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From mussels to wedge salads, food is comedy for Jim Gaffigan, performing at Mirage

I interviewed Jim Gaffigan while he was eating three-day-old Mexican food. Which was awesome, since he is the master of food comedy, known for ridiculing Hot Pockets and admiring bacon.

“I have a very white trash perspective” on food, says Gaffigan, performing today and Saturday at The Mirage.

For instance, he doesn’t like seafood.

“What is the recipe of mussels? That’s just like sea bugs and butter, right? Why don’t you just have the butter?” he says.

Gaffigan grew up in Indiana, so he loves a good steak and bratwurst.

But he also likes wedge salads — or at least the stuff that goes on them.

“The wedge is just: How can I have an excuse to eat a lot of blue cheese with bacon?”

He says salads tease us with the thought that they’re healthy when they’re not, necessarily.

“We all try to figure out how to make it palatable,” he says. “We’re like, ‘Can I just add candy bars? Then I’ll eat a salad.’ ”

Gaffigan’s food intake has been changed by his family. He and his wife, Jeannie Noth Gaffigan, are raising four kids in a two-bedroom in New York. They’re 7, 5 and 2 years old and 4 months old.

“So I’ve definitely tried baby food. But it’s just applesauce, right? It’s very bland.”

What’s worse is the mass of pizza he consumes, he says.

“Pizza is a necessity. It’s like oxygen to children. It’s easy to get delivered. It’s easy to clean up. You appear as a hero as a parent, because they associate it with a party.”

But he doesn’t love pizza, and there’s too much of it.

“Friday night is pizza night. The kids — that’s their night. They watch a movie. And then we end up eating pizza for four days.

“But pizza is just all right. That’s kind of like saying you’re against the military — saying you’re against pizza — but I’m just so sick of it.”

Gaffigan’s “romance with food,” as he calls it, does not keep him lean.

“I used to lift weights. I used to do a lot of things.”

Being physically fluffy makes him stand out in the fit streets of New York.

“If I went back to Indiana, I could put on 80 pounds and people wouldn’t think it’s a big deal. But in New York, people would be like, ‘You need therapy.’

“In New York, there’s that hipster element where people are obsessed with appearing simultaneously stylish and intelligent. They want to look like a Civil War vet with an advanced degree.”

He and his wife (she’s his comedy writing partner) are creating a comedy pilot for NBC right now based on their foodie life with kids.

“It sounds like every cliche of every sitcom — pudgy guy, hot wife. But it is my life,” he says.

Raising four kids is incredibly rewarding, but it is demanding for a lazy guy like him, he says.

“The selfish side of me wants to nap, and prepare for another nap,” he says. “But it’s really amazing. I really do love it.”

Some people think he’s weird for raising so many children.

“When you get to four kids, people do look at you like you’re the guy drinking straight from the bottle of scotch. They’re like, ‘Wouldn’t you just pour a little bit?’ ‘No, I’m just drinking from the bottle.’ ”

I told him that by having such a big family, he’s just trying to prove how Catholic he is.

He told me, don’t worry, he and his wife can handle them.

“They’re all gonna make it through the winter.”

Doug Elfman’s column appears Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays. Email him at delfman@reviewjournal.com. He blogs at reviewjournal.com/elfman.

 

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