This segment was originally broadcast on July 26, 2013.
Comedian and actor Jim Gaffigan lives happily with his wife and his five young children in a two-bedroom apartment in lower Manhattan. You read that right: Five kids. Two parents. Two bedrooms. His latest book, Dad Is Fat, reflects on the challenges and triumphs of raising a big family in a small space.
We've invited Gaffigan to answer three questions about the health habits of Gwyneth Paltrow.
CARL KASELL: Jim Gaffigan is one of the most successful stand-ups working today. He's famous for being a family man but mostly for his enthusiasm for a certain frozen food stuff. He joined us on July of 2013 along with Kyrie, Maz and Paula.
PETER SAGAL, HOST:
Now, you have a new book, called "Dad is Fat"?
JIM GAFFIGAN: Yes.
SAGAL: And where does that title come from?
GAFFIGAN: That was - "Dad is fat" was the first sentence that my now 7-year-old son wrote on a dry-erase board when he was about 4 or 5.
GAFFIGAN: And he showed it to me, and I laughed - and then I put him up for adoption.
SAGAL: Yeah. You used to have six. And so is this a book about parenting? Is this a book about being a dad?
GAFFIGAN: Yeah, it's about parenting, you know. I mean, I was someone who 10 years ago, I - or 12 years ago, really couldn't even get a date. And it's - you know, I love my kids. I have no idea what I'm doing. I kind of set out - you know, I wrote it with my wife; that we didn't want to do a book that was "I Hate My Kids," or we didn't want to do a book that was "I Worship My Kids." So it's more or less, I have no idea what I'm doing.
GAFFIGAN: That's the premise.
SAGAL: So you write jokes with your wife?
SAGAL: That probably puts - that probably sort of keeps you from doing a lot of the classic, well-let-me-tell-you-about-my-wife jokes.
GAFFIGAN: Yeah, well, you know, there's definitely - I mean, she's editing but there is also...
GAFFIGAN: ...I mean, it's a very unique, you know, relationship that we have. And it's...
PAULA POUNDSTONE: Where did you guys meet, Jim?
GAFFIGAN: I bought her from Russia.
GAFFIGAN: We met in our neighborhood, in New York City. And I would - she would come to my shows, and she would provide suggestions. And I would be like, that's interesting. No. But then eventually, the ideas were great, and I was using most of them. And now, we write everything.
POUNDSTONE: I still don't see how you met. You said she was in the neighborhood. Where...
POUNDSTONE: ...where did you first lay eyes - where, specifically?
GAFFIGAN: What do you need, footage?
POUNDSTONE: Yeah, is there mice...
GAFFIGAN: We met - actually, it's called Eden Farm. It's a Korean deli on Front Street in New York City. The zip code is 10012.
SAGAL: All right.
MAZ JOBRANI: I think you're looking for a co-writer. Is that what you're looking for?
SAGAL: Yeah, I think so.
JOBRANI: She's going to the deli.
SAGAL: Fine, fine. We've beaten around the bush enough. It's time to talk to Mr. Gaffigan about Hot Pockets because as everyone know, you went from successful to very successful when you started your routine about Hot Pockets, the delicious frozen entree. Was - first of all, I mean, how in the world did you start with that? Where did that come from? You're eating a Hot Pocket one day and you...
GAFFIGAN: Well, no. I - it started - I think it's very lucky. First of all, the whole Hot Pocket thing is kind of a blessing and a curse, right?
GAFFIGAN: It's made it so I can perform in theaters, and people have been exposed to my comedy. But I certainly don't need more drunk college kids yelling Hot Pocket at me, you know.
SAGAL: So you mean - because people, you need to see this routine. It's hilarious. It's extended. And so people, like, come out and, like, you're walking through a college campus and doing a show and...
SAGAL: ... and they come out and they go Hot Pockets.
GAFFIGAN: Yeah - no. I'll be walking with my kids down the street or in an airport and people will yell Hot Pockets. And I never know how to respond. Like, I don't know if I should say...
POUNDSTONE: Is that how you met your wife?
GAFFIGAN: The irony, Paula, is she was dressed as a Hot Pocket.
SAGAL: I know.
JOBRANI: Do your kids know why people are calling you Hot Pocket?
GAFFIGAN: Yeah, yes. They - you know, my kids have actually never eaten a Hot Pocket; that's the irony. But yeah, they know about the Hot Pocket thing because it's pretty unavoidable that - after about 10 times, my son's like, why do they keep saying Hot Pocket?
GAFFIGAN: And I said, don't ask. That's how we're paying for college.
SAGAL: One last question for you. You're known for being rather pale, right?
SAGAL: This is one of your things.
SAGAL: And this came up. We were talking about this today; and one of our producers says, well I'm very pale. I wonder if he glows in the dark.
SAGAL: And we're like, do you glow in the dark?
SAGAL: And she's like, yeah, I do, you know. I glow in the dark. I'm pale. And so the question for you, Jim Gaffigan, is do you glow in the dark?
GAFFIGAN: Gosh, I suppose I do.
GAFFIGAN: I mean, I never really thought about it like that. That's like, the first time - you know, because I grew up this kid - very, you know, like, I hated the fact that I was pale. And then, you know, it ended up being part of standup. And I came up with this thing with my brother-in-law, called Pale Force, where all these pale people are like, ah, finally, someone's talking about being pale. But, you know, I'm definitely hesitant wearing shorts during the summer.
GAFFIGAN: Like, for a pale person, you know, summer - everyone in the world is so excited for summer. But pale people, we're just like, oh, no - you know.
SAGAL: Really? Not being particularly pale, I did not know that pale shame was a thing.
GAFFIGAN: Oh, yeah. Well, you know, it's also hard to articulate because you can't have pale pride because the Germans kind of messed that up.
SAGAL: That's true. Well, Jim Gaffigan, we're delighted to have you here.
SAGAL: And we have asked you here - it's true - and we've asked you to play a game we're calling...
KASELL: Gaffigan, Meet Gwyneth Again.
GAFFIGAN: All right.
SAGAL: It occurred to us that you have many things in common with Gwyneth Paltrow.
POUNDSTONE: She's pale.
SAGAL: You're both - well, exactly. You're both very pale; very attractive, successful entertainers. But you have different health habits. So we're going to ask you three questions about living life the pure Gwyneth way.
SAGAL: Get two questions right, you'll win our prize for one of our listeners, Carl's voice on their voicemail. Carl, who is Jim Gaffigan playing for?
KASELL: Jim is playing for Amy Larson of Hillsboro, Ore.
SAGAL: All right. Ready to play, Jim?
GAFFIGAN: Oh, I hate that lady.
GAFFIGAN: No, no. She's great. She's great.
SAGAL: Yeah, she's awesome.
SAGAL: It's all in the past now.
SAGAL: Here is your first question. Gwyneth Paltrow believes that she is qualified to be a self-actualization guru. Well, why? A, quote, "Well, I'm perfect, right. What more evidence do you need?" unquote; B, people have been asking her for advice since she was, as she says, in the womb; or C, she was told so by the rocks at Red Rocks in Colorado.
GAFFIGAN: Hold on a second. I have to throw up.
GAFFIGAN: Wow. Geez, I would say it's the Red Rocks.
SAGAL: You're right, Jim. It is the Red Rocks.
(SOUNDBITE OF BELL)
SAGAL: Gwyneth says, quote, "I was starting to hike up the Red Rocks and honestly, it was if I heard the rocks say, 'You have the answers. You are your own teacher.'" And now, she's ours.
POUNDSTONE: You know what?
SAGAL: What, Paula?
POUNDSTONE: They said something entirely different to me.
SAGAL: So Gwyneth has published a book, a diet plan; and writer Rebecca Harrington tried it earlier this year. She's going to eat like Gwyneth every day. And on day 10, she reported A, that Gwyneth's daily air snacks were not very filling; B, that she had gotten really defined arms from, quote, "having hysterical fits every day"; or C, quote, "day 10, so cold, so alone...
SAGAL: ...may not survive. Someone send barbecue."
GAFFIGAN: Wow, I would say the second one with the great arms.
SAGAL: The great arms, from having hysterical fits.
SAGAL: You're right. That's what she said.
(SOUNDBITE OF BELL)
POUNDSTONE: Wow, good for you.
SAGAL: Apparently, Gwyneth's diet will send you into anxiety. That's how Gwyneth gets her - what's - gets her guns. So here's your last question - Gwyneth got her gun.
SAGAL: Last question, even Gwyneth isn't perfect - just kidding, she is. But when asked what her problem areas are, she answered - quote - what? A, "My butt. My butt, butt, butt"; B, "I feel with a little work, I could be even whiter"; or C, "I did marry a guy from Cold Play."
GAFFIGAN: Isn't her - you know, her kid's uncle is Uncle Jay-Z? So I would say it's the whiter thing.
SAGAL: She feels with a little work, she could be even whiter?
SAGAL: I love the fact you picked that.
SAGAL: So I'm not going to talk you out of it but in fact, it was A, "My butt, my butt, my butt."
GAFFIGAN: Oh, my God.
SAGAL: That's what she thinks. Carl, how did Jim Gaffigan do on our quiz?
KASELL: Well, Jim had two correct answers, Peter, and that's good enough to win for Amy Larson. Congratulations.
SAGAL: Well done. Yay.
JOBRANI: You did it, man.
SAGAL: Jim Gaffigan is coming to a city near you. For tour dates, go to JimGaffigan.com. His latest book is "Dad Is Fat." Jim Gaffigan, thank you so much for joining us.
POUNDSTONE: Thanks, Jim. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.