Pale Rider

Comedian Jim Gaffigan: proud to be pale and conflict-free. Courtesy photo.
Jim Gaffigan: Beyond the Pale
8pm & 10:30pm Sat, Feb 24
Charline McCombs Empire Theatre
226 N. St. Mary’s
Search for comedian Jim Gaffigan on YouTube and you’ll quickly see the effect of Viacom’s recent demand that the video-sharing site remove more than 100,000 clips from MTV, VH1 and Comedy Central. Gaffigan’s most recent standup act, Beyond the Pale, which has aired on Comedy Central, is one of the many videos you can no longer find. (YouTube loophole: Some clips are disguised as Gaffigan slide shows and anime cartoons but contain rips from his CD).

But San Antonio residents can catch the My Boys co-star’s whispery self-criticism and rantings about holidays, religion, and anything related to food (“How can you tell if fish goes bad? It smells like fish either way!”) during his 21-city Beyond the Pale tour.

Via phone from his home in New York, Gaffigan, 40, spoke with the Current last week about making his first visit to the Alamo City.


San Antonio was one of six cities that actually had to add a second show for this tour. That has to feel pretty good, especially since you’ve never performed here before.

I’m excited. San Antonio is a place I’ve wanted to go for a while. I’ve heard great things about the River City and I’m kind of obsessed with Mexican food.

Do you ever tailor your act to the city you’ll be in? I mean, will you go eat some Tex-Mex while you’re here and maybe incorporate that experience into the show?

I kind of deal with these evergreen topics that are hopefully universal so I don’t have to change it too much. But I’m always adding new stuff. My show is about half new from the TV special. I try to make it a different show every time.

Compared to other comedians in the industry, your material is generally inoffensive. You’re not dropping any F-bombs or racial slurs. Why have you decided to take this route and keep your performances clean?

Well, I am discussing the hard-hitting issues of Hot Pockets and escalators. I honestly don’t feel like it’s necessary to curse when you’re discussing an escalator. It’s like, how upset can you be? My comedy really doesn’t attract conflict.

Some of your biggest laughs from your stand-up come from all your Hot Pocket jokes. I’m wondering if you’ve ever been called up by someone from Hot Pocket corporate headquarters and asked to be an official spokesperson or at least gotten a few boxes for free.

I wish! Well, some Hot Pocket people came to a show in Denver once. They brought these huge Hot Pocket boxes, which was pretty funny. Actually, they keep introducing new Hot Pockets. Now they’ve got the new deli-style Hot Pockets made with real deli meat. I thought, “Well what the hell kind of meat were you using before? Oh, that was iguana meat.”

I have just recently become a fan of your webisode cartoon Pale Force where you and Conan O’Brian fight crime with your paleness. Have you heard any feedback from anyone — Larry Bird, Ron Howard, Philip Seymour Hoffman — who are part of the Legion of Pale?

Not as of yet. I ran into `former New York Giants quarterback` Phil Simms at the airport and he kind of mentioned that he wanted to be in it. I ran into Phil Hoffman, but you know, people know they’re pale so they don’t seem to care.

My Boys seems to be doing fairly well on TBS. But I have to ask, didn’t you feel cheated when you found out that the show is centered around this beautiful actress `Jordana Spiro` whom everyone wants to get into bed with, and your character is the only one who can’t because you play her brother?

Yeah, it’s interesting. When I was first doing press for My Boys, occasionally people would ask, “Hey when is your character going to hook up with the female lead?” I was like, “Probably never.” That would be a very special episode of My Boys.