Comedian Jim Breuer returns to Fat Fish BlueWritten by Jeff McGinnis | | firstname.lastname@example.org
For Jim Breuer, Toledo is a very welcome stop on his latest stand-up comedy tour. In fact, he made sure to play in the Glass City again this time around.
“I remember it was some of my best shows,” Breuer said in an interview with Toledo Free Press Star. “I remember working on my [last] special, and that was one of the places that I absolutely destroyed. And now that I’m working on another special — which I’m pretty locked into my new hour, which is what I’m putting out there — I specifically wanted that Toledo run.”
Breuer returns to the scene of his “destruction” on Feb. 24 and 25, for shows at the Funny Bone at Fat Fish Blue in Perrysburg. He noted, with fondness in his voice, that he finds Toledo crowds very easy to relate to.
“I think they’re very blue-collar, very easy to affiliate with. I come up from a very blue collar family of teacher and officers, and real-life stuff. And they’re very grounded,” Breuer said.
“I never got caught up in that Hollywood world and all that, so those are the audiences that appeal best to me,” he said.
There is no doubt that Breuer has found his groove as a comic in recent years. After nearly two decades in entertainment — with stints on “Saturday Night Live” and the big screen under his belt — Breuer is riding a new crest of popularity as a stand-up following the success of his last Comedy Central special.
“I’m most confident on a stage than anywhere else I go, business-wise,” he said. “Because I know what I’m capable [of] on the stage. And I’m the director, writer, cast member, everything.
“It’s no different to the way a surfer would ride a wave. I know how to catch it, I know how to ride it, I know how long to ride it, I know when to get off and go to the next freaking beach.”
So what has changed to bring him this new level of confidence and expertise? For one thing, his material. The comic is focusing on presenting a “clean” act — a change inspired by his own experiences as a parent.
“I want my kids to be able to watch videos online without me cursing and saying ‘s’ and ‘f’ and ‘s’ and ‘f’ and ‘s,’” Breuer said. “I’m not saying that’s not funny, but I want my kids to be able to watch that.
“The kids in my neighborhood look up to me, and the families do, and I take that as a responsibility. I wanna be that father, I wanna be that husband, I wanna be that guy who sets an example. And then, everyone can watch.”
Breuer’s was most excited as he discussed his passion for stand-up, which he said he loved above all other forms he had worked in. “In the other worlds, I never had control of anything I’m doing. The only time I had control of something was when I was actually performing. When I was on ‘Saturday Night Live’ — there’s five, six hands in that writing piece. When I’m in a film, all I can do is act.”
Breuer also noted that his experiences have helped reshape who he is onstage.
“You grow in time, and in life,” Breuer said. “Twenty years ago, I didn’t have three children, or been married. Now I’ve been married for 18 years and have three girls, and elderly parents, one of whom lives with me. There’s a lot of source of comedy and entertainment there. I think my goals and ambitions are a little different with that in my house, than twenty years ago living on my own.”
His relationship with his aging father has also been key to much of the direction Breuer’s comedy has taken. His father even accompanied him on tour in 2008, which was documented in the film “More Than Me.” This ed to his dad becoming a more prominent character in his act — though Breuer made sure to get his permission first.
“I asked him, because there are some bits where I talk about him pooping himself. Those are embarrassing moments, but those moments write themselves. This is stuff that people just howl over. You’re laughing at the tragedy of it — that’s the classic comedy and tragedy. It’s hilarious and tragic at the same time.”
It’s that balance — laughing because it’s funny, and laughing so that you may not cry — that makes Breuer’s comedy so potent these days. That, and his newfound focus on being the best he can at what he loves most.
“I made a commitment two years ago, that this is what I’m gonna do. I mean, I always knew this is what it was forever. But now I’m content to go and — I’m fine with just being a comedian. If other things come along, great. But I’m fine.”