Since his first performance in the Hamptons in 2007, comedian Jim Breuer has returned nearly every year and has become a fixture of the summer entertainment scene here.
His shows in Sag Harbor have consistently sold out, and now he is making his debut at a different East End venue: the Westhampton Beach Performing Arts Center.
Breuer is best known for his three seasons as a Saturday Night Live cast member and for his role in the cult classic stoner flick Half Baked, though in recent years he has kept a busy schedule as a touring stand-up comic, a satellite radio host and a father.
The Valley Stream native now lives in New Jersey with his wife and three daughters, ages 9, 12 and 15. His family, including his elderly parents, is the greatest inspiration for his jokes and stories. “It’s 80 percent family, and the rest is everything else that is going on with my life and my current observations,” he says of his act, noting, “I don’t hit politics.”
And now with a teenager in the house—soon to be two teenagers—there is a lot to draw from. “I’m dealing with a whole new set of problems,” he says. “I have to be more of a detective, I have to be a great interrogator… I have to learn to be a psychologist… It’s exhausting.”
The 46-year-old says he’s an ex-metal head who’s “staring at 50.” The way he puts it, he’s “a young [Bill] Cosby with a rock ‘n’ roll attitude.”
Breuer says the greatest thing about being a stand-up comedian is that he can step into any world. “You can be a writer, you can be a YouTube sensation, you can be looking at films, you can direct.”
Early on in his career, stand-up opened doors for Breuer. It got him development and television deals. “NBC was a huge fan of mine for a while in the early ’90s,” he says. Though other plans with NBC didn’t work out, the network encouraged him to join Saturday Night Live. He became a member of the cast in 1995, delivering his unforgettable Joe Pesci impersonation and the character Goat Boy.
“Saturday Night Live was never even on my radar, but when I got it, it was super exciting and one of the greatest things I ever did,” Breuer says. It was also a great challenge. “I think it’s the hardest place for a comedian. It’s a real struggle for a comic—it’s a tough puzzle to figure out.”
Between appearing in the film Half Baked and his naturally droopy eyelids, Breuer is often suspected of being on drugs. But he explains in his 2010 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 that it is just the way he looks all the time.
When people hear “spiritual warrior” in the title, they often take it to mean he is religious, but he says that, if anything, he is anti-religious. What he is getting at, he says, is that there are moving and heavy stories that readers can relate to, and some mind-blowing stories. “It’s just another part of me that has always existed.”
Breuer’s next move is podcasting. He is keeping the details under his hat, but says it will debut late this year.
He is planning a record for early 2015, a family-style hard rock and metal album that he is writing, singing and recording himself. Breuer used to do his stand-up act with a metal band backing him up, and he says this record is a way to bring that back. He plans to have Brian Johnson of AC/DC, James Hetfield of Metallica, Rob Halford of Judas Priest and other living legends of metal perform on the record.
Jim Breuer performs Friday, June 27, at 8 p.m. at Westhampton Beach Performing Arts Center, 76 Main Street, Westhampton Beach. Tickets are $60, $75 or $90. Call 631-288-1500 or visit whbpac.org.