courtesy Michael O'Brien Entertainment

Hungry like the wolf

Jim Gaffigan hunts for laughs, poutine in Canada

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Often, individuals are defined by the people around them and the same occurs to countries. As such, Canada has been labelled as dull compared to the boisterous United States. Canada's southern neighbours have often chided them as being boring and plain, so perhaps it was only a matter of time before America's newest revered funnyman Jim Gaffigan brought his brand of observing the mundane to Canada. Gaffigan's unique self-deprecating humour has helped him become one of the most prominent everymen in comedy. The sudden popularity has come as a bit of a surprise to the comedian.

"I had no idea," says Gaffigan. "It's weird. I just came up with stuff and it seemed to catch on. I'm just glad people like it."

Much of Gaffigan's standup act relies on his love for food. His Hot Pockets routine gets repeated to him on the street and fans often bring boxes of the frozen food for him to sign at shows. It's not surprising that his first experiences in Canada have involved unhealthy, gluttonous desires.

"I just did my tour of the eastern provinces, so I've done the poutine thing," says Gaffigan. "Wow, I normally eat unhealthy, but poutine just seems irresponsible. I had it three days in a row. It is delicious."

With all the Hot Pockets and poutine Gaffigan has inhaled, he might want to take advantage of Canada's healthcare system as he makes his way through the country for the first time. Gaffigan is the type of guy who would jump in a cab during a marathon, and maybe hit the drive-thru on the way to the finish line--the same way his career has accelerated after overwhelmingly popular appearances on Late Night with Conan O'Brien and the Late Show with David Letterman. Performing was a dream Gaffigan had since he was a pale adolescent.

"I wanted to do standup and acting since I was a kid, but didn't know anyone who did it," says Gaffigan. "Pursuing acting and standup just seemed insane. About 17 years ago, I was doing improv in New York for fun and a friend dared me to try standup. I've been addicted ever since."

Soon after his late night appearances he taped his Comedy Central special, Beyond the Pale. The special did so well that the DVD went gold in the U.S., selling over 125,000 copies in only six months.

Complementing his rise in standup, Gaffigan's acting career also took off. After small roles in indie flicks Super Troopers and Igby Goes Down, he landed a recurring role as Hyde's middle-aged loser boss on That 70s Show. Currently Gaffigan is a regular on the Peachtree TV sitcom My Boys and continues to hone his craft.

"I'll be taping more episodes of My Boys," says Gaffigan. "I have a small role in Mike Myers' new film out in June. I'm taping a new special in December, so I'm trying to come up with new material."

Perhaps when the Hot Pocket-loving Gaffigan performs at the Jack Singer Concert Hall Sat., Jan. 26, "boring" Canadians can introduce him to adding hot dog bits to Kraft Dinner and show all their scoffing Americans just how wild their northern neighbours really are.

Jim Gaffigan hits Jack Singer Concert Hall Sat., Jan. 26. Tickets at Ticketmaster.