I remember watching Saturday Night Live with my family and seeing Jim Breuer. We all loved his characters and thought he was so funny. Over the years I still followed Jim’s career whether he was doing stand-up or if he had a role in a film or TV show. Even during my time in radio I got to meet Jim during a charity event. He was just as funny in person as he was on TV, but he was so down to earth. Once I became a father I really enjoyed his stand-up material on being a dad. I thought that his jokes were spot on and true to life.
With over 20 years of stand-up comedy experience, Jim Breuer remains one of today’s top entertainers and continues to win over audiences with his off-the-wall humor and lovable personality. Named one of Comedy Central’s “100 Greatest Stand-Ups of All Time,” Breuer is one of the most recognizable comedians in the business, known for his charismatic stage antics, dead-on impressions, and family-friendly stand-up. In addition to keeping busy on his current comedy tour The Family Warrior, Breuer can be heard on his weekly podcast The Metal In Me.
Breuer currently resides in New Jersey where he enjoys spending time with his family, playing pick-up games of baseball, softball and wiffle ball and watching the NY Mets.
Art Eddy: I have been a fan of yours ever since your time on Saturday Night Live. I loved your characters you made up like Goat Boy. Reading up on you on your website I saw that you wanted to be a stand-up comedian ever since high school. What was it about being a stand-up comic that made you want to get into that business?
Jim Breuer: Eddie Murphy was huge. He was close to my age. I loved Richard Pryor. I would wait until my parents went to bed and would watch Richard Pryor on HBO at night and George Carlin. I just loved stand-up comedy. There was Sam Kinison. The first album that I has was Steve Martin’s, Let Get Small. I think I was only in sixth grade and I still know the album by heart.
I was just blown away that a guy can go up and just be funny. That is the show. I couldn’t wrap my head around that. It wasn’t a band. It wasn’t dancers. It was just a guy telling a story. Richard Pryor would just tell stories and make them into bits. That is what I did as a kid. I was a street corner kid. There was about eight or ten of us growing up. I was always holding court. I was king of the block. Once I saw Eddie Murphy then I really wanted to do it.
In high school I did this play. It really wasn’t a play. It was seniors versus juniors verses sophomores. We had to compete against one another. One night it was sketch night and the theme was the Bible. I did Eddie Murphy being Noah of Noah’s Ark. I completely brought the roof down. The next day it was like a movie. Every girl that I had a crush on said, ‘Oh my God Jim you are so funny. I can’t wait to watch that again.’ I walk away in slow motion. The football players were telling me that I was a pissah. They were inviting me to parties.
The next night before my bit they were chanting, ‘Noah, Noah, Noah, Breuer!’ When I came out the crowd was crazy. That moment I knew that I was never turning back. You can’t get a higher feeling. If I could put that in a pill oh my God I would be a gazillionaire.
AE: When did you feel like you made it in the world of stand-up?
JB: It is weird. I don’t feel like I have made it, made it. I really don’t. When I felt like I was on track was when I got a TV show before Saturday Night Live. It was called The Uptown Comedy Club. Tracy Morgan was on it. That was when I felt like I was on the track to making it. With SNL and Half Baked I thought I was going to make ten million a year in movies. I thought I would be wearing leather pants. I would have a kangaroo in the yard. I thought I would be shipping creatures in from Africa. I thought I would have a puma in there.
It didn’t happen. I didn’t want to move to L.A. and that probably hurt. I didn’t want to. I started a family. When my daughter was two years old I really thought it would be best to be home and close to her for other reasons. I took the father route.
The way I look at it is that your kids are only here for a certain amount of time. Most Hollywood, not all, but most Hollywood are delinquents. You look at People Magazine and the people who are glorified are on their third marriage or their fourth marriage. If that person is in your family isn’t that person the black sheep? Hollywood glorifies that. I don’t want any part of that. There is not enough money in the world. Ten years later the kids are heroin addicts. They will say that their fathers made a billion dollars, but he was never there. I don’t want that. I am not saying all are like that. This is me convincing myself that I made the right choice. (Both laugh.)
At the end of the day I am going to aggressively go back into that world in a couple of years when my youngest daughter is out of the house.
AE: Here at Life of Dad we write about our kids and our experiences as a father. My daughters inspire me with content for the site. What do your kids think about your job and the way you talk about fatherhood?
JB: They really don’t talk too much about it. I was on Howard Stern once and I was telling the story of rolling up on my daughter because I have her phone. You can track them. You know exactly where they are. I knew she was parked in a park. She was supposed to be home. It was a week night and I knew exactly who she was with. I went there with my car and surprised them to break anything up before things went down. It was a big scene.
I told the story on Howard. My daughter said that I needed to really think before I talked about her personal business. She said kids were coming up to her and asking if it was true that I was in the parking lot. Her boyfriend was really pissed. I was like really? He is pissed. He picked you up during the week and parked you in a parking lot that was closed. He knows that you shouldn’t see each other during the week. I told her to have him call me and we will discuss it.
Now I try to get as personal as I can without hurting their feelings. I learned to make it more broad strokes with everybody and they know what I am talking about. As far as my comedy stuff, they just like the perks. They don’t care about my stuff. (Both laugh.)
AE: From doing things with your favorite bands like Metallica to just recently being in the latest Train video for the song Drink Up is there one moment that has been the most unique or surreal for you?
JB: Yes, there are bunch of those. Some of them have been off stage and others have been on stage. That video led to George Lopez a month later he asks me if I have any kind of development deal. He told me that he was writing something and wants me to star in it. When I hung up I was like did that just happen?
Singing with Brian Johnson was one of those moments. He comes into the studio to sing a song with me. He recorded it like he was doing karaoke and I am thinking this is the craziest thing that I have ever did in my life. He is dancing and singing my song like it is one of his songs. When he left I was like what just happened? We just did a song with the lead singer of AC/DC like he was my neighbor.
Hosting Metallica’s anniversary shows in San Francisco. They asked me to do it. I was like sure. They wanted to give something back to their fans. They didn’t tell me that Ozzy (Osborne), (Rob) Halford and Alice in Chains and all the biggest bands that they ever played with were going to be there. When that was over I was like oh my gosh.
I was doing a sketch with Tom Hanks. It didn’t go, but just for him to go, ‘Jimmy, you crack me up with the loud stuff. We got to do a loud sketch together.’ When he left I was like what? Then there is the selfish part like well put me in something you know. (Both laugh.)
JB: I couldn’t wait. The anticipation was that I couldn’t get enough of it. It was so exciting. I loved the entire process of being with my wife. I couldn’t wait to be a father. The minute my daughter was born it just came natural. I loved taking over. I love sacrificing a lot of time, touring and work just so I could be with the children. I love doing that. I enjoy doing that. I always feel like I should give more. There are times where I feel guilty and feel like I should give more. Others might say that I am out of my mind.
There is a guy that I am bringing on tour with me. His wife wants a child. He is like, ‘Sure I just can’t wait to throw my money out the door. All my time will just go to a baby. That should be fun!’
I told him let me explain it this way. The minute you have a child and I don’t care what you have accomplished in your life, usually about four to six months into it you sit and go what the hell were we doing in life up until this moment? What a blur and what a waste.
We would be like, ‘Hey it’s Friday night. Let’s get high and wasted and watch a show.’ It is just so irrelevant. It is a blur, grey blob of just no importance whatsoever. It is like, ‘Just gonna watch reruns of Third Rock from the Sun. I just found this whole box set from the 90’s and we are really into that lately. It is really cool. We are just gonna drink and watch Friends and smoke pot. Life is great. It is going to be awesome.’
At the time it is awesome. Then you have a kid and you are like what a waste. What a waste of time up until this moment. It is the greatest club to be in. I would say that you are not a man until you are a father.
AE: I remember you helped out a charity I was working at during my days in radio in New Jersey. You helped a local junior firefighter who lost him home with a comedy show. You do countless other events to help raise money for charity. Your actions are a fantastic model to teach tour kids about giving back. What are some of the core values you look to instill into your kids as they grow up?
JB: School doesn’t prep you for tragedies, death and alcoholism. All that jazz. I am pretty intuned when we have had family members pass away. My youngest child stood in the room with me and my nephew and my wife all the way until my dad took his last breath. That was pretty intense for a ten year old kid. She wanted to be there.
We just went through it with my mom and a sister. Watching them and what they become from that you get a deeper sense of what life is truly about and how unpredictable it is. We really are just on borrowed time. The little things that you stress in life and what you should stress about and not stress about and how to party. My oldest one, she was curious about drinking and partying. I know she is going to do it no matter what. I am just going to have a glass of wine with dinner on Sunday. I don’t get wasted in front of them. I don’t really party in front of them. I can go toe to toe with anyone out there, but not in front of them.
I am still a responsible parent. I have to walk the walk. They are going to watch me when a bunch of drunks are over tearing the house apart and see how I react. They are going to watch me when someone is dying and what my emotions are and how I am going to handle it. Do I turn into a drunk or a depressant? My senses are pretty intense with everything that I do for my kids to see.
JB: As they enter fatherhood just be involved. Don’t be overinvolved, but be involved. My dad, he didn’t talk a lot. He is a World War II Vet. He is very shut with his emotions. When he saw me just go off a beaten path or headed in the wrong direction, he would step in. He would be like, ‘Hey. Here is what is going on and here is where you need to be. I can’t tell you enough that this is what you got to do.’
You can be a traveling dad, but you need to keep your senses on with what is going on with your kid. Take care of mom too. She gets her ass kicked. Rub her feet.
Life of Dad Quick Five
AE: Do you guys have a favorite family movie that you all love to watch together?
JB: The Breakfast Club. My kids are older. I got 12, 15 and 18. They are all Breakfast Club. Before that it was all the Shrek movies. Star Wars. We are big Star Wars people.
AE: Do you guys have a favorite song that you all like to sing to or dance to as a family?
JB: Not really.
AE: Describe the perfect family vacation.
JB: The perfect family vacation for us is really nice, exotic beaches. We are Turks and Caicos or Captiva Island, Florida people where it is laid back. You got the water and you rent a boat. The kids can walk to town and do their own thing. That is our perfect vacation.
AE: You are a die-hard Mets fan. I love that you do Facebook videos during the baseball season. I do have to ask you when you are watching which do you prefer to give the opposing team the horns or the whammy?
JB: Ooooh! Wow. My mom did both. I kind of give them both. A horny whammy. (Both laugh.)
AE: Favorite New York Met of all time is…..
JB: I think I have a soft spot for Mookie Wilson. We named our dog after him.