The Hippo


Aug 24, 2019








Jim Breuer. Courtesy photo.

Jim Breuer

When: Thursday, Oct. 27, 7:30 p.m.
Where: Palace Theatre, 80 Hanover St., Manchester
Tickets: $35.50-$60.50 at

Double life
Jim Breuer on standup and getting down

By Michael Witthaus

 In 2010, Jim Breuer made a special called Clearing the Air. In it, he tried to turn the page on some bits that made him famous, like SNL’s Goat Boy and the stoner in Half Baked, to comedy with more depth and dimension. It was a pitch to his future fans, Breuer explained recently. 

“From here on in, this is who Jim Breuer is, and this is how my standup is always going to be,” he said. “I’m a family guy, I’m a little edgy but don’t cuss still. I take care of elderly folks. I do the right thing even though it’s a real pain in the chops sometimes.”
It took some time, and Goat Boy still pops up briefly, but the comic is more successful — on his own terms. That’s on his mind as he tries a new guise as heavy metal front man. Songs from the Basement, the first album with his band The Loud & Rowdy, is a solid rock effort, not an extension of his standup. He did include a few jokey songs, though, to placate the faithful.
But make no mistake — Breuer’s not fooling around. 
“All right, I’m making a metal album [but] here’s your ‘Be a D***’ and ‘Sugar Rush’ — a little comedy,” he said. “But start getting used to songs like ‘Old School,’ ‘Who’s Better Than Us,’ ‘Wannabe’ and ‘The Unexplained,’ because that’s what’s coming in the next album.”
The record will be playing before Breuer’s upcoming appearance at Manchester’s Palace Theatre. His comedy remains an oasis from the noisy world outside. 
“I’m all about no politics, no religion, no conversations that divide and conquer. I’m here to unite and make you laugh,” he said. “I don’t read the news, I don’t follow pop culture. I talk about real life, what’s going on in your inner circle, whether it’s having teenagers, being a husband … subjects people relate to. I show you that onion and then I go right for your gut. I don’t try to be cute. I’m out to kill you on stage.”
He hopes fans will embrace Breuer the rocker, and a summer of performing has him optimistic. At a September festival near his hometown in New Jersey, Lizzie Hale joined him onstage for AC/DC’s “Shoot to Thrill” and got a great response to a rendition of the kids’ song “Bingo” in the style of his favorite bands. 
“We did Metallica, Alice in Chains, Volbeat and Slayer doing verses,” Breuer said. “It was hilarious, a huge crowd favorite.”
For Breuer, sharing the stage with big acts like Alice Cooper, Twisted Sister and The Used recalls his early days as a comedian. 
“The crowd doesn’t know who you are so you just gotta rely on being funny and entertaining and just bring it,” he said. “The good news is not only did they not walk away, but the audience I wanted is coming out of the woodwork. … It’s morphing into something I really want — mixing the standup world with storytelling and then leaping into a song.”
The hard work it took to make Songs from the Basement prepared him for the road ahead. Rob Caggiano of Anthrax and Volbeat produced the record. 
“I literally picked Caggiano out of a lineup,” Breuer said. “I saw a picture of him and went, ‘This guy’s gonna get me, he’s everyone I ever hung out with growing up.’ We went to a comedy show and he said, ‘Yeah, let’s do this.’ He only knows the rock music world and I only knew the comedy world. It was a perfect situation to give him 100 percent trust, and what he brought to the table — this thing would have been a disaster without him.”
Caggiano helped with his songwriting and also grounded Breuer’s music business naïveté. “I came in like a puppy dog saying the album’s gonna be great and we’re gonna sell out arenas, right?” Breuer said. “He said, ‘Yeah, no — you need investors, a couple 100K for radio. They don’t play it because they like it.’ Once I came to terms with what he meant I started working it. … I’m pretty confident that if I keep this up, I’ll be good.” 

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