Jim Breuer: Stoner Stand-Up

Comedian Jim Breuer, a Chester resident, answers our questions about being a marriage warrior, his heavy metal Christmas song and his upcoming show at the South Orange Performing Arts Center.

Comedian Jim Breuer, famous for roles in "Half Baked" and Saturday Night Live, will perform at the South Orange Performing Arts Center on November 8.
Courtesy of April Thibeault

The comedian Jim Breuer is not a stoner. Nor is he half goat. But he understands why audiences sometimes conflate him with both.

Breuer’s star turn in the cult pothead movie “Half-Baked,” released in 1998, is still one of his best-known roles. The other is Goat Boy, the half-goat, half-human hybrid who hosted a fake MTV show on “Saturday Night Live” starting in 1996.

Breuer has “evolved” since his Goat Boy, he says; toking up and braying for cameras no longer interest him. Since the Long Island native moved to Chester 14 years ago, his attentions have turned toward a normal family life with his wife, their three daughters (14, 11 and 8), and Breuer’s elderly father. The 46-year-old talked with us by phone from his home about his little-known musical aspirations, about waving the blue-collar flag in a white-collar town and about his upcoming standup show, November 8 at South Orange Performing Arts Center.

New Jersey Monthly: You’re home, but it’s quiet. Where’s the commotion?
Jim Breuer: Yes, all is quiet in the Breuer household. The kids are in school and my wife just woke up from a nap. She’d been running around since 6:30. We also have our great-niece here. We’re watching her. She’s 3. You forget what that age is like when you’re not around it.

NJM: What’s it like?
It’s like having a puppy in the house. Her tail’s wagging, she’s constantly yapping for attention.

NJM: What are you calling your current show?
It’s funny— I never name my tours. However, if I had to name this one I’d call it “The Family Warrior Tour.” I end the show talking about how you have to be married 20 years to become a warrior. Twenty years is what it takes to become a marriage warrior.

NJM: What kind of warrior skills do you pick up during those 20 years?
A lot of patience and battle training. Unfortunately the battle training is just living by example. No one really preps you for it. But the way I look at it is, we’re 20 years in, we have three kids, we’ve survived every battle. Now it’s time to give back to future marriage warriors.

NJM: Do you give marriage advice during the show?
Not really advice. Stories about life at home and things like that. But you know what my biggest advice is? Marriage is work. Get it out of your thick skull that marriage is, “Oh, we got married and now we just live forever wonderfully.” It’s work. It’s just like starting a business: You’re going to bicker with your business partner, but you don’t leave the business partner. You work it out. You pick and choose your battles, and you learn where the other person is not going to break and where you’re not going to break. And then the kids come and it’s a whole new set of battles and patience and learning how to deal with each other.

NJM: You could be a marriage counselor! But you’re more known for the stoner/Goat Boy stuff.
Yeah, but honestly I’ve been doing this sort of stuff forever. The thing that’s gotten me everywhere in my standup is talking about my family. I started doing it back in high school. I don’t think our society looks at marriage and family enough. I think we’ve gone off course.

NJM: Do you feel like a suburban Chester guy? Do you fit that profile?
When I moved out here it was a little bit of a weird adjustment. I’m very blue collar. My whole family is extremely blue collar—teachers and police officers probably make up half my family. My father was a garbage man. So we are blue collar, but I don’t make blue-collar money anymore.

NJM: Do your neighbors know about your budding music career? I heard through the NJ grapevine that you recently cut a Christmas song.
Nobody knows yet about this, but I’ve got a heavy metal Christmas song coming out. It rocks hard and I think it’s hilarious.

NJM: It’s kind of a spoof, then?
It’s just funny. I love the family world and I love hard rock, so what I want to bring to pop culture is heavy metal for families. It’s the Wiggles for adults that I’m going for.

NJM: What’s the song called?
It’s called “Santa Ain’t Comin’ to Town” and it’s basically every parent reprimanding their children: If you don’t straighten out he’s not coming. That’s pretty much the basis of the song. Families are going to love it. Then I’m doing an album starting in January or February that will basically be the same concept, where every parent listens and says, “Do you hear what he’s saying? This is what Mommy and Daddy say over and over!”

NJM: Do you play an instrument?
I’m lead vocal. But I do air guitar, air drums, air everything.

NJM: Where can we hear “Santa Ain’t Comin’ to Town?”
Check out my Facebook page. I’m kind of a Facebook geek. I feel like that’s my generation. I tried Instagram, but there’s just a lot of kids on there.

NJM: Is it true that you are friends with the guys in Metallica?
Yeah, I’m friends with them. The music is in that world—it’s Metallica, it’s Judas Priest, it’s Ozzy. But like I said I’m targeting families. I had this discussion with my manager. He said, “You know, I brought the music to Warner Bros., and they said it needs to be more in the vein of “Family Guy” or “The Simpsons.” And I thought, No, because I can’t have my kids watching “Family Guy.” I know people want dirty and filthy. I know filth sells. But I think everyone’s underestimating funny family stuff.

NJM: Maybe because there’s been a lot of not-great family-targeted entertainment in the past.
Yeah but it’s like with my show. It’s not cheesy but it’s clean. People leave going, “Wow, he didn’t say the F-bomb. He didn’t filth it up. I can’t believe he pulled that off.” When I go onstage I’m a destroyer. I want to wreck you. I don’t want anyone you’ve seen, ever, to be funnier than me.

NJM: What’s the format of the show?
In South Orange, because it’s a Jersey show, I’ll probably spend the first 20 minutes being off the cuff, talking about local stuff. Then I’ll go into material I’ve been putting out there on the tour, like how when you’re over 40 you don’t go to concerts anymore, you go to shows where they give you a pamphlet so you’ll know what’s going on. Then I open in it up with, “What do you want to see?”

NJM: What do most audiences want to see?
It’s all over the place. Sometimes people will shout, “Do the goat!” Or some people want to see things from DVDs I’ve done, like the mother with sleep deprivation.

NJM: And you can always get right back into those characters?
Yeah, I’m a destroyer. The best way to describe the show is Cosby with a Metallica jacket.

Tickets to Jim Breuer at SOPAC range from $30 to $45. Visit sopacnow.org.

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