Comedian Jim Breuer is widely recognized for performing the Goat Boy and Joe Pesci characters on Saturday Night Live, and for participating in the ’90s stoner film Half Baked. His Podcast Masters podcast features “no politics” and “no news,” he wrote a book called I’m Not High (But I’ve Got a Lot of Crazy Stories About Life as a Goat Boy, a Dad, and a Spiritual Warrior), he’s had comedy specials on Comedy Central, he hosts Fridays With Jim Breuer on the “Raw Dog” Sirius satellite-radio channel, and he will be performing standup comedy Friday and Saturday, April 13-14, at Magooby’s Joke House, “Where Comedy Lives.” We spoke with Mr. Breuer via telephone on Good Friday.
CP : You’re gonna be at Magooby’s Joke House, “Where Comedy Lives,” April 13 and 14.
JB: Sounds extremely exciting.
CP : You’re listed as a “Special Event.”
JB: “Special Event” means you can’t bring in your “comp” tickets. “My office party has a free event.” Not for the Breu-man. We’re gonna make some money off ya that night. I’m coming in with a big overhead.
CP : That means you’re guaranteed a bigger piece of pie, or guaranteed the piece of pie that you deserve.
JB: Absolutely. I haven’t been to Baltimore in about 12 years, but I’ve done pretty well in the Northeast.
CP : Baltimore seems to be back on the map with comedy.
JB: Well, I’ll let you know in about two weeks.
CP : Things are getting better with comedy in Baltimore.
JB: [Away from phone, to child] I’m on the phone! [Back to phone] Sorry. I’m in one of three bathrooms, and they hunt me down, for some dumb question, I’m sure.
CP : Are you holed up in the bathroom right now?
JB: Yeah, it’s my office. It’s the only office when you have children. [Mr. Breuer has three children.] The toilet.
CP : You seem to be a very normal person.
JB: I’m by far the most normal comedian, probably, or one of the top normal ones, and if you consider the “Hollywood” type of guy, I’m the furthest thing. I stay as “real world” as possible. I’m not divorced, I’m not on drugs, I have three kids, and it’s almost bizarre, hearing someone in the entertainment world like that. I think most people are normal, and most things that are fabricated and put out there are purposefully dysfunctional, to try and shove down your throat. Most people are pretty normal. There’s only two things that unite all human beings, and that’s laughter and music. The last thing that people in power need are people connecting with each other through music and comedy, which is why censorship is getting bigger with comedians.
CP : Who’s that been lately?
JB: Oh my gosh, there’s been Tracy Morgan, Joe Coley, Kat Williams. Ridiculous. When comedians have to start apologizing for what they do, you can’t call this a democracy or free world. The same people who are arguing “we’re going into Socialism” are the same nutbags who are censoring it all. I’m not into all that anyway, I stay clear from all that rhetoric and nonsense anyway. My comedy is the modern-day Cosby, but instead of a sweater, I’m wearing a Metallica shirt.
CP : What kinda metal do you like?
JB: I like the early ’80s, non-hair early ’80s. Priest, Maiden, Ozzy, Metallica, old Van Halen, Dio, Scorpions, that’s the stuff I love.
CP : You’re not a Hollywood guy. Did you make a decision about a direction you were gonna go in?
JB: Of sorts. I’m not gonna change my lifestyle so I can live in a Hollywood manner. It’s the furthest thing from what I grew up with and what I cherish. I cherish family and values. Hollywood flourishes in dysfunction and cheating and relationships being broken up, and how much money you have. That’s the ultimate of evil.
CP : That’s great. Evil.
JB: It is. Pure evil. And it’s sales-pitched, you know. You get the greatest actors or whatever in the world, and they’re on their fourth marriage, or 12 kids. I’ve seen divorce in my family. I wouldn’t promote it.
CP : How does this work with you doing shows and being on the road—how does it work with your family?
JB: Sometimes I’ll bring them. I never really go out more than 10 days at a clip.
CP : So you’re in Jersey, so you come down and stay for a couple days.
JB: Yeah, I’ll probably come down Thursday night, do some press Friday.
CP : Go on the radio and stuff.
JB: Go on the radio and all that jazz.
CP : You’ll probably go on 98 Rock. They’re the ones who get all the comedians. Do you know that guy Mickey who has a show? He’s a local comedian.
CP : You’ll probably remember him. You’ve survived; you didn’t buy the ego part of this.
JB: No (laughs). Far from it. I think I’m on the second round, where the popularity’s kicking in again. My strength in the first place was standup comedy. I was growing as a comic until SNL and Half Baked. They came and they helped career-wise, but the minute I said, “You know what, my strength has always been standup,” since I’ve gone back to that, I’ve just been wreckin’ the place, and I’m about to do my second special, in July, and it’s gonna do really well.
CP : And where’s that gonna go?
JB: I dunno yet. Louis C.K. kinda—we had offers—but now Louis C.K. kinda made every comic sit back and go, “Whoa-whoah-whoah, we don’t need a distributor, go online.”
CP : Jim Gaffigan has sorta followed in his footsteps.
JB: Yes he did, and I guarantee you Jim makes about 3, 4 million. He’s got quadruple the audience of Louis C.K. It’s just the smart move. Why tie into a Comedy Central that will take your stuff and own it for three years? They may play it, they might not play it, and you gotta pay five dollars for a DVD before you can sell it. Now I can say, “You know what, I don’t care if I make a hundred grand or a million, it’s in my pocket, and you can’t touch it, and I can promote it the way I want to promote it.”
CP : So that’s what you’re gonna do.
JB: I don’t know 100 percent, but I’m 98 percent leaning that way.
CP : It would have to be some sort of an outstanding offer from somebody else.
JB: Knowing my offer, it’s no. Now that I know what I could potentially make on my own, unless you can meet this, I’m not doing it. I think what I will have, what Jim Gaffigan will have, Jim Gaffigan appeals to a lot of people. I’m also really clean, but I can appeal to children, adults, people my age and older, and live, I’m killing, killing, I’m addicted to killing. I think by the time my special comes out, an entire family can sit and watch it together, which hasn’t been done in a long time.
CP : [Rambling, disjointed question about performing in front of live metal audiences] . . . you’ll do whatever it takes to get people awake.
JB: I’m on the Metallica Orion Festival in June, I’ve performed in front of Metallica’s audience and destroyed the place. I was in Europe last year doing metal festivals, I’m going back this year. I do very well in front of those audiences.
CP : Do you have custom-tailored material for the metal crowd?
JB: I do. If I’m doing impressions, a regular audience is not gonna know [unintelligible aside to some one, probably another child, off-phone] a regular audience is not gonna know who Dio is, and Rob
Halford, and Ozzy, and Brian Johnson, all guys that I can do and perform as. I did that in Europe and they thought I was the next coming. This is the greatest—[off-phone again] gimme a second—[back on phone] that’s not gonna work in a regular place. “Who’s he doing? Who’s Dio? Who’s . . . Geoff Tate?”
CP : Whereas somebody like me would appreciate a Brian Johnson impersonation.