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- Michael Shannon on General Zod, the NSA, and the genius of David Letterman
- How Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg turned their fear of Jesus into an ensemble comedy
- Clive Owen talks about playing an MI5 agent in Shadow Dancer
- Nikolaj Coster-Waldau, a.k.a. Jaime Lannister, talks his big Game Of Thrones season
In Critical Beatdown, entertainers are subjected to a series of statements that criticize them and their life's work. Subjects are then given an opportunity to show off their poise while defending themselves and their creative output. The first artist to endure the Critical Beatdown is Peter Berg, star of the long-running TV show Chicago Hope and writer-director of the new film Very Bad Things, a dark comedy about the hijinks that ensue following the accidental death of a stripper following a debauched bachelor party. The second Critical Beatdown subject is Jim Breuer, a stand-up comedian, former Saturday Night Live cast member, and star of the stoner comedy Half Baked. Note: The opinions expressed in Critical Beatdown do not necessarily reflect those of The A.V. Club or its writers.
The Onion: Jim Breuer is the luckiest man on earth.
Jim Breuer: Uh, I'll take that.
O: You would agree with that statement?
O: If people go to see Jim Breuer in concert, all they're going to see is an hour and a half of that fucking Goat Boy character.
JB: Not even close. Before I even got Saturday Night Live, I was already known as the furthest thing from a goat boy. I had a stand-up routine, which I was all ready to do on HBO, before Saturday Night Live, so if my routine was dependent on being a goat, I would want to quit.
O: That Goat Boy thing is going to be an enormous albatross hanging over Jim Breuer for the rest of his career.
JB: Never happen. Absolutely not. Because, surprisingly enough, every place I go, I get a mixed crowd. And I'll do it in every crowd; you know, I go [makes braying goat noise], you know, and they go crazy. There are a lot of fans who were into Half Baked; people know me just from Comedy Central. I have a weird fan base, people from all over the place for some reason. A lot of people like the goat. A lot of people just like my stand-up, or they liked my MTV thing. I have fans all over the place. Even after doing MTV, I still have lots of fans for things like Taffy Man, and the girl I did, and that erases the goat completely. But I'm sure the goat fans will always be there.
O: So you don't have, like, drunken frat boys going up to you and doing that whole braying Goat Boy shtick?
JB: [Laughs.] Yeah, for sure. Without a doubt. See, that's the cool thing about Goat Boy; I don't have to do that for an hour and a half, because I can just imitate other people.
O: Yeah, that MTV show seemed to just consist of you making shit up off the top of your head for a half-hour at a time.
JB: That MTV thing was thrown together real quick. Basically, I had to come up with everything really quickly.
O: But it was just you making shit up off the top of your head?
JB: Yeah, a lot of it was. The storytelling was just making shit up. The characters were characters I was working on that SNL didn't allow me to do. I was like, "Screw it, I'll do it here." And my future movies will have these characters, too. It's like, [Adam] Sandler had tons of these characters, and SNL just kept denying them, and now he's doing them in movies. I'm sure I'm going to head in the same path very quickly.
O: Yeah, that actually ties into another statement here, and that is that Jim Breuer played dozens of different characters on Saturday Night Live, and they were all exactly the same.
JB: That's the craziest thing I have ever heard of. I had the Heavy Metal News, Goat Boy, and Joe Pesci, and I think they're the furthest thing from the same that you can get.
O: Well, it's a sort of common criticism for all people who do sketch comedy, that their range is sort of inherently limited.
JB: One thing: Even if that was said, I have full confidence that that is the most ridiculous thing I have ever heard. Any fan of mine would know that it is not true. How can you compare Goat Boy or Alanis Morissette to the Heavy Metal News or Joe Pesci? They're completely not even close to one another.
O: Jim Breuer had 15 different shows on television this summer, and the American public just got sick of him.
JB: I'm sure that somebody got sick of me, but they're still coming out to see me. The thing about that was that it was all different stuff: You had Saturday Night Live, you had the pot movie, and you had Premium Blend, where I'm just hosting. And then there's MTV, where it was all characters. So they were all different from one another.
O: But it did seem like you really did have 14 different shows this summer.
JB: Yeah, it's bizarre how that all happened. I filmed the Comedy Central thing around April, and it started airing in the middle of the summer. The MTV thing just sort of popped up. They said, "Will you be like a VJ for a half-hour this summer?" That turned into my own half-hour show. And then Half Baked came out on video in July. It was like, "Boom!" It just happened. But it definitely worked to my advantage.
O: Jim Breuer is a big hypocrite for making a film like Half Baked and then appearing as the MC at an anti-drug benefit. [Breuer will soon host a benefit for a drug-and-alcohol halfway house named for the late comedian Chris Farley.]
JB: Am I a hypocrite? It's interesting. No. Because if I was going to preach being a pothead, then I would say yes, but for the real reason I'm going, I would say absolutely not. It is kind of bizarre, though. Absolutely. In life in general, just as long as you don't abuse anything, you're all right. It's fine to taste things, but just don't abuse anything. Don't let anything control your life. You know, it doesn't even have to be drugs. You know, people have other things that control them, other humans. There are a lot of abusive things out there.
O: Jim Breuer is a big stoner.
JB: Of course not. That's just retarded. That's like saying that Adam Sandler is a retarded waterboy guy because of his last film. You can't judge people for what you see for two seconds. That's like saying, "Bill Clinton is a nice guy." He is? How do you know? You've had dinner with him? You don't know who he is. You don't know what he does.
O: Ted McGinley's legions of fans are going to flock to the upcoming film Dick solely to see Ted McGinley, and then they are going to become angry and frustrated when they find out that Jim Breuer is in the film.
JB: Hmm. This is weird, because these are all very, very weird, very, very evil questions. They are very evil. They are very, very negative. You know, today's journalists are very, very negative, and they don't know some of the things they should be printing. But they'll be happy to see that I'm not in the film for very long.