Comedian Jim Gaffigan on parenting five kids in a Manhattan two-bedroom

PAR_Jim Gaffigan_0514 Credit Nigel Parry

As a nationally touring comic, Jim Gaffigan is no stranger to hectic schedules and sleepless nights. His new book “Dad is Fat” is the latest addition to an extensive comedic resume, in which Gaffigan applies his trademark self-effacing humor to observations about parenting. He’d like you to buy a copy so that his seven-member family can finally upsize from their jam-packed two-bedroom place in Manhattan.

How crazy is life with five kids under 8 in a two-bedroom?
It is insane. But everyone who lives in New York or a metropolitan area is sacrificing a lot of space. No one moves to New York because they can get more space. But I like convenience too much. I can put my kids to bed, and 10 minutes later be onstage somewhere.

Parenting so many little kids seems incompatible with the lifestyle of a stand-up comedian.
Being a parent is incompatible with just about everything, if you want to do it right. There’s something of a contrarian spirit in being a comedian that doesn’t necessarily seem like it would prepare you to be a father. I intentionally didn’t bring my kids up in my act for a couple years. I like my stand-up to be universal. On Twitter, I posted different comments I wouldn’t say in my stand-up, and that led to the book.

What was your thought process while writing the book?
I wanted this book to be observational and substantive. And I focused it on hopefully being funny. I didn’t want it to be completely foreign from my stand-up. As far as parenting goes, I have no idea what I’m doing! This is not an advice book, a confessional or a complaint.

Have your kids seen your comedy?
I have a 7-year-old and an 8-year-old, and they have an idea of what I do. It’s a very strange occupation to attempt to explain to a kid. As a comedian, you also have an additional parenting crisis: You have to teach kids to be polite and not be joking around all the time.

Your most famous bit is about Hot Pockets – do your kids like to eat them?
No. They’ve never even had them!


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