JIM GAFFIGAN: THE WHITE BREAD TOUR Saturday (June 7), 7 and 9:30 pm, at the Sony Centre for the Performing Arts (1 Front East). $35.50-$55.50. 1-855-872-7669.sonycentre.ca.
Few make a career out of pasty skin and an obsession with snack food, but that's the trick stand-up Jim Gaffigan has pulled off.
He began his comedy career on the 90s New York City circuit, but it didn't really take off until the 2000s after he became a regular on Conan O'Brien and did an infamous rant about Hot Pockets. Now he's of the most popular theatre headliners around, constantly on the road and making one of his regular Toronto appearances on Saturday.
"I have a new hour and I was trying to figure out a way to get up to Toronto and do as many Canadian dates as I could," he says.
It's not surprising that the pale, polite, irreverent comedian loves performing in Canada, and that Canadians love him.
"Most of it is just scheduling. I have 500 children, so I had to figure out how to get there."
Then there's the draw of junk food.
"Eventually I'm going to have to grow up and stop eating it, especially if I want to be at one of my kids' weddings," he says. "But it's hard. If I'm going to Canada, I have to get poutine. That happens when I travel to any city. My wife says I don't have to. The citizens of Montreal aren't going to be angry if I don't have smoked meat."
Though food continues to be a staple of Gaffigan's act, it never grows tiresome. It's just part of his take on mundane observational comedy, and something that he's inevitably turning into a book.
"The title is Food: A Love Story. I'm just writing essay upon essay about food. I'm not a foodie, just a guy with a distinct point of view on baloney and macaroni and cheese."
He's taking his time in order to make the book worthwhile.
"We've all purchased humour books that you start reading and realize, ‘Oh, this author just wanted to get some money.' This won't be one of those."
There's something charmingly old-fashioned about Gaffigan's wholesome approach. And it's not calculated.
"That's just how the comedy comes out of me or a Brian Regan," he says. "I love political and filthy comedy, and I love my friends who do it, but it's not a huge sacrifice to not say ‘fuck' if you're talking about bacon."