Comedian Jim Gaffigan grew up in the Porter County town of Chesterton, so it’s no surprise he traveled south as a teenager to check out time trials for the Indy 500.
"I’m so pale," he says during a phone interview. "I just remember slathering sunscreen on myself for three hours. I’m also rather blind. It was a lot of, ‘Was that a car that went by?’ "
Gaffigan will be back in Indianapolis for a two-night stand May 15 and 16 at the Murat Theatre, but he won’t spend time between his appearances at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway — where third-day race qualifications are scheduled on the 16th.
"There’s something about looking forward to that Saturday morning sleeping in and doing nothing that holds a special place in this lazy man’s mind," he says.
There’s no doubt Gaffigan could spend some quality time with a room-service menu. His riffs on bacon, Hot Pockets, cake, pie, bologna, Cinnabon and ketchup have launched him into the upper tier of stand-up specialists.
His 2006 DVD "Beyond the Pale" has been certified platinum for sales of more than 100,000, and the CD version of this year’s "King Baby" reached No. 56 on Billboard magazine’s Top 200 chart.
Gaffigan, 42, lives in New York City, where he and wife Jennie Noth are parents to a 5-year-old daughter, a 3-year-old son and an infant daughter born this month.
A stinging assessment of Waffle House serves as the climactic segment of "King Baby."
"I always tell myself I’m going to lay off some of the food jokes, but when the twinkle on a topic happens, I have to go with it," Gaffigan says.
What’s so funny about the roadside restaurants?
"Imagine a gas station bathroom that sells waffles," Gaffigan observes during "King Baby." Later, he adds, "I’ve seen a gun five times in my life. Three of them have been at Waffle House."
The comic says he’s heard no discouraging words from Waffle House’s corporate headquarters, and he considers himself to be a customer for life.
"People have a very love-hate relationship with Waffle House, which makes it a very vibrant topic," Gaffigan says.
The restaurant known for its “Scattered, smothered and covered” catchphrase is an option for people who work late shifts (comedians on tour, for instance) as well as families looking for a bargain.
But it’s the post-bar crowd, Gaffigan acknowledges, that fuels both allegiance and animosity toward Waffle House.
"No one sets out, ‘Tonight, I’m going to a bar and then I’m going to eat some Waffle House at 2 in the morning.’ It’s never that plan," he says.
When: 8 p.m. May 15, 7 p.m. May 16.
Where: Murat Theatre, 502 N. New Jersey St.
Tickets: $40 and $33. For more information, visit www.livenation.com or call (877) 598-8703.