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‘What I’ve learned since I lost my mind’: Jim Gaffigan explains his Trump rant

Jim Gaffigan in 2020
Jim Gaffigan photographed in the L.A. Times Studio at the Sundance Film Festival in January.
(Jay L. Clendenin / Los Angeles Times)

So-called clean comedian Jim Gaffigan went profane for a reason.

On Thursday night, the “Tesla” actor went on an uncharacteristic Twitter tirade, dropping curse words to ask Trump voters to reconsider their support of the president. On Sunday, he followed it up with a Facebook post sarcastically explaining “What I’ve Learned Since I Lost My Mind.”

“If I believe I won’t sway any voters, why speak out like I did?” he wrote. “Honestly, I feel I had no choice at this point. I think Trump is ruining and possibly has already ruined my country.”

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“It’s obvious I’m not going to change a loyal Trump voter’s mind but on Twitter Thursday night I was trying to reach a different group,” he continued. “Having grown up in a small town in the Midwest and having traveled the [sic] around the country for last 20 years I know there are people that really don’t like Trump but they do like what Trump is selling.”

Born in Elgin, Ill., and raised in Chesterton, Ind., the Midwesterner has a longstanding reputation for keeping profanity and politics out of his comedy. Last week’s outburst, then, was a drastic change for Gaffigan — one that he called “liberating” on Facebook.

“It was refreshing to let four years of frustration boil over and offer some straight talk on what Trump has done to our country or our democracy,” he wrote.

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Among his major takeaways from his Thursday night rant (and the response), the stand-up comedian realized many of the Twitter users engaging with his posts were, in fact, bots.

“While equally hilarious and frightening, this was revealing to me,” he wrote. “Why was I the target of bots? Was it a Russian bot? A Trump bot? Is Trump a bot?”

Gaffigan also recognized that “Republican talking points work,” pointing out that Trump’s messaging seems to be working for many on social media.

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“And let’s not forget we laughed Trump all the way into the White House in 2016,” he wrote. “That’s why I think we shouldn’t make that same mistake twice. The stakes are too high.”

The comedian, who recently released “The Pale Tourist,” a two-part special on Amazon, clarified that turning to social media was a way to reach his fans directly, rather than feeding into rumors of attention seeking.

“I do however understand this suspicion which is why I have turned down all press requests surrounding my Twitter rant,” he wrote. “I’m posting this on my socials in hopes of reaching one those rare undecided voters who might still be following me.”

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