans seem to keep having to swallow with depressing regularity.
Gaffigan said scores of stand-up comedians influence him, but Dick Gregory, who died Aug. 19, had a major influence when it comes to using your platform as an entertainer for social good.
“I think of Dick Gregory as somebody who used humor as a tool in a pretty profound way,” Gaffigan said.
But while Gaffigan isn’t afraid to hit Trump with a witty tweet or joke, he strives to use his act to give his audience a much-needed escape from the regular barrage of political news and social media outrage.
“With stand-up in this day in age you don’t want to continue the echo chamber that we all exist in,” Gaffigan said. “People are coming for a break from it … people want to be entertained.”
And Gaffigan will continue to do just that on Thursday when he’ll take the stage at the Beacon Theatre for a three-night run as part of his Noble Ape Tour.