Heavy-lidded, charismatic stand-up comic and actor Jim Breuer, 41, may be best known among fans for his four-year stint on NBC’s Saturday Night Live in the late ’90s (his original character “Goat Boy” and his impression of actor Joe Pesci were gems), but he’s determined to re-establish himself as one of the most outrageous comedians in the country.[image-1]
[image-2]A native of Long Island, N.Y., Breuer worked in comedy clubs around the country for several years before deciding to become a regular on the New York comedy club circuit. In 1995, Jim joined Saturday Night Live. In 1998, he starred in the movie Half Baked alongside comedian Dave Chappelle. In front of a live audience in N.Y. in 2001, he filmed his first-ever Comedy Central special, Jim Breuer: Hardcore. The special featured Jim backed with live rock band doing impressions of AC/DC’s Brian Johnson doing “The Hokey Pokey” and Metallica singing “If You’re Happy and You Know It,” wild stories about his time on SNL and his chubby childhood, and the legend of neighborhood dog Duke.
Breuer recently hosted of the third season of the VH1 show Web Junk 20. He is the host of his own daily radio show “Breuer Unleashed” on Sirius Satellite Radio where he has interviewed musicians, comedy greats, and a variety of celebrities. He currently resides in New Jersey.
[image-3]This Tuesday evening, Jan. 22, Breuer will perform at 8 p.m. at the Music Farm (32 Ann St., (843) 853-3276) as part of his nationwide “Breuniversity Tour” — a comedy show that will “prepare students for real life with lessons they won’t learn in the classroom.” Tickets are $20. City Paper spoke with the comic from his home this week:
CITY PAPER: Tell us how you connected with the College of Charleston for this show at the Music Farm.
JIM BREUER: Basically I said this year that I would play at colleges and universities and it wouldn’t cost them a dime. Usually, when a comic goes on tour, the schools pay a snot-full of their budget to book them. This year, I decided to have them supply me a stage and a microphone, and I’d just perform for the door money … and keep the ticket price really low for the students.
CITY PAPER On the Hardcore special, you had a three-piece rock band behind you, ready to punctuate the bits and play songs with you singing lead. This time…
JIM BREUER: It’s strictly stand-up. This is more gritty, raw, and in-your-face. When I say raw, I don’t mean filthy-raw; I just mean direct and really stripped-down. When I first started going out, I was addicted and dedicated to annihilating a room — and I thrived on that, I did that for many years, then Saturday Night Live, and then I slowed down after that. You know how a rock band is phenomenal until they’re signed, then they’re splashed all over and they know they can take a back seat. I found myself going on stage expecting the first 10 minutes. I’d just go [imitates his loud Goat Boy “Baaaaahhh!”] and I knew I could relax for 10 minutes. I lost my heart for stand-up. That’s one of the reasons I brought the band on the Hardcore tour. That’s why I’m doing this now. I used to beat the living snot out of places. If I left the room without a standing ovation, I’d go back out until I got it. That’s what this tour’s all about.
CITY PAPER: So it’s a personal comeback tour in a way?
JIM BREUER: I signed and got exposure and it was great. But I was doing it for the popularity. I was popular and making good money, but at the end of the day, I was just bored. Right now, I feel like a tiger who’s finally being let out of the zoo.
CITY PAPER: Will you still work from the personal material of Hardcore and other performances — like the stories of being too chunky to fit in the store-bought Batman costume in kindergarten?
JIM BREUER: Absolutely. All my material is based on anything you can relate to, whether it’s a relationship, kids, having elderly parents, dealing with the most major peer pressures in life … everything they’re never going to show you in school.
CITY PAPER: How will the new generation who may not be so familiar with your SNL work react to your current set?
JIM BREUER: They know Half-Baked and some of the SNL characters. But this is way more exciting. It is a challenge, because the younger audience don’t me as the goat guy, or the Pesci guy, or the Comedy Central guy, or whatever. I don’t just get the ticket. I don’t necessarily At the end of the show, I want them to go, “Holy shit; that was the most monstrous stand-up show I’ve ever seen.”
CITY PAPER: Have you stayed in touch or reconnected with the SNL scene?
JIM BREUER: Zero. None. I’m all about creating my own stuff. And I’m all about my website, too. The web world is a level playing field. I learned a lot from Dane Cook — a guy Hollywood wouldn’t give two seconds to. He go into he whole Myspace world and got himself a million fans. I learned that the web world was where I could do my own stuff. I have four channels and several episodes of my own stories done up in cartoons. It’s independent and totally the way I want it. I had some of this stuff for six years. At one point, Fox Network even offered me six figures to run it, but they wanted to change everything and own everything, and I backed away from it. Then MTV wanted it, but they said, and I quote, “It needs more sex and cursing in it.” What? It’s perfect with out it. People thought I was crazy for backing away from all that, but it’s my own stuff my own way. I get off on walking into the devil’s den and then walking out with all praise.[image-4]
*** Breuer was pretty damn animated, energetic, and very funny — the place was packed and the gig went quite well — here’s a pic of Breuer and his nephew Billy after the show by the tour bus on Ann Street: