A few of Jim Breuer’s most famous comedic roles over the past two-plus decades have included a half-baked stoner, an off-the-cuff Goat Boy and a foul-mouthed Joe Pesci. But on his latest standup tour, Breuer’s just a regular family guy.
JIM BREUER When: 8 p.m. Dec. 15 Where: Genesee Theatre, 203 N. Genesee St., Waukegan Tickets: $23-$43 Info: ticketmaster.com
“I just turned 50, so I have a lot of hard views of how I see life where I am now compared to where I was in 20s and 30s,” says the comic, most known for his tenure on “Saturday Night Live” from 1995-98 and a series of highly-rated comedy specials that have led him to being named one of Comedy Central’s “100 Greatest Standups of All Time.” In addition to his current recurring role as priest Father Phillip on CBS’ “Kevin Can Wait” and his regular podcast series on iTunes, Breuer’s latest venture is the Family Warrior tour, which comes to Waukegan’s Genesee Theatre on December 15 and promises to have plenty of “dad jokes” about parenting, dealing with family members, caretaking and mortality.
“I think all my standup is pretty relatable. I have 12-, 15- and 18-year-old daughters now. My wife and I have been married for 25 years. And my attitude has always been — no matter who you are, the real warrior is at home with the battles that come with being a family person because it’s not easy,” says Breuer, who has used his wits to help his family deal with his wife’s cancer battle. and, in 2008, brought his then 85-year-old father and a camera crew on tour for footage for a well-received documentary. Of course, like any seasoned comic, he can’t escape commenting on current events, too.
“The first 10-15 minutes of each show has been very very new,” he says, hinting at the recent domino effect of the #MeToo movement that has become one of his recent topics of discussion. “I am so anti-Hollywood, I always have been my whole life. I can’t stand the scene out there, and I’m really glad about a lot of things that are being exposed that are long overdue.”
Even at the peak of his fame, Breuer never relocated to L.A. from his roots on the East Coast, raised in Valley Stream, New York and eventually settling in New Jersey. Breuer also just signed on for his first-ever residency at the Paramount Theatre in Huntington, New York. It’s familiar territory, in a community where Breuer first got his start in a variety of clubs. It’s funny though, Breuer says, because he never intended to be a comic; the diehard metal fan just assumed his stage time would be fronting a band.
“I was convinced I was going to be a huge rock star,” he says, snickering. “I started out in a rock club where I would emcee and sing with some of my friends and guest on certain songs by AC/DC or Judas Priest back in the ‘80s. I just could never pull the band together and then the comedy started taking off. But that piece of my life was left unwritten.” Breuer always tried to imbue it into his material — in 1999 he came out with his rock-comic special “Heavy Metal Comedy” and on “Saturday Night Live” he hosted “Heavy Metal News” on the “Weekend Update.”
Finally in 2016 Jim Breuer and the Loud and Rowdy released their first album, “Songs From the Garage” on Metal Blade Records, produced by Volbeat/ex-Anthrax guitarist Rob Caggiano and featuring AC/DC singer Brian Johnson. One of Breuer’s last times in Chicago was debuting his band at the Chicago Open Air Festival in 2016.
When he returns to the city this time, he has no plans for the obvious — stopping by the new “Saturday Night Live: The Experience” exhibit at the Museum of Broadcast Communications. “Not that I have anything against it, I just pretty much know what’s in there already,” he says. The immersive exhibit takes guests through the six-day process to get a show on air and includes a cannon of props and prosthetics including the legendary Goat Boy costuming.
“I loved it and hated it,” he says of his most famous character. “I hated putting on all that glue and the beard. I have sensitive skin and every time my face was red for two days. I also couldn’t be in many sketches because it took so long to put together.”
When asked about his thoughts on the show’s late ’90s era (also including Will Ferrell, Molly Shannon and Tim Meadows), often being revered as one of the greatest casts ever assembled on the series, he says, “I really think it was. It was a hardcore great ensemble cast and we all got along really well.”
Though he doesn’t stay up to date on the program nowadays (“I’m usually working on Saturday nights”), he adds, “I will always root for whatever cast is on there because I know what they are going through. I’m so glad I was part of that establishment. I’m really blessed.”
Selena Fragassi is a local freelance writer.