The coronavirus pandemic has changed our everyday life, but it doesn't need to change who we are. So, in addition to our ongoing coverage of the coronavirus, OnMilwaukee will continue to report on cool, fun, inspiring and strange stories from our city and beyond. Stay safe, stay healthy, stay informed and stay joyful. We're all in this together. #InThisTogetherMKE
Like the rest of us, comedian Jim Gaffigan is stuck inside – but thanks to some Milwaukee brands, he and his family are at least getting a delicious taste of their Midwestern home away from home.
To keep busy and keep people entertained during this pandemic, Gaffigan began a new YouTube streaming series last month called "Dinner with the Gaffigans" – which, as you might expect, hangs out with the famously food-loving comedian, his wife and fellow comedy writer Jeannie Gaffigan, and their five children around dinnertime in their New York home. What you might not expect, however, is the increasing number of Milwaukee cameos popping up during the playful video series as well as on Gaffigan's Twitter and Instagram accounts.
The biggest Brew City sighting comes in the March 26 episode, where the Gaffigans eat some tasty brats – courtesy of a gorgeously gargantuan shipment of sausages from Johnsonville – on some tasty-looking pretzel buns from Milwaukee Pretzel (last seen trolling and confusing ESPN basketball analyst Paul Pierce), complete with some of the company's Sprecher root beer brat mustard on the side. See the local brands' starring roles for yourself – though be warned, you will get very hungry.
Milwaukee wasn't just for dinner at the Gaffigans' house that night; Milwaukee was the fashion of choice at the table too, as the family is decked out in all manner of Brew City swag sent by Milwaukee Pretzel Company, from classic brand shirts to trucker hats with a pretzel-fied People's Flag of Milwaukee.
Meanwhile, after having its mustard team-up make an appearance, Sprecher decided to join in on Milwaukee-tizing the Gaffigans' quarantine dinners, sending over an early Easter gift in the form of Sprecher swag and some bottles of its famous root beer – a present that Gaffigan called "a hug from Milwaukee" on Instagram. (Aka the best kind of hug, and also the only kind of hug we can give during these social distancing times.)
Other than a clever and savvy product placement idea, it may seem a little strange that all these Milwaukee companies are popping up around Gaffigan's videos – but anybody who knows the comedian knows that he, his family and Milwaukee are closely tied like brats, beer and a good bun. Though Gaffigan was born in Illinois and raised in Indiana, he's developed quite a bond with the Badger State and Milwaukee over the years thanks to the fact that Jeannie is originally from the Brew City. As a result, the comedian's made it an annual tradition to come back to The Pabst Theater every New Year's Eve for several shows, he was the first comedy show ever booked at Fiserv Forum and he's rarely shy about showing his love for the Bucks and other Milwaukee icons.
The love for Milwaukee's been passed down to their kids as well, as several years ago, when asked to write about her favorite destination for school, daughter Katie picked The Good Land.
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And so, a cheers to Jim Gaffigan for representing Milwaukee all the way out on the East Coast, and a cheers to local companies like Milwaukee Pretzel Co. and Sprecher spreading the good word of Milwaukee to families everywhere even in these strange times. And, of course, a cheers to everyone out there, like the Gaffigans, staying safe, staying home, staying healthy and staying social even while social distancing.
As much as it is a gigantic cliché to say that one has always had a passion for film, Matt Mueller has always had a passion for film. Whether it was bringing in the latest movie reviews for his first grade show-and-tell or writing film reviews for the St. Norbert College Times as a high school student, Matt is way too obsessed with movies for his own good.
When he's not writing about the latest blockbuster or talking much too glowingly about "Piranha 3D," Matt can probably be found watching literally any sport (minus cricket) or working at - get this - a local movie theater. Or watching a movie. Yeah, he's probably watching a movie.