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Jim Gaffigan backstage at the 2014 American Comedy Awards

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The 2014 American Comedy Awards (which NBC televised on May 8, 2014) returned after a 13-year hiatus. The annual awards show was originally on Comedy Central from 1987 to 2001. The 2014 ceremony was previously filmed at Hammerstein Ballroom in New York City, where some of the best entertainers from TV, movies and stand-up comedy gathered to honor their favorites. Nominations for the awards were voted on by members of the American Comedy Awards Voting Committee, a panel consisting of 860 working professionals from the comedy community including writers, performers, producers, directors and stand-up comedians.

Winners at the 2014 American Comedy Awards included Bill Cosby, Amy Poehler, Seth Rogen, Melissa McCarthy, Bill Hader, Will Ferrell, Stephen Colbert, Jon Stewart, Keegan-Michael Key, Jordan Peele and Jim Gaffigan. (Ferrell, McCarthy, Colbert and Stewart did not attend the ceremony, but most had prerecorded acceptance speeches.) A complete list of winners can be found at the official American Comedy Awards website. Here is what this celebrity had to say backstage during a brief press conference in the American Comedy Awards press room.

JIM GAFFIGAN

Winner:
Best Concert Comic

What do you think of awards shows in general?

You know what I love about going through the red carpet? There are always some photographers that do the “pity shot.” They’re like, “All right, we’ll take your photo. Maybe he’ll be on a plane that goes down in a couple of days. We might need this shot.”

And then it’s awkward when you get to the interview part and they’re like, “Us Weekly magazine doesn’t want to talk to you.” I’m using that as an example. [He says sarcastically] That’s such an important magazine.

With so many nominees in the category of Best Concert Comic, what did you do to prepare for his evening in case you won?

Kevin Hart is the biggest comedian in America right now. He’s got 8 billion followers. There was a bit of an expectation that he was the guy who would get [the award]. But I was just as likely to [lose to] Hannibal, because Hannibal stood up, pretending that he was going to get it.

It’s weird. When you watch awards show, you’re like, “This is bullsh*t!” And then when you’re nominated, you’re like, “Oh, it’s not that bad.” And then when you win, you’re like, “It’s a good system for evaluating.”

When you hear, “It’s just an honor to be nominated with my peers,” it sounds so insincere. But [co-nominees] Louis C.K. and Kathleen Madigan, these are amazing comedians. And Brian Regan is the most underrated comedian in this country.

What was it about your work in the past year that stood out to the people who voted for you to get this award? What were some of the highlights?

I think there is something about my comedy is not topical. Jokes I did seven years ago are still kind of relevant. Maybe there’s some of that.

I don’t know. Maybe Netflix. Obviously, Comedy Central is huge. I don’t know what makes it all work out. Maybe the book helped. I wrote a book. I don’t know, but I’m just thrilled. And I know that in the end, we’re all going to die. I’m not, but you guys are.

What’s next for you?

I have a pilot for CBS that I’m really excited about. But that’s very much a gamble. I’m just superstitious enough that now that I’ve brought it up, the devil is going, “Now it won’t happen.” I always have to play cautious about it. Even when people are saying, “Hey, it’s getting good buzz,” I feel like, “Gee whiz, television.”

The entertainment industry is so much about you being prepared to be slapped. And you think you’ve built up all these resiliences, like, “I’ve got all these calluses. They’re not going to hurt me now.” And then there’s disappointment. And we’re all going to die.

Are you going to let your kids play with your American Comedy Award?

Yeah. I’m sure they’re going to break it. It’s very flattering. This is my first award. Well, I won Most Fertile Guy, but that’s about it.

For more info: American Comedy Awards website

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