To hear him talk about his work as a stand-up comic, Jim Breuer sounds more like a pro wrestler than one of the most successful comedians in the business. He’s crushing it, killing it, pouncing on it, hitting it hard. “I’ve been killing on this show. It’s very relatable to anyone with families. I pounce the first half hour, forty minutes venting on having teenage kids. I hit it hard,” he says. “I’m married with kids, been married twenty-three years with two teenage girls, three girls altogether. I’m taking care of an elderly mother so I smash that stuff hard. It’s bone crushing. I’m cheaper than therapy.”
Breuer brings his unique brand of comedic therapy to Jacksonville March 9 at the Ponte Vedra Concert Hall. As the lone man in an estrogen-heavy household, Breuer sounds like that funny dad trying to flex his manliness. He’s even releasing a concept rock album May 27 about a middle-aged heavy metal fan who is banished to listening to his music in the garage. It may or may not be semi-autobiographical but one of the songs is called Raising Teenage Girls. “That should explain everything,” he says.
Breuer has offered little clues into his parallel life as a heavy metal rock god. He sang with Rob Halford of Judas Priest and announced Metallica for several tour dates. He’s performed his comedy on a few Heavy Metal cruises and scored former Anthrax guitarist Rob Caggiano to play on and produce the record. The record release will be accompanied by a live, one-man show with Breuer on vocals and a heavy metal backing band. “That’s another thing I kind of get off on is being able to stay the course and still do the comedy I want to do and I’m surrounded by debauchery, complete pirates all over the place. It’s great,” he says. “I think it’s going to blow people out of the water. They have no clue that this monster is getting ready to come out of the water. I’m releasing the Kraken.”
Named one of Comedy Central’s 100 Greatest Stand-Ups of All Time, Breuer is one of the most recognizable comedians in the business. Like many stand-up comedians who have ventured into television and film, Breuer says the live interaction with the audience always lured him back to the stage. “The immediate reaction when people laugh so hard they can’t breathe, there is no better high. I get my reaction right there in the moment, right in front of me,” he says. “I can tell if they’re enjoying it or not enjoying it. You write a book and they want to know about sales this month. It’s instant gratification.”
He is best known for his onstage antics, dead-on impressions and family-friendly stand-up, even though he counts some of the most foul-mouthed comedians among his heroes. “Richard Pryor, George Carlin, Sam Kinison, Eddie Murphy. That’s my Mt. Rushmore. I wasn’t squeaky clean until I had kids and realized they could search me on the internet,” Breuer says. “It’s better when it’s just implied. All you have to do is insinuate and not really go there and people get it. A lot of times it’s so much funnier than putting it all out on the table.”
Breuer’s big break came in 1995 when he joined the cast of Saturday Night Live. He quickly became a fan-favorite for his original character Goat Boy and his dead-on impressions of actor Joe Pesci. Following his success on SNL, Breuer starred alongside Dave Chappelle in the cult favorite film Half Baked and has appeared in the films Zookeeper, Dick, Titan A.E. and Beer League. He has appeared on Late Night with Conan O’Brien, The Daily Show with Jon Stewart, The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson, Jimmy Kimmel Live, and Late Night with Jimmy Fallon.
“I’m ten times funnier than I ever was in my whole life. Like the SNL stuff, I know people like it but on a scale of one to 10, it’s probably on a two meter if you come see me now. I’m confident in saying that. People who only know me from SNL leave my show going, ‘I’ve never laughed that hard in my whole life’,” he says. “I don’t do anything from the past and you don’t leave going ‘damn I wish he did that’. It’s that much bigger, funnier and more powerful. It blows all the other stuff out of the water.”
Breuer’s acclaimed autobiography, 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), sheds light on his early struggles, his rise to fame and the many lessons he’s learned along in an extremely funny, yet personal and touching way.
When he was just starting out, he fought against an industry stereotype that comics needed a gimmick to make it in the business. “You just want to be funny and get known and someone asks you ‘what is your voice? What are you trying to say’? What do you mean ‘what’s my voice’? I’m just trying to be funny,” he says. “So I set little goals. At first, I wanted to be the best opener mic-er. Then I wanted the house MC job at the club. Then I wanted to go on the road and be the best middle and blow the headliner out of the water. Then I wanted to be a headliner and be known as a headliner. Then I wanted to do TV but when it started happening, it got a little confusing because you’re just getting pulled in every direction.”
Breuer’s latest one hour comedy special on EPIX, “Jim Breuer: Comic Frenzy” focuses on his life dealing caring for his elderly mother, parenting teenagers and what it takes to be a marriage warrior. His family is cool with his sharing their personal lives on stage and Breuer knows just how to get away with it. “There’s lines I know that can get too person but I just played Seattle and brought my 16-year old daughter. I destroyed that crowd and at least 20 minutes was clearly about her but I covered enough. She’s like, ‘are you talking about me?’ and I’m like, ‘no, it was about teenage girls in general’,” Breuer says. “If they want their new clothes, than yeah, I get to talk about you on stage.” Check out Breuer at the Ponte Vedra Concert Hall on March 9 at 8pm.
Event: Jim Breuer
Venue: Ponte Vedra Concert Hall
Date: Wednesday, March 9 at 8pm