Comedian Jeff Gerbino was in the metro for a New Year’s Eve gig at Moe’s American Grill in Mounds View and a few rounds of babysitting the grandkids.
His granddaughter from New Jersey, Daphne, who turns 3 next month, got the stomach flu after arriving in Minnesota and was unable to visit her cousins across town where granddad was staying. “So I had to go visit them. They were staying with my ex in Burnsville, or as I like to call her, my former wife. I don’t like to use the word ex.”
I suggested Gerbino might enjoy the comic confusion I get out of describing my ex as my first husband. “Well, as they say in Florida, where these guys get married three and four times, their practice wives,” said Gerbino, who has had only one spouse. “First wife implies there’s a second.” Let them wonder.
Gerbino had other comical marital ideas: “Yeah, 25 years is the new 50 as far as marriage goes. I made it to 28. I want my gold ribbon. At 25, we should have a testimonial dinner, be given a gold watch and a plaque, patted on the back and told, ‘You’re free to have sex with others.’ We’ve raised the kids. We’re all good. At that point, everyone has got a hall pass.”
Oh, lots of wives are going to sign on for that, I told him sarcastically. Here’s more.
Q: Am I hearing that you don’t like changing diapers?
A: I don’t mind changing them on kids. I don’t want to change them on an adult. A lot of people in Florida, how shall we say it, take the Depends commercials seriously. Old people, guns and legal marijuana — an interesting combination.
Q: What do you let the grandkids [Alex, 8; Lizzy, 6; Daphne; Chloe, 1½, plus one on the way] get away with that your two kids couldn’t?
A: The ability to eat whatever they want. Last night, I served them hamburgers and hot dogs, and when their parents came home, they were stunned. Apparently, they live on a diet of pizza and those little deli packs, Lunchables. So I got them outside the envelope. They ate a hamburger I made, not McDonald’s, and a hot dog that I made. Lizzy said, “This is the best hamburger I’ve ever had.” And I went, “Alright. My week has been made, nevermind the shows. I got a 6-year-old who has not eaten voluntarily in two years to enjoy my cheeseburger.”
Q: While watching the Vikings not show up to play the Bears, one of the NFL game callers claimed Kirk Cousins is so organized, he has a spreadsheet that breaks down his day in 10-minute intervals.
A: That’s so anal retentive, my God.
Q: So Louis C.K. apparently decided that unauthorized public displays of private body parts in the era of #MeToo didn’t do enough to harm his career. Now he’s back with swipes at nonbinary individuals and Parkland school shooting survivors. Do you have any advice for him?
A: First, keep [it] in your pants. I know we saw that [“Saturday Night Live”] video with Justin Timberlake and Andy Samberg, but that was a sketch, and even at the end they are getting arrested. Follow the rules.
I was talking to some female comics in Tampa about [Louis C.K’s behavior] because even I was baffled. I still have not figured out why a guy would ever do that, certainly with his fame and reputation. [The women comics] gave me their answer: Power. It’s a power thing. …
The inside story I heard from a pretty close grapevine is that he called Sarah Silverman to give her a heads up on [his behavior] and she said, “I cannot be in your vicinity for, like, the next two years.” Those two interns he did that in front of were sent by Sarah. She was doing more acting work and they wanted to intern on stand-up comedy. So she sent them to Louis C.K. And they were calling Sarah and asking, “Is this normal?” And she is like, “No! It is not normal.”
I always thought comics would steer clear of all that but, “Hey, hey” [impersonating Bill Cosby]. Five years ago if I had told you Donald Trump would be president and Bill Cosby would be going to jail on rape charges, you’d have said, “Get out of here, Gerbino.”
Q: Can Louis C.K. save his career?
A: I don’t know how he can walk out to an audience with women in it. I really don’t. I understand four or five months ago, he went to this comedy joint in Greenwich and apparently a whole bunch of women got up and left, which is what I thought would happen. Women are the ones who make the reservations most of the time.
C.J. can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org and seen on Fox 9’s “Buzz.” E-mailers, please state a subject; “Hello” does not count.