The Hippo


May 28, 2020








Jim Breuer. Courtesy photo.

Jim Breuer

When: Thursday, Jan. 22, 7:30 p.m.
Where: Palace Theatre, 80 Hanover St., Manchester
Tickets: $29.50 - $54.50 at

Ha-ha headbanger
Jim Breuer plays Palace Theatre

By Michael Witthaus

If there’s a franchise for heavy metal comedy, Jim Breuer owns it. He’s toured with Metallica, duetted with Rob Halford of Judas Priest, even done a headbanging version of the “Hokey Pokey” with AC/DC lead singer Brian Johnson. Watching the comic channel Ozzy, you’d think making his first all-music record was pure fun, right?

“I have never worked so hard in my life,” Breuer said of the family-friendly rock/metal album he plans to release later this year.
Though he’s done his act with a band behind him, using it like a beat poet with an upright bassist, the current project is a pure play. 
“Real lyrics and hooks, all that jazz — I’m not trying to sell comedy tickets on this one,” he said.
Breuer will stick to standup when he stops in Manchester on Jan. 22. The Long Island comedian shot to fame on Saturday Night Live in the mid-1990s, playing Goat Boy and Chris Kattan’s sidekick on Goth Talk. In 1998, he co-starred with Dave Chappelle in the cult comedy Half Baked, with a cast including Jon Stewart, Willie Nelson and Tommy Chong.
His spot-on SNL impression of Joe Pesci inspired the actor — and his pal Robert De Niro — to “confront” Breuer on the set. 
“That was just monstrous, a huge highlight,” Breuer said. “It was De Niro’s first time ever on live television and one of the biggest sketches after Madonna was on Wayne’s World.”
The best part of his three-year SNL tenure? 
“I loved meeting huge stars and rock bands, seeing what they were like … being in it and being a fan all at the same time,” said Breuer. “I am able to keep my fan and human side alive, so I feel like I’m the Forrest Gump of entertainers. I’ve seen and sat with all these different people. I may not be super famous, but I’ve got stories I can line up with anyone.”
He achieved a different kind of fame when he began taking his Alzheimer’s-afflicted father on tour with him — and filming the experience. The resulting documentary, 2010’s More Than Me, provided a poignant and loving look into the caretaking of aging parents and the anguish of inexorable mortality; Jim Breuer Sr. passed away last September.
It pleased Breuer when the film struck a chord with families in similar circumstances. He was particularly happy that it caused fans to see beyond the stoner metalhead he often portrayed. 
“One of the reasons I did it was other people would influence me,” he said. “They’d say I’m the guy from Half Baked and think I’m stoned all the time. Then they’d see I’m human, not what I do on stage — ‘He travels with his father, his kids and his mother.’ … That made me feel like if I could film this, maybe I could inspire a whole lot of people.”
Asked who inspired him, Breuer has two quick answers: Eddie Murphy, and Steve Martin’s first comedy record Let’s Get Small. 
“I can recite that whole freaking album still. That was the beginning, and I always had a pull towards it,” he said. “The thing that held me back was my mother [saying] ‘you need to get educated, you need a trade.’ I hated school with a passion. I wanted to be a comic, an actor. I wanted to go into the arts.”
Seeing Murphy interviewed on the Arsenio Hall show provided the spark he needed. 
“It was like he was talking to me,” Breuer said. “He said, ‘Don’t listen to your mother! If you want to go into comedy, do it 100 percent. That’s all you do. If you want to anything, you can’t go 20 percent here, 50 percent there. You go for it.’ Literally at that moment I went, good God, I’m going to the comedy club, and that’s that.” 
As seen in the January 22, 2015 issue of the Hippo.

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