Jim Gaffney is an improviser and stand-up comic in Denver. His intelligence and timing make him a joy to watch on stage, a joy to talk to in non-spotlight settings too, and a weird, weird interviewee. Basically, for the whole interview, I felt like someone who was on the outside of what I thought were inside jokes. Jim Gaffney’s intelligence and dry humor have really brought me down a peg or two, and I might have to reconsider interviewing smart people from now. Oh, but wait! Mr. Gaffney did say one unintelligent thing: he’s not vegan!
Meet Jim Gaffney.
How long have you been a non-vegan?
My whole life. I mean, like everybody, I had an experimental phase in college when I was veg-curious, but it isn’t the lifestyle for me.
Why have you decided not to be vegan? Describe your journey to veganism and where you got stalled.
Growing up it wasn’t an option. My parents are G-d-fearing country folk, and over the sink in our kitchen was a framed embroidery of Genesis 1:26. You know the verse – “And let them have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over the livestock…” Eating meat and animal products is part of the natural order and by doing so we glorify Him.
Once I moved out, I’ll admit that I dabbled in alternative nutritional lifestyles. I hope my parents don’t read this, but I had a vegetarian experience one lent. Once was enough for me. If I wasn’t able to cook then finding food options at odd hours was a pain, but the worst was never feeling full. Veggie meals just aren’t satisfying. Meat substitutes don’t live up to their name except for seitan (pronounced SAY-tahn), which feels gross in your mouth and should be banished to H-E-double-hockey-sticks with its namesake.
If you had to take one step toward becoming vegan, what would it be and why only one?
The only positive from the experience is that for 40 days I was as regular as Jamie Lee Curtis. All the fiber did me good, so I’d work that in – more spinach, squash and things of that nature.
Which fad diet or meat-eating celebrity made you want to eat animals?
Jesus, of course. My diet consists primarily of bread and fish. Every month I throw a loaves-and-fishes potluck for my friends and the homeless. We have it all: basic fish sandwiches, breaded Tilapia, tom yum kung with a nice heavy pumpernickel is a cross cultural favorite, gumbo and cornbread, po boys although we call them ‘down on their luck boys’ to not offend our guests, bread bowls of chowder and various bisques, and sometimes even a whole haddock baked into a loaf that we call the Seabiscuit. Its a great time.
What vegan food do you fear you’re missing out on as a non-vegan?
I thought I made it clear earlier that I’m not attracted to any vegan foods.
Do you eat fish? You eat fish, right?
I love fish. See above. WWJE, you know.
Are there any animals in your life, such as pets or funny neighborhood squirrels? Tell us a story about them.
We always had animals around growing up. Dogs, horses, and barn cats mostly. Being on a farm, even a small one, you get used to seeing animals die. Jesus is calling them home. I remember when I was young and we had to put Bo down. Bo was the first family dog of my lifetime. She’d been with us my whole life. Like the Virgin Mother at the crucifixion, I knew that I had to be there when they euthanized her. There’s no greater love than watching someone die.
That may be a bit of downer so here’s a picture of Cowboy, one of my parent’s horses, being a goof (pictured on right).
What do you do for fun besides eating meat and dairy?
Well, I enjoy reading the good book of course, but my real passion is Arkeology. I have been researching the possible locations for the Ark for the past decade. Next year I’m leading an independent expedition from my church to Mount Ararat. I think I have a pretty good idea about where to look, but obviously I can’t share the details with you yet.
Do you have any upcoming projects you want to plug? Tell us about them.
Stand Up & Deliver is a semi-clean comedy show at the Bovine Metropolis Theater on the last Sunday of every month. The next show is September 28th and, oh boy, its gonna be a doozie. I host, and we bring out a grip of Denver’s best young comics. Get tickets here.
Along with Alex Harz and Asa Erlendson, I’m part of the World Improv Network. It’s an improvised radio show live on KZKO Mondays at 4 pm. It’s also available as a podcast on iTunes. Just search for “World Improv Network.”
Make up a question of your own and answer it.
John the Baptist lived an ascetic vegan lifestyle. Doesn’t that mean G-d approves of the veganism?
Hah! I see the devious tricks of the devil in your words. Get thee behind me, Satan! Is it not also true that after his death his head was put upon a platter? How ironic that the final image He gives us of John the Vegan is as meat upon a plate. Not subtle imagery about what belongs on our dinner plates if you ask me.
Song: New Age Girl by Deadeye Dick
Recipe: Tamale Shepherd’s Pie from the Christian Vegetarian Association