More than half baked: Interview with comedian Jim Breuer, at the Tampa Improv April 23

If you could make anybody in Metallica president, who would it be?

Now that’s funny, because I don’t know if you looked at my YouTube, but I interviewed them, and I asked that same exact question to the band, I said, “Who would be the, uh …” and this is what they answered: they said James – they all said James – would be the head of defense. They said Lars (Ulrich) would be the head of foreign affairs. They said Rob (Trujillo) would be vice president, and Kirk (Hammett) would be president because he’s the best looking, and you’ve got to have a good-looking president.

There were some limitations to the Goat Boy persona. If you could go back in time, would you have been some other kind of animal?

I would have been The Donkey.

Why The Donkey?

That’s what I used to do all the time. I mean, that’s the funniest animal noise I ever heard in my life. With the big, long, dopey ears, they’re just [makes a donkey noise]. You know, Goat Boy was just a … guy with Tourette that makes a goat noise. If I started over, I would have made it a guy with Tourette, but with a donkey noise.

You’ve been trying to clean up your act recently because you’re a father, and you’re married, and you’re venturing into a different kind of comedy. If you weren’t married and you didn’t have kids, what would you be doing with your career right now?

I probably wouldn’t be alive. If I didn’t have a family, I’d probably be like every other MTV moron wearing leather pants, walking down the street like a kangaroo thinking, “I am my own world.”

Do you see other comedians your age doing that?

I see comedians that do it; I see business people that do it; I see politicians that do it. It’s around us everywhere. That’s what’s shoved down your throat since you’re in school.

Leather pants were your measure of success at one point, weren’t they?

[Big laugh] That’s right, but they were red.

That’s hot. You grew up on Long Island. Are you living in New York now?

No, we live in New Jersey. We were around — lived in Manhattan while I was doing Saturday Night Live, but now we live in New Jersey, out in the middle of nowhere New Jersey. Not the snapperhead Jersey Shore show Jersey; this is out-in-the-woods, looks-like-we-live-in-Iowa New Jersey. I left our house and there was deer pooping all over the place on my front yard. That kind of New Jersey.

That’s touching. Do you find that inspiration is harder or easier to come by living out in the sticks?

I don’t think it makes much of a difference. Just being around people is always inspiring. I’ll always find some comedy. People are entertaining. We’re very close to apes — the only difference is we throw our poop less.

You’ve spent a lot of time around other comedians throughout your career. Do you have your comedian friends come out and visit you in New Jersey, or do you have to go see them now?

No, I don’t have a lot of – not that I don’t have a lot of stand-up comedy friends, but it’s more acquaintances. The only real stand-up comedy friend was, like, Pete Correale. Outside of him, it’s really just acquaintances. To me, a friend is a guy that will come over to your house, or that I’ll call at three in the morning… [long pause]


… if I’m in a jam. I don’t know too many comedians that I can rely on for that.

What should people expect from your show coming up, April 23 at the Improv?

It’s a little bit of old stuff to begin. I touch on SNL, I touch on Half Baked. Then, I go full-blown into my world as a dad, my world as having elderly parents that rely on me. Still in love with metal. Still … a rocker guy, living in this world. It’s sort of like — I can sum it up very easily — this is a modern day Cosby act, but with a Metallica shirt on. It’s a mini-van, but the windows are still tinted.

I have one final question – a friend of mine asked you to marry her a few years ago on Myspace and you never responded. Is there anything you want to say to her now?

I’m never, ever, ever on Mysapce. I’m always on Facebook fan page. When you see all those responses on Facebook fan page, that’s me. At first, I had a team putting together Myspace and Facebook, and soon enough I had 5,000 friends on Facebook and I was like, “You know what? I want to do this myself,” because I did get frustrated with people going, “You know, I asked you and you didn’t respond.” So I can’t respond to all of them, so now I only, only, only talk on the Facebook fan page. I update it constantly, I put videos on it, I respond to comments. Especially when I’m on the road, I’m always on the Facebook fan page and will always talk. That’s where I give away my tickets, that’s where I talk to people, that is the only place where I personally communicate.

Jim Breuer’s career is more than half baked. Best known as “Goat Boy” on Saturday Night Live and his starring role in the 1998 cult-stoner Half Baked, comedian Jim Breuer is proud to say that he’s (legally) grown his career beyond the realm of farm animals and inebriates.

Two years ago, Breuer decided to leave his Carlin influences behind in favor a more Cosby-esque approach, writing comedy that appealed to a family audience – in other words, the audience Half Baked fans became.

Breuer’s current stand-up tour, "Cheaper Than Therapy," at the Tampa Improv April 23, centers around his real-life experiences — those of being a father to three little girls (“That’s a kid’s job once they start walking — just looking for death”) and husband to a slightly larger one. Now living in “Bumfuck, New Jersey,” Breuer says inspiration also comes from the deer that poop all over his yard and his experience of caring for two elderly parents.

But despite the mind-altering habits of his past, not all is lost from Jim’s former self. He still rocks out, still talks to Metallica, and still tints the windows of his minivan.

CL: If James Hetfield (of Metallica) was a dog, what kind of dog would he be and why?

Jim Breuer: Oh, he’d be a … probably a black German Shepard, because it’s something that looks like it’s loyal, faithful, honorable, but yet can chew you to pieces at any moment if you cross him or any one of his family, or anyone that’s around him.

Do you have that reverential fear when you’re standing in front of him, like, “Oh God, if I say the wrong thing he’s going to rip me to shreds like a dog?”

Yeah, he definitely has that. When I first met him, my first impression was — yeah, exactly, there’s that black German Shepard. If I make the wrong move, I can get snapped at.

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