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Interview: Jim Gaffigan discusses his new movie ‘Linoleum’

World-renowned comedian and actor Jim Gaffigan chatted about his new film “Linoleum,” which was released on February 24 via Shout! Factory.

Jim Gaffigan in 'Lionelium.'
Jim Gaffigan in 'Lionelium.' Photo courtesy of Shout! Studios
Jim Gaffigan in 'Lionelium.' Photo courtesy of Shout! Studios

World-renowned comedian and actor Jim Gaffigan chatted about his new film “Linoleum,” which was released on February 24 via Shout! Factory.

Gaffigan stars opposite Rhea Seehorn in “Linoleum.” He plays the role of Cameron Edwin, who is the host of a failing children’s science television series “Above & Beyond.” Cameron is a person who always aspired to become an astronaut.

On being a part of “Linoleum,” Gaffigan said, “It was great. It’s always so fun to perform in indie films where there is this collaborative spirit. With ‘Linoleum,’ I felt there was something special. The movie ends and it stays with people, it resonates with people, which is really interesting.”

The synopsis is: After a mysterious space-race era satellite coincidentally falls from space and lands in his backyard, his midlife crisis manifests in a plan to rebuild the machine into his dream rocket.

As his relationship with his wife (played by Rhea Seehorn) and daughter (Katelyn Nacon) start to strain, surreal events begin unfolding around him — a doppelgänger moving into the house next door, a car falling from the sky, and an unusual teenage boy forging a friendship with him.

Becoming Cameron in ‘Linoleum’

Cameron slowly starts to piece these events together to ultimately reveal that there’s more to his life story than he once thought.

He was drawn to his character, Cameron because “it was fun to find and justify the behavior for a character.” “I love the fact that he is so beaten down by life, and we all have had moments where we have felt that,” he said.

“Portraying that in a way that is now pathetic but is accessible was the most rewarding thing of the shoot. It is such an ambitious project.”

The movie was produced by Chad Simpson, Dennis Masel, and Chadd Harbold.

“The 10 minutes really transform the whole experience,” he admitted. “It’s an emotionally moving ride. There is an absence of cynicism in this movie that will catch you off-guard in the end.”

Comedic routine inspirations

On his inspirations for his comedic routine, he said, “It is always changing. At this point, I am trying to evolve and challenge people that have come to my shows. ‘Dark Pale’ is my 10th hour so it is challenging the friendship that I have established with the audience so it’s not the exact same conversation.”

“Challenging people can be scary but also highly rewarding. There is something of fear surrounding some of the topics, you really want to challenge people,” he added.

7th Grammy nomination

This year, he scored his seventh career Grammy nomination for his comedy album “Comedy Monster.” All of his nods were for “Best Comedy Album.” “Honestly, I am so grateful to be nominated.”

“There really is the acknowledgement of being nominated, and that is pretty significant. I don’t have an expectation of winning, especially in the age of Dave Chappelle. I don’t see a scenario where anyone is going to beat him. The fact that I continue to get acknowledged for my comedy specials is pretty huge and I am grateful for it,” Gaffigan elaborated.

The digital age

On being an actor and comedian in the digital age, Gaffigan, “What is great about it is that people have access to see some of your work, but there is so much content out there. For a movie like ‘Linoleum,’ it is not just the cost of a ticket to a movie but it’s the value of someone’s time.”

“There are many options out there, and ‘Linoleum’ is this different type of movie that leaves people with some questions and conversation topics. I am so grateful that this movie is so different from the other content that is out there. ‘Linoleum’ is one of those movies that it is fun to be in the theater for it because there is some value in that communal experience but also the anonymity of the darkness that you are sitting in,” he explained.

On the title of the current chapter of his life, Gaffigan responded, “Dark Pale.” “That’s the special, and that’s what the next hour will be called. After the past couple of years, there is so much darkness that we’ve had to process, whether it’s losses from COVID or economic instability that you need to have a cynicism about some of the bleakness.”

The Paramount

This past October, Gaffigan performed at The Paramount on Long Island as part of “The Fun Tour.” “I love The Paramount,” he said. “There is something about The Paramount and Long Island that is very familiar to me. You can’t contemplate Long Island without the context of New York City. Having lived in the New York City area for over 30 years, I very easily could have been a Long Islander.”

Success

On his definition of the word success, Gaffigan said, “Success is very individual. I do think that, for me, the big question that I keep asking myself if I have to make sure I don’t get caught up in other people’s notion of success. The creative fulfillment in having access to acting roles and stand-up opportunities is a success. Everything else is gravy on top or someone else’s measure of success.”

“A Grammy nominations is great, but being able to come up with new material and being able to perform at places like The Paramount is more of a notion of success for me. Being in a film like ‘Linoleum’ and being able to play multiple characters in a thought-provoking movie feels more important than being in a huge blockbuster where I was paid more,” he concluded.

To learn more about Jim Gaffigan, check out his official website and follow him on Instagram.

Markos Papadatos
Written By

Markos Papadatos is Digital Journal's Editor-at-Large for Music News. Papadatos is a Greek-American journalist and educator that has authored over 21,000 original articles over the past 18 years. He has interviewed some of the biggest names in music, entertainment, lifestyle, magic, and sports. He is a 16-time "Best of Long Island" winner, where for three consecutive years (2020, 2021, and 2022), he was honored as the "Best Long Island Personality" in Arts & Entertainment, an honor that has gone to Billy Joel six times.

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