“Family friendly” isn’t necessarily the first phrase that comes to mind where slapstick, stand-up comedy is concerned. But then, there’s Jim Breuer, who has always been considered a pioneer in the entertainment industry.
Breuer is widely credited with leading the “heavy-metal comedy” revolution—his routines play off of the rock world, and he does impersonations of iconic musicians. Breuer’s stand-up is a conglomeration of the amusing, the absurd and the appropriate, and he will be showcasing his talents at Bay Street Theatre on Monday, August 27, as a part of the Bay Street Theatre Comedy Club.
“The show will be mostly new material, and it will be family-friendly,” says Breuer of the Sag Harbor act, which will mark his fourth visit to the village theater. His stand-up employs themes that revolve around family life—Breuer is 43 years old, has three kids, elderly parents and a knack for finding the humor in everyday situations.
“In my stand-up routine, I talk about things everyone can relate to,” Breuer says.
Breuer is the comedic genius behind Goat Boy on Saturday Night Live and the character Brian in the 1998 cult-classic Half Baked, where he starred alongside Dave Chappelle. A veteran in the industry for 20-plus years, Breuer received his calling as a comedian in sixth grade while listening to Steve Martin’s hit album Let’s Get Small. HBO had just launched, and Breuer, a native of Valley Stream, recalls that it opened doors for comedians.
Breuer proceeded to rise through the ranks of stand-up, becoming a regular on the New York circuit in the early ’90s. He landed a gig on Home Improvement alongside Tim Allen before receiving his big break as a Saturday Night Live cast member in 1995.
“I never had an ambition to be on Saturday Night Live,” Breuer ironically reveals. On the show, he became a household name for his original character Goat Boy and his spot-on impersonations of Joe Pesci.
“But, it was great to work with the biggest actors of the time,” Breuer clarifies about his four years on SNL. “It was a great run.”
Breuer primarily considers himself a stand-up comedian—he was recently named one of Comedy Central’s 100 Greatest Stand-Ups of All Time—but he is also well known for his big-screen work. In addition to Half Baked, Breuer starred in Dick, Once in the Life, Beer League and The Zookeeper. (The latter movie costarred fellow Long Island funny man Kevin James of “The King of Queens” fame.)
Breuer has also delved into the satellite radio world, as he hosts the popular weekly “Fridays with Breuer,” which has featured guests such as East Hampton favorite Jerry Seinfeld. In 2010, Breuer released the book I’m Not High: (But I’ve Got a Lot of Crazy Stories about Life as a Goat Boy, a Dad, and a Spiritual Warrior), which hilariously highlights his adventures in the industry. The title pays homage to the oft-noted detail that Breuer’s eyes make him look like a pathological pot smoker.
But, Breuer says that he is far from done completing his career goals. “I want to write, direct, do my all-family-friendly routine,” he says. “I’m always looking to inspire peoples’ lives.”
In that vein, Breuer personally felt inspired by the documentary he made about traveling on his 2008 tour with his 85-year-old father. More Than Me was shown at the 2009 Montreal Film Festival.
Now, Breuer will also begin to focus more on his heavy metal comedy, which he recently showcased at Metallica’s Orion Festival.
Echoing his aspirations to appeal to a wide range of audiences, he adds that he doesn’t curse or do cringe humor as a part of his act.
“When I was a kid, there were two things I loved—heavy metal and comedy,” says Breuer of the genre that he has helped bring to the forefront of the stand-up world. “I always wanted to mix the two and not make it corny.”
Jim Breuer at Bay Street Aug. 27, 8 p.m. 1 Bay Street, Sag Harbor, 631-725-9500, baystreet.org. $60 members, $67 nonmembers.