An exclusive interview with everyone’s favorite TV patriarch.
When you think of life role models, the first name that pops into your head probably isn’t Peter Griffin. The patriarch from Fox’s long-running Family Guy is morbidly obese, almost entirely sedentary, and, well… fictional. But that doesn’t mean he’s lacking in wisdom.
The truth is, anybody can live forever with a healthy diet and regular exercise. But it takes a special something to abuse your body in spectacular ways and still suffer no consequences. Call it “the Keith Richards effect.” You don’t live that long making so many bad decisions without knowing something the rest of us don’t.
Peter Griffin is a man who has been treating his insides like the dumpster behind a Costco for almost two decades. On last Sunday’s episode of Family Guy, he rejected quinoa in favor of a peanut-butter-cup-Doritos-sausage-car panini, with a Cadbury Creme Egg cracked over the top. And yet it appears that he hasn’t aged a day since a Clinton was in the Oval Office.
Surely we have something to learn from the star of Family Guy—which, coincidentally, is having its 15th season finale this Sunday at 9pm/8pm CST on Fox. We reached out to Mr. Griffin (OK, the show’s official writing staff), and he eagerly agreed to an email interview.
How do you define “healthy”?
I think I’m a pretty healthy guy. Every morning I put on my step counter, and around noon I realize the battery’s dead. So I try to remember to put it in the charger before I go to bed, but every night I forget.
What’s one little thing you do every day to make yourself a better person?
Being a good person is easy. It’s mostly just remembering your kids’ names and tellin’ you wife dinner is great, even though it’s the same meatloaf recipe you’ve had every week for 20 years. As long as you can lie, you can be a good person.
What’s your favorite type of workout? Are you more about building muscle or strengthening your heart?
Once a week I climb into the monkey cage at the zoo with a basket of fruit. I protect the fruit and Chris uses a stopwatch to time how long ‘til it’s gone. ‘Cause after, like, a minute, it doesn’t feel like working out, it just feels like fighting monkeys. For a less intense workout, we bring shrimp to the flamingos.
What’s the most egregious health or fitness myth that you can’t believe people still believe?
Your stupid website always promotes eating vegetables. But you know what? Everyone on Earth who’s ever eaten a vegetable has died. That’s just science.
New Jersey governor Chris Christie once called himself “the healthiest fat man” in the country. Can an overweight man really be considered healthy?
Me and Christie are cut from the same cloth. Literally. We have to get special clothes made from this tailor who also makes sandwich mascot costumes. And some sandwiches are healthy, so I’m doin’ just fine.
A new study, partially funded by the National Institutes of Health, found that 1 in 3 overweight men won’t make it to age 70. Are you worried?
What do I want to be 70 for, anyway? So, I can sit around, watchin’ TV in a quiet house because the kids all moved out, not have a job to go to, get IHOP for half price, say perverted things to my waitress without consequence…? Oh god, I have to start losing weight!
If you can’t find time to make it to the gym, how do you find creative ways to get a little cardio every day?
When you’re my size, pretty much everything you do gets your heart pumpin’. Tie a shoe? Cardio. Open an envelope? Cardio. This morning I worked up a good sweat peelin’ a clementine.
How often should a typical, seemingly healthy guy under 50 go to the doctor?
Lois is always telling me guys my age need go to the doctor for a prostate exam. But I can, and do, self examine. My left testicle, my right testicle, and that third, much smaller, new-this-month, off-to-the-side testicle are perfectly fine.
Mediterranean diet or Paleo diet?
Both. More food that way.
If you could go back in time and give the younger you just one piece of health advice, what would it be?
Why am I wasting a time machine with something like that? I’m gonna punch Hitler in the face, kiss Cleopatra, and thank Lincoln for havin’ a birthday in February so I get a day off of work.
[This story originally appeared, in a slightly different form, in Best Life.]