At one point during my phone interview with everyone's favorite food comic Jim Gaffigan, I heard beeping that sounded like microwave buttons being pressed, followed by a familiar buzz.
I thought, "No way! It couldn't be ... is Jim Gaffigan - the comedian who is for better or worse known as "the Hot Pocket guy" - getting ready to eat a Hot Pocket right now as I'm interviewing him?"
A few moments passed and he said, "I'm eating. I hope you don't mind. It's kind of fitting, isn't it?"
I laughed and said, "It is, it is. I heard the microwave and my imagination took off with the possibilities."
"It's not what you're thinking," he said. "It's an Annie's bowl. Do you know Annie's food?"
A Google search revealed that Annie's products are organic foods - a much healthier option than the public might have anticipated from a comedian who has made a living off of jokes about cake and bacon.
But have no fear, "Pale Force" friends. Gaffigan has plenty more food bits ready and he graciously gave me a little taste of one that his wife, Jeannie, thinks may be the runaway hit of the show.
"I've got a new piece about Subway," he said. "They're so stingy with the meat they always peel it off like it's from a wad of ones ... 15 years ago, Subway wasn't even a chain. Now, they're everywhere, on every street corner. They're in like the public bathroom."
Gaffigan's new comedy special, "Mr. Universe," was taped in Washington, D.C., Saturday night. He's going to make it available for download on his website (in April) a la Louis CK.
"It was very much inspired by Louis and I hope I made that clear with my Tweet," Gaffigan said. "But I was thinking about it before Louis announced it."
Gaffigan said that he began to consider different ways to make the show available after he appeared on Comedy Central's benefit program "Night of Too Many Stars" last July.
"I did this chunk on McDonald's ... I think it's a love letter to McDonald's. But I made fun of McDonald's, which is pretty standard for comedians, I think," he said. "But during that show, Sarah - Sarah Silverman - was singing from her crotch and someone was simulating having an orgasm and I'm talking about McDonald's and eating. The irony is that the only censorship that existed was towards me because I was talking about a specific brand and that brand could be an advertiser."
Censorship is a bizarre thing for a comedian who many, including himself, consider generally safe and family friendly.
"Comedy Central was like, 'I don't know if you can say that Ronald McDonald is a pedophile.' You think the clean comic wouldn't have to deal with censorship, but I did."
The censorship made Gaffigan reflect about how he wanted to approach releasing his next special. He decided to do it himself through his website because he wouldn't have to deal with any censorship for jokes that mention brands.
"I thought about which path I wanted to take," he said. "With HBO, you don't have to worry about it but they're not doing too many specials anymore. You have Comedy Central and a few other options but censorship forced me to think outside the box."
Gaffigan will bring his new material to the Community Arts Center, 220 W. Fourth St., at 7 p.m. March 25 and he hopes you aren't offended by his paleness.
"It's interesting - I'm always jealous of the Italian guys," he said. "They never need makeup. Their olive complexion is perfect for the camera. Me and Conan [O'Brien], we need makeup. We need makeup or we will look like we just got out of an oncology ward."
Since the comedian has often made fun of his vampire skin tone, sometimes the opposite occurs and people are actually disappointed because he's not pale enough.
"People often think that they're much paler than me," he said. "People assume they're paler than me and they'll be Mexican-American. They don't understand. I say, 'You're not paler than me. You have black hair and dark skin.' It's funny. The pale thing is a reflection of everyone's insecurity."
Gaffigan said, jokingly, that his performance in Williamsport will "change everyone's life!"
"If you like 'Beyond the Pale' and 'King Baby', you'll like this," he said. "I think the fun thing about standup - the thing that keeps me going - is that I think I'm getting better at it ... or I'm lying to myself. It's fun. This new hour is pretty exceptional."
Gaffigan's main goal is to have people say to themselves, "When he comes back, I want to come again."
"I have friends who say, 'I just go up and play.' I don't do that," he said. "I want to kill them. If people are spending this money and they're giving their time to you, there's a responsibility to deliver. Some people say that every standup show is a conversation. Every show is also a date with the audience ... and if you're not as funny and as charming as they expect, there's not going to be a second date."
For tickets or more information, visit www.caclive.com or call 326-2424.