Jim Breuer has been performing stand-up for over 20 years and was even named one of Comedy Central’s 100 Greatest Stand-Ups of All Time. Well-known for his classic SNL character Goatboy as well as his starring role as Brian in the hilarious ’90s film “Half Baked,” Breuer keeps busy but always brings it back to stand-up. This Saturday, he performs in Philly at the Fillmore and chats with us about keeping his comedy clean and the adventures of being a family man.
You were just here in September. How does it feel to be back?
I love playing Philly. I can’t wait! I had a Philly cheesesteak. When we’re there we stay near one of the squares. I don’t even know what it’s called …
Yeah! I like walking around there, checking out different places and hanging out downtown.
Any chance of us hearing some Goatboy at your show Oct. 1?
Ah, it all depends. It depends on the crowd. Usually I never do anything old for the first hour or so. I come out and talk about what I wanna talk about and I crush it. I have all the confidence in the world — I’m just going to destroy that place for the first hour. And then when I’m ready to wrap things up, I kinda open the door a little on what you wanna hear and whatever is most popular. It’s always so many different things they throw out there. Sometimes I’ll throw that out but I don’t touch too much on the past.
So you like to focus on new stuff when doing stand-up?
Always. I am just on my game with stand-up — I crush it. Not that it’s a selling point but I’m still shocked that people have no clue that I don’t curse on stage. I think that blows them away more than anything else when it’s over.
Is it a challenge to keep your comedy clean?
Oh god, yeah. It’s not as challenging anymore though. It really isn’t. When I first went in that direction in about 2008, it was a little challenging because I was so used to that habit. It was really just a habit. Once I realized you really don’t need it and it’s even funnier without it — just creating the illusion and putting in your head. Dancing on the fence, I found out they like it better that way. For me, I like multigenerations in the audience. I love that my followers are starting to discover that, “Hey I can bring my teenager, I can bring mom and dad, I can bring my wife. I can bring whoever. I’m not going to be squirming. I’m not going to be annoyed. I’m not going to be angry.” That means a lot to me.
What made you decide to clean up your act in 2008?
There was a woman who approached me in a tavern and she said, “I can never go see your show because you’re blue. You’re blue and you’re like the drug guy.” And I was so angry with her. I said, “What do you mean I’m blue?” And she said, “Everyone knows. You’re blue — you’re dirty.” “Where do you get that from?” And she couldn’t just — “Have you ever seen me?” “No that’s because I can’t see you.” I got so angry from the conversation but it really lightened me up and made me think if she thought that, who else thought that and what was my persona in the public eye?
And that’s when I went, “You know I have so much to offer” and before I was on TV or film, I was a rising young comic and talking mostly about families. So I went back to what my passion was and I said “For now on, this is what I’m going to do and I’m going to stick to it. I’m not going to try to appeal or appease to an audience and try to be something I’m not. This is who I am.”
What sorts of subject matter will you be touching on at the Fillmore?
Huge on a disgruntled father raising teenage girls. The dark, exhausting world of a parent — to try and get by in this world. Not only that, but also trying to be stable with your wife and trying not to kill each other while you’re going through this. Not only that, but also trying to keep your 90-year-old mother alive and in an establishment they are trying to kick her out of.
This is heavy stuff!
Yeah, I hit mortality. I hit dealing with the elderly. I hit being a parent of teenagers. I hit marriage and all the tough things that come with it. It’s not “oh, isn’t this great!” It’s the underlying onions that not a lot of people really talk about.
I think my big motto is don’t get pregnant, don’t get addicted. And then I go into every example. Also, how do you speak to your kids today? They know everything by the time they’re 8.
If You Go:
Saturday, Oct. 1
29 E. Allen St.