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HED: The Lead Read: 'Dad is Fat'
CNN "The Lead" highlights new books for summer vacation reading.
The title of comedian Jim Gaffigan's book "Dad is Fat" isn't a joke he wrote. It was a gift from his son, Jack.
"The first sentence that he wrote was, ‘Dad is fat.’ And then I put him up for adoption," joked Jim Gaffigan.
Gaffigan said he wrote the book to honor his five kids, and to let other dads know that he does not a have a clue what he's doing either.
"When you have five, people are like, how about stopping, you know? Are you creating your own nationality? Is there going to be a country called Gaffghanistan? What are you doing?" said Gaffigan.
The author and comedian said having kids changes people's perceptions of what they want their legacy to be.
"When we're about to die, it's going to be - it's going to come down to the last thought, did we pull off being a dad?" said Gaffigan. "I know that sounds corny, but that's the truth. And so I also believe that my children have made me a better man. ... And based on that, I only need another 34 to be a good guy."
The book is now a New York Times bestseller, and although Gaffigan appreciates the feedback, he finds some of the reviews a little confusing, especially some of the adjectives used to describe his comedy. He said some readers have described the book as "wistful."
"I'm like wistful? You know, then I was like Googling, 'What does wistful mean?' said Gaffigan.
"There is something about, you know, a gratitude at the opportunity to be a dad. I mean my kids are young ... maybe when they're teenagers I'll be like, I hate it. But, you know, I really am grateful for it," said Gaffigan.
Gaffigan has a 9-year-old daughter and said he is now gearing up for the teenage years.
"The whole calculation of being a parent is not designed for victory," said Gaffigan. "The most you can hope for is maybe they'll ignore you from 18 to 21 and they'll come back at 21."
"But it is scary, you know, them becoming teenagers. But I'm just glad my daughters are going to be nuns, so I don't have to worry about that," Gaffigan joked. "It's so cute how they think they're going to be a princess, when I'm like, you're going to be a nun."
Gaffigan is often described as a family friendly comic because he doesn't curse. It's a label he tends to resist.
"All comedians aspire to be known as funny," said Gaffigan. "I mean people aren't going to my theater shows simply because I'm not cursing... that's not the drawing point to my show."
"And also, you know, as a parent, you know that family friendly means low quality. It's awful," said Gaffigan.