JRE Episode #1335 – Jim Gaffigan
My Guest today is one of the greatest comics on earth, the great and powerful Jim Gaffigan– Joe Rogan
“What if someone doesn’t have a prime membership?? Then they’re probably not on the internet!”– Jim Gaffigan
“The narrative is no longer being controlled by media.”– Joe Rogan
“There can be no appreciation of true diversity, without an understanding of racism.”– Joe rogan
“Humans are absurd. We’re stupid”– Jim Gaffigan
“I just care about good stage time, quality stage time.”– Jim Gaffigan
“‘Hey kids, listen to Uncle Joe, just smoke one cigarette a week, and it’ll be fun!”– Jim Gaffigan
“You seem like you drink testosterone every morning!”– Jim Gaffigan
“I’m so focused…. On eating.”– Jim Gaffigan
“There’s so much value in traveling around with material because you gain different perspectives”– Jim Gaffigan
“We have political discourse fatigue”– Joe Rogan
“It wasnt that long ago, that ‘rape and pillage’ was the go-to concept”– Jim Gaffigan
“There is a puritanical thing going on with the left that comedians used to make fun of the right for.”– Jim Gaffigan
“I’ve lost some fights, but bombing on stage, might feel worse”– Joe Rogan
“In ireland not everyone drinks, but those that do it, really drink”– Jim Gaffigan
Tom Shillue – on The Colbert Report
Steve Hilton – Trump Interview
Jerry Seinfeld – Stand-up
Lenny Bruce – Stand-up
Richard Pryor – Stand-up
Dave Chappelle: Why a Little Bit of Racism is Good for Us
Jim Gaffigan has a new special on Amazon that comes out on 08/16/2019. It can be viewed using your Amazon Prime membership. Joe dives into the different streaming platforms, and how wonderful they are for getting your name out there. Jim admits he is fascinated with how they have changed so much over the years. Joe says he sees a ton of ads for different shows like Ms Mazel and Fleabag, on Amazon, but does not see any ads for comedy specials. ‘My special isn’t as important as the toothpicks they’re selling on amazon.’
Jim mentions his previous special Noble Ape had been released independently on several different platforms. He says he had been looking at Netflix, but there were just so many comedy specials that he wasn’t sure if anyone would actually watch it. There’s always a risk of his special not taking off. Netflix apparently doesn’t provide you with your viewing numbers, which contributed to his decision. He put Noble Ape out on amazon along with other platforms. Due to the number of views that he had, Amazon approached him to do his new special.
They talk about the Pros and Cons of airing your special on Netflix, and continue to talk about different streaming services. They bring up binge watching shows and how it can possibly be unhealthy.
The two say that eventually there wont be anything but live sports and news on regular cable. Jim talks says his whole family watched this show ‘Jane the Virgin’ and that he actually enjoyed watching it. Joe brings up network television supposedly not being the best platform to ‘blow up your career’ but mentions the show “Impractical Jokers’ as a reason for why that isn’t necessarily true. “TruTV put out Impractical Jokers, and now… those guys are selling out arenas!”. Jim thinks the reason for that is how organic and unscripted the show is. He says they are just real, authentic people. They talk a lot about the guys being so successful in their careers with entertainment. Jim says he believes that’s part of why Joe’s podcast is so popular, because its authentic. Joe denies ever even promoting the show.
Joe says that no media outlet has the monopoly to define someone or something, because the people decide. They will find out about things they enjoy regardless of ‘hit pieces’. Someone will research the article and find out just how terrible that journalist really is. Jim believes that due to the collapse of ‘paid media’ we have so many objective articles out there now.
They say people are so overly critical about every imbalance with race, gender or politics; it makes pitching shows more difficult. Joe says he can’t wait until there’s no more racism, and it’s no longer a viable story line and people can just relax. Joe mentions someone telling him he should moderate the presidential debates, and someone else said ‘Why do that when you can give it to a talented black woman?’ Jim does believe there is an imbalance in the media and we do have to work on it. But humans are just clumsy, and creativity is so much more complicated. There is a nuance to every comedy routine. He brings up the movie ‘Green Book’ and the ideas and situations that lead it to being an award winner, was because it had everything America loved.
Jim brings up his kids who live in New York City with him. Joe says that’s a crazy place to raise kids, but Jim believes that there is just so much more diversity just walking to the subway. He also enjoys how convenient it is to live in the city. He enjoys not being smothered by the entertainment business. He is able to live a normal life; to have dinner with his family, get his kids to bed, then go do a set, and come home. If he lived in LA it would be a different commitment.
Jim says the changes made to ‘The Comedy Store’ have been amazing. They talk about all the catalysts to those changes like Management stealing and promoting the business online. Jim says the Comedy store is perfectly laid out. Joe agrees and says “The original room is probably one of the best places in the world to find out if your jokes are any good.” Jim talks about how there’s so many comedy shows out there. He is baffled by how many there are. ‘It’s strange to do a show, and have a great time…. And no one says anything about it on twitter or instagram.’
There are so many shows that there’s no time to stay on top of the new hits.
Joe doesn’t believe talk shows have a good format. They aren’t effective ways of having conversations. Its just in-and-out so if you say something controversial and put your foot in your mouth you don’t get the chance to pull it back out. There’s no explaining how you came to that conclusion. Joe brings up his podcast with Bernie Sanders. One of the things that people said was ‘this guy isn’t a cartoon… he always seems like a cartoon!’ because they never got a chance to hear him just sit and talk without a 12 second window.
Jim gives Joe a piece of nicotine gum. They talk about smoking cigarettes and nicotine gum. Joe says he smoked one the other weekend before a show and it gave him a crazy headrush. Jim laughs saying that only happens the first couple times. ‘Yeah but if you do it once a week…’ Joe starts, but he is cut short by Jim laughing, saying ‘that’s a great advertisement ‘Hey kids, listen to Uncle Joe, just smoke one cigarette a week, and it’ll be fun!” He says the nicotine gum used to curb his appetite, and then talks about having low-T, and asks Joe if he does testosterone. Joe says he does and starts explaining what is happening when a man has low-T.
Joe says comedians don’t listen to their own sets anymore, which is how you learn what material needs to be kept. He says his process is physically writing the material, doing the set, recording and listening to it and taking notes. He asks Jim what his process is. Jim says it shifts all the time; sometimes he just gives birth to a great bit, and sometimes its ‘like chiseling through granite’. He says he loves doing the longer sets and having stuff come out organically. The writing process is always moving for him. Joe asks if his sets in the city are ever long. Jim says no, not with family, having 5 kids in school, and extracurriculars. He says he likes to do shows in Brooklyn, where there’s a ‘more precious’ audience. The ‘hipsters’ in Brooklyn look at him differently than other places. It’s very important to him to see the different audiences so he can mold his act to fit into the target audience. Different areas all have different things that people find funny.
Joe says its critical, for you to travel and work in different comedy clubs. You get a feel of the city you’re in. Jim uses an example of how people will take the joke differently based on the norm in their region. Joe believes comics have a unique perspective because of their travels. He uses the Trump election as an example; more comics saw Trump winning, before it happened, than anyone who lived in LA. People in LA were utterly shell-shocked when Trump won.
They begin to talk about politics and politics being the main topic in alot of peoples lives leading up to the election. Jim talks about a fellow comedian who he toured with before the election. He had this great material that involved the candidates and after the election, no one wanted to hear it anymore. They wanted a break from it. In international shows, when W. Bush was president, people would approach Jim, upset about the war. Now he doesn’t hear any griping from international fans about politics.
Trump does not play a part in people’s normal day-to-day routines. The two of them vent about how there is so much drama now, and that we are supposedly in ‘the most dramatic era.’ Jim says today is absolutely nothing like what was happening in WWII. He describes bringing his kids to Central Europe and visiting a concentration camp from WWII. Human beings were the ones who did wrong. It wasn’t the Germans or whatever, it was human beings who treated others so terribly. Joe brings up areas in France that are still quarantined, to this day, because of the damage done during WWII. They discuss the atrocities of humankind. 20% of all marriages in Kyrgyzstan start by kidnapping, they’re having live slave auctions on YouTube in Libya. Joe brings up the terrible things happening in Libya. He says its why democracy is so important and compassion is so important and being able to look at things objectively and in a non-biased way. He says there is so much going on that is worse than what is happening here in the US.
Jim says comedians really appreciate a different point of view. ‘We have friends that we don’t agree with and we find it entertaining.’ but in this ‘cancel culture’, you can’t question things because it means you’re not a true believer and you wont fit in. Jim says during an interview, someone was actually shocked he was friends with someone who works at Fox. He says he can understand how important these beliefs are, and how threatening democracy is, and he understands that we have to face our history, but we can’t actually discuss things. Joe agrees; with the Trump election it became ‘you’re either good or evil, black or white, its binary, you’re either 1 or 0’. They say that perspective is very childlike. They express their issues with the hypocrisy of the liberal side, and the conservative side.
They start talking about Elk meat. Jim wants to know how it tastes and describes a bad experience with deer meat. Joe explains that it is all in the preparation of the meat. Jim wants to know why people don’t just eat elk. Joe explains that it is illegal to sell meat from wild animals. He says he feels like its more humane to hunt than it is to buy meat at a grocery store. The one animal will feed him for a whole year. Jim jokes about someone listening to the podcast and farm raising elk. Joe says people can’t because its illegal and there are so many other issues that go along with it. He talks about chronic wasting disease which is essentially mad cow disease but in deer. It hasn’t spread to humans but it has spread to mice. If it did jump over to humans it would be a disaster. Jim asks where Joe goes to hunt and Joe ends up inviting him to come out hunting with him sometime. Elk is healthier than beef, its higher in protein and has less fats. They talk more about elk meat and hunting. They discuss some of the logistics of hunting.
Jim takes a small leap from the topic asking what is the unifying thing that hunters, UFC fighters, and comedians have in common. ‘Its difficult, what they do’. They’re not all really things you can just pick up and start doing, you have to put effort into it. Comedy is extremely difficult to pursue. There’s a direct correlation between how happy people get when you make them laugh, and how angry they get when you don’t make them laugh. Martial arts is incredibly difficult, you either hit them or you don’t. You either win or you don’t, and how much work you put into improving yourself really makes the difference. You can pick up rifle hunting for certain animals, but there’s still things you have to learn and work on. Bow hunting is a whole nother level of commitment.
Jim says in the comedian community there’s so much weight in feedback from your peers or your audience. They laugh about how many different comedians there are,when there weren’t that many when they first started out. There is some magic to making good material; being a comedian you need to be open to understanding your viewpoint and open to embracing your embarrassment. The more you do stand-up and the more frequently you do it the better you get at it. You almost always have to be immersed in it . But it is also important to take a break. We all need perspective, discipline and work ethic, but we also need to think clearly and have enthusiasm. They discuss the issue all comics have where they have a great idea, but because they didn’t write it down right away, its gone forever.
Jim is very intrigued by Joe’s hunting and continues to ask about what he hunts, where he hunts, and how long he has been doing it. Joe has been hunting for a few years now and glazes over where he was born and some of the places he grew up. They talk about personal development. Joe says he really started working on improving himself in his 20’s when he was fighting, because if he didnt work on himself, he would have been knocked out. Though, bombing on stage might feel worse than losing a fight.
Jim talks about dark times in the beginnings of anyone’s comedy career. There are some people who go on stage, bomb, persevere through the dark moment, and never improve. There’s a certain mindset that never improves according to Joe. Jim says comedy changes as the world does and for a lot of people authenticity is the most important thing in comedy now.
After being in the business for a while, Jim went back to listen to some of Richard Pryor’s standup and was shocked by how many jokes had been stolen from him. He was really revolutionary in so many aspects. Jim goes on to talk about Patti LaBelle, and how talented she is. He says she just has that superstar ability, and he believes Chappelle also has that quality of setting a hurdle for himself and jumping over it. He is also constantly working. Joe tells a story about being in Denver and doing a comedy show, and walking into the green room afterwards to see Chappelle waiting. He just showed up just to do a set. And so he walked on right after Joe and did 40 minutes. Chappelle has that brilliance, talent and the work ethic that is required to be a great comedian.
Jim talks about his experiences in Ireland and the British Isles. He says there’s something so tribal there with how much they drink. He says that it is super interesting to watch people and learn about other cultures. Joe asks if it hard for Jim to balance the acting and stand-up. He says he loves acting but he doesn’t view it as a source of income. He says he loves to play the bad guy because how people perceive him afterwards, is funny. Joe says he has decided to not do any more acting. He doesn’t have time to do it. Jim asks if it was the ‘perfect role’ if Joe would go back to it and he says no. They wrap up the show somewhat quickly since Jim has a meeting to go to.
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