You can take the Hoosier out of Indiana, but you can’t take Indiana out of the Hoosier. Comedian Jim Gaffigan, a native of Chesterton, Ind., has now lived in New York longer than he lived in the Hoosier state. Yet he still peppers his speech with words like “hogwash” and finds his Midwestern friendliness a liability in the Big Apple. Gaffigan grew up in a town where “you waved at every car that passed, whether you knew the person or not.”
Evansville residents will find that comedic approach refreshing on March 29, when Gaffigan presents “The White Bread Tour” at the Aiken Theater in The Centre at 7 p.m. The former finance worker jokes about food (his Hot Pockets routine is probably his most famous), laziness, camping, TV, and exercise, and he tries a universal approach to comedy. But family is a big part of his comedic life, too. Gaffigan and his wife and writing partner, Jeannie, now have five children squeezed into their two-bedroom apartment.
Gaffigan, who is Catholic, insists, “The Pope is not calling me up and saying ‘Have five kids.’ I like kids. I’m lucky to be married to the type of woman who wouldn’t think it’s the biggest crisis in the world if she got pregnant tomorrow.”
At the same time, he says it’s strange to navigate the world of parenting as a comedian. “I work at night, I’m up until 2 a.m. – I shouldn’t be in charge of all these kids!” Gaffigan has famously said that after three kids, “people treat you like you’re Amish,” but it doesn’t bother him because having extremely pale skin and being in show biz means “I’m used to people treating me like I’m a weirdo.”
He’s seeing success, however. The boy from northwest Indiana who laughed at “The Carol Burnett Show” and idolized David Letterman will soon have a single-camera sitcom based on his real life. The NBC venture will be his first foray into this type of show since starring in 2000’s “Welcome to New York.” Gaffigan was also a cast member of TBS’s “My Boys” from 2006-2009 and has appeared in such feature films as “It’s Kind of a Funny Story” and “Away We Go.” He has a new book from Crown Publishing, Dad is Fat, available for purchase starting May 7.
It’s all a big change for a guy who kept his day job in finance for eight years. Yet Gaffigan has pressed on to a life he describes as rich and rewarding, where he’s a standup by night and “at my daughter’s pre-school coloring a mitten” by day.
In a place where Hoosiers still are viewed as “people riding tractors,” Gaffigan admits that moving to the Big Apple showed him how much Indiana is “part of my identity. When I play shows in the Midwest, you can tell we’ve all had a similar upbringing.”
Jim Gaffigan will perform at the Aiken Theater in The Centre at 7 p.m. on March 29. See our Guide for more information.