Jim Breuer at Turner Hall
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Despite his two most memorable credits being a listless pot head and a half-human, half-goat, mid-’90s Saturday Night Live alumnus Jim Breuer has enjoyed the sort of post-SNL career that would make the career of Chris Kattan look like the one of Horatio Sans. When the glassy-eyed impressionist isn’t in his SiriusXM radio booth, he’s an (evidently) devoted father and husband, a loyal son, and a talented touring comic—all of which were made apparent during the spirited set in front of a sparse-but-devoted Turner Hall crowd Thursday night.
Making his first trip to Wisconsin since the ’90s, Breuer didn’t let his unfamiliarity hold him back—railing on Appleton (“That’s the Mecca right there!”) and the state’s overwhelming whiteness in the opening moments of his near-90-minute performance. From there, the now-45-year-old father of three (a fact he frequently reminded the crowd of throughout the show) tethered his jokes to the familiar pillars of getting old, the hardships that come with raising three girls, and the challenges of married life. However, Breuer was able to evade most of the clichés (“When boys start coming to my house…” remarks notwithstanding) with an off-kilter perspective, a grab bag of spot-on impersonations, and an unabashed reliance on physical humor that found him on the floor as often as he was on the stool.
While comparing heavy metal fans to kids liking The Wiggles, the impressionist padded his points with hilarious renditions of a doddering Ozzy Osbourne (or, as Breuer called him, “a 1920s New York City street monkey,”) and both the duck walk and gravelly vocals of AC/DC. He chased that observation with a detailed story about making the mistake of taking his wife to a metal concert last year, which came complete with impersonations of Metallica frontman James Hetfield, as well as Lord Of The Rings-like creatures as Slayer fans.
The glut of Breuer’s act, though, resided in the broad and already-well-covered comedic strokes of fatherhood. While inside jokes about bringing his kids to Europe and an energetic-yet-expected “counting to five” bit detracted from his performance, he made up for it with a lively recreation of a parent’s frantic debriefing of a restaurant hostess, as well as a hilarious segment about his middle daughter being blessed with “The Breuer Look.” Almost every joke was tagged with Breuer’s patented stoner laugh—including a gag-heavy recounting of the time his dad shit himself in the car.
Before calling it a night, the veteran comic took some time to explain the origin of his Goat Boy character, the delayed VHS-era cult fame he’d experienced with theatrical flop Half Baked, and a few behind-the-curtain anecdotes from his time at SNL. They came with a sizable helping of bleats and pitch-perfect imitations of Norm MacDonald, Dave Chappelle, Tracy Morgan, and, of course, Joe Pesci that hearkened back to Breuer’s bygone heyday and left the abbreviated weeknight crowd satisfied.