Father’s Day is nearly upon us, and comedy heavyweight/Dad extraordinaire Jim Gaffigan returns to TV Land on June 19th with the second season of The Jim Gaffigan Show, his sitcom chronicling the trials and tribulations of raising five youngsters in a humble, two-bedroom New York apartment.
The lightly fictionalized version of the comedian’s own life touched on such classic fatherhood storylines as doting on the kids, pondering a vasectomy and keeping the marriage spicy. And now, in an exclusive interview with Rolling Stone, TV’s newest paterfamilias breaks down his definitive ranking of the small screen’s most iconic pops.
In a March Madness-style bracket of eight TV fathers, the seasoned stand-up pits the likes of Danny Tanner (which, per Gaffigan, “sounds like a made-up name”) against Peter Griffin of Family Guy, Louie‘s Louie, and even his Gaffigan Show character’s clearest inspiration, Ray Barone of Everybody Loves Raymond.
Along the way, he arrives at some nuggets of fatherly wisdom (“The longevity of Bob Saget’s career proves that nice guys finish first”) and some valuable bits of tough love (“Funny always beats empathy”). And there is no truth more absolute and profound than the koan that “Homer [Simpson] is everyone’s dad. Homer is everyone.”
In the bonus interview below, Gaffigan speaks candidly about his process for conceiving the show along with his wife and co-creator Jeannie, his relationship with his benefactors at TV Land and the fundamental similarities between himself and the Kardashian clan.
“We’re shooting something where my ten-year-old is playing me, and it’s insane,” Gaffigan says. “And there’s also the fear of ‘what kind of crazy narcissist am I?'” It’s a simple but resonant strategy, as Gaffigan explains it: “These are all stories that come from my life.” And isn’t there a little bit of the dad spirit in all of us?