Jim Gaffigan reveals what really inspired his Hot Pockets routine - Exclusive

There's a good chance that when you hear the name Jim Gaffigan, you think of Hot Pockets. "They should just come with a roll of toilet paper," Gaffigan said in his 2006 Beyond the Pale tour. "Directions: Take out of box. Place directly in toilet. Flush Pockets!" This riff on the popular frozen snack put Gaffigan on the map as a comedian, and since then, the Emmy-award winning talent has, quite literally, taken on that map, most recently with his international stand-up tour, Jim Gaffigan: The Pale Tourist, now streaming on Amazon Prime. Gaffigan makes stops in Canada and Spain and gives the same treatment to local specialties like poutine and paella that he's given to the all-American, paper-sleeve-included, microwavable munchie. 

Ever wonder exactly how badly Gaffigan had to have burned the roof of his mouth to quip, "You can have a Hot Pocket for breakfast, a Hot Pocket for lunch, and be dead by dinner?" In an exclusive interview with Mashed, this best-selling author of Dad is Fat shared what had really inspired him to poke fun at a microwaveable meal he's referred to as a "Pop-Tart with nasty meat."

Jim Gaffiagn thought the Hot Pockets jingle was even worse than the Hot Pockets themselves

People assume that Jim Gaffigan made fun of Hot Pockets because he had a lot of experience with this snack. But in fact, Gaffigan admitted that at the time he wrote this part of his act, "I hadn't really eaten one, because at the time I lived in New York City," he explained. "I understand Hot Pockets are very convenient for a quick meal, or a teenager, or college student. But when you're in New York city, you can just walk into a pizza parlor, and get a slice, right?"

Instead, it was the terrible advertising that inspired Gaffigan's routine. "It was really that the commercial was so bad. It showed this mom giving their kids Hot Pockets, and the song, and the jingle was so silly," he recalled. "It just seemed like a clumsy name. It just seemed really silly."

Along the same lines of famous Saturday Night Live faux commercials for "Mom Jeans" or "Oops! I Crapped My Pants," Gaffigan wondered for a moment whether the TV jingle might have been a parody — that's how bad he thought the ad was. "I thought the commercial felt like an SNL sketch. So I did it as a joke, I developed a couple of jokes on it, not realizing that it would be as big as it got," Gaffigan said. "It was just more about the commercial."

Jim Gaffigan turned down the chance to be in a Hot Pockets commercial

You can't really say anything worse about a food than nicknaming it "diarrhea pockets." Yet, for some reason that Jim Gaffigan does not understand, people always think he's a big fan of Hot Pockets. "I never said anything positive about it, but people assume I love them," he said. "And I would say there's also, it's made more complicated by the fact that people yell 'Hot Pockets' to me in airports and grocery stores."

For the record, the flavor Gaffigan did try when in a hotel room writing Beyond the Pale was barbecue beef. "It was horrendous," he said. All the same, the Hot Pockets advertising team actually reached out to Gaffigan to see if he wanted to be a spokesperson for the brand he'd skewered. "There was talk of me being in a commercial, but I didn't want to do it," Gaffigan said. "I'd be known as the Hot Pocket guy. It's like, I don't want to just be known for that."

Watch Jim Gaffigan: The Pale Tourist on Amazon Prime, streaming now.