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Jim Gaffigan, Funny And Clean In 'Obsessed'


Jim Gaffigan's got a lot going on right now. He's been on tour with his wife and five children. He shot the pilot of a TV show about living in his New York apartment with only two bedrooms, and he's "Obsessed," the title of his new special that premieres tomorrow on Comedy Central. Between stops on his tour, Jim Gaffigan joined us to explain why he takes aim at kale, and how he does it without using a single foul word.

JIM GAFFIGAN: When I was a little kid, cottage cheese was considered healthy. You know, I remember my mom and my sisters saying, we're going to be healthy by eating this tub of cheese curds. And, you know, they're essentially eating something that looks like cellulite. And so I'm just kind of a cynic, you know, I just think that Americans - we have this belief that every generation, or every decade, we finally got it figured out. And in Australia, I think they feed kale to cattle.

SIMON: I think the cattle are very healthy too, if I'm not mistaken.

GAFFIGAN: Right. You know, and things just get out of control; like, you know, the milk trend changes every two weeks. You know, I have young children so initially, you're not supposed to feed them cow's milk, so then you're supposed to drink soy milk, but then they discover that there's so much estrogen in it that it might not be perfect if you're trying to raise children that have all their genital parts. You know what I mean?

So it's - and then you drink almond milk but if you have a nut allergy, then you're supposed to drink hemp milk, which is essentially made out of rope. It's just this ongoing kind of circle of us seeking to find an easy solution and the reality is, we're all going to die.

SIMON: Well, thanks for cheering us up.

GAFFIGAN: (Laughter) Yes.

SIMON: I can't think of a standup working who is more successful than you are, at the moment, and yet you are still identified as the guy who keeps it clean.

GAFFIGAN: Some of it is the topics that I'm discussing. And some of it is probably that I come from a smaller town in Indiana, and I'm not going to be somebody who's going to feel comfortable talking about some sexual explicit kind of situation. But there is something about - standup comedy has such a rich heritage of dealing with censorship, and dealing with breaking down social taboos. And when I'm the clean guy, there is something like, am I working for the enemy by being clean? But I also think that no one's going to see a standup show just to hear someone not curse.

So, I mean, after shows, there's definitely people that are like, thank you for being clean. But there's also people that, you know, the person standing behind them that has a look on their face like, oh I didn't even realize he was clean.


SIMON: Jim Gaffigan's new special, "Obsessed," premieres on Comedy Central tomorrow night. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.