Wednesday, June 12, 2013 at 10:37 a.m.
Jim Gaffigan has been talking for the past five hours about his new book, Dad is Fat, along with his upcoming book signing tour, which stops at the Mall of America this Friday. He had 28 interviews scheduled this morning -- and we're the last one of the day.
"I've been talking all morning, but I'm sure my answers are going to be unique and riveting," he jokes, staying upbeat but clearly exhausted. "Just so you know, I'm eating hot dogs right now. I think that detail adds a lot to the story."
In the background you can hear a kid screaming, and at that moment one thing becomes abundantly clear: Jim Gaffigan is just like every other dad; except funnier.
Co-written with his wife, Dad is Fat is Gaffigan's first book. It chronicles the father of five's experiences in parenting, discipline, and the true meaning of being "family friendly."
"It took a while for me to decide what type of book I wanted this to be," he says about the writing process. "I didn't want it to be a 'I hate my kids' book, but it's also not 'I love all things about parenting.' I wanted to convey the bafflement and amazement that comes from raising kids."
While any fan of Gaffigan's comedy will love the book, it'll likely resonate more with guys who have been through some of the same experiences and changes Gaffigan recalls on his journey through fatherhood.
"Things change when you have kids. My eating habits have definitely changed," he says between bites of his hot dog. "I wasn't the healthiest eater ever, but there's stuff in my house now that wasn't there before. Like candy; there's always candy in my house now because there's always a birthday party or a holiday. What bachelor has candy lying around?"
Through all the jokes and anecdotes in the book, it's obvious that Gaffigan loves his children and is trying to be the best dad he can. But even for the most "family friendly" guy, five kids may seem a little intimidating. Gaffigan insists having a big family wasn't always necessarily the plan.
"Your views change," he explains. "Twelve years ago I didn't even know if I'd get married, and now being a father is the most important thing I've ever done. I used to look at having kids the same way athletes think about going to the Olympics. It would be amazing if it happens, but I won't assume it's a sure thing. I'm just very lucky that my path in life has led me to this point; I love it."
After years of staring down sold-out audiences, appearing in major movies and television shows, and now literally writing the book on parenting, Gaffigan insists there's still plenty left for him to learn from his children.
"My son wrote the title of this book on a dry erase board one day and it cracked me up," he says. "And he knew it would make me laugh. The tough part is trying to teach him to have respect for adults, even when what he's saying is funny."
IF YOU GO:
Jim Gaffigan's Dad is Fat book signing
Mall of America Rotunda
Friday, June 14, 7 p.m.
Wristband required for autograph