This was originally posted Friday, April 28, 2017 by Rodney Hofirstname.lastname@example.org on his AJC Radio & TV Talk blog
Jim Breuer, besides being a former “SNL” cast member, podcaster and stand-up comic, is also a huge New York Mets fan. And that’s why he’s coming to Atlanta for a quick one-off show on Wednesday, May 3 at the Punchline. He’ll be at SunTrust Park the next day to see his Mets play the Atlanta Braves with a Braves fan Donnie Cleary.
Donnie who? Let’s explain.
A couple of years ago, Breuer began doing amusing, off-the-cuff recaps of games on Facebook. Take this past Sunday’s video, which he taped in pitch blackness on purpose after the Mets lost three games to the Washington Nationals. “We’re doing this recap from the dark so we can let the street cleaners clean up all of Queens because it just got swept,” he said. “You can lick the streets of Queens right now!” (It’s far funnier hearing him say it than read it.)
These recaps have built a following, including folks who are not Mets fans. An example: Hickory, N.C. resident and Braves fan Donnie Cleary. When Breuer was crowing at one time about the Mets winning a 10th game in a row, Cleary wrote, “It ain’t happenin’ brother.” Breuer then called him out.
“I thought that was cool,” Cleary said in an interview. “I was a good sport about it and I got to know him.”
“We started bantering as fans,” Breuer said.
Cleary met Breuer in person when Breuer performed at a Charlotte comedy club. “I loved Goat Boy and his Joe Pesci,” Cleary said, referencing Breuer’s two most notable characters on “SNL.” “He was great in ‘Half Baked.’ ” So last year, Cleary invited Breuer to come to the new SunTrust Park for a Mets/Braves game. They set the date of May 4.
Breuer basically told his booking agent to work in a couple of club dates around the game. This explains the mid-week appearance at the Punchline.
“I’m going to sit with Donnie,” Breuer said. ‘I’m going to call MLB to set me up with some sick tickets. I want to blow Donnie’s roof off!”
Breuer isn’t all that interested in Suntrust Park per se or its fancy new amenities. “I don’t care if they played in a sandlot,” he said. “I don’t need the hoopla. I’m there for the game. The Braves are a pain in the ass. That one-two punch of [Matt] Kemp and freaking [Freddie] Freeman. Freeman may be the hardest hitters in baseball right up there with [Giancarlo] Staunton.”
“Freddie Freeman is such an exciting ballplayer,” he added. “I’m so jealous and envious that the Braves have him. I love Freddie Freeman. I hate him. He’s my next Chipper Jones. He’s a killer!”
Breuer knows his place in the stand-up comedy world food chain. He’s not Dave Chappell or Louis C.K., who could post a note on social media and sell out the Tabernacle in minutes. So the Punchline, with about a200-seat capacity, worked for him.
“It was kind of last minute,” Breuer said. “It’s not like I can rent a theater and go. I’d need to hire a marketer. I don’t have that much swagger, at least not down there.”
Breuer and I touched up other non-baseball topics as well:
Not so high anymore but then again…
He stopped smoking marijuana ages ago because he wanted to be clear-headed while raising his three kids, now ages 12, 15 and 18. “I’m not going to lie to you,” he said. “I’m ready to come out of retirement. I have teenage girls. It reminds me of ‘Airplane.’ I picked a really really bad time to quit doing that!”
He said his daughters are at a stage in life where he needs to be a good example: “How can I explain that you need to wait until you’re done with school to do that if I’m high all the time?”
Plus, he admits he was once addicted to weed. “If you find yourself scheduling your day around a buzz, I don’t care if it’s Nyquil, you’re addicted,” he said.
Then again, he’s thrilled more states are legalizing it, both medically and recreationally. “I’m annoyed it didn’t happen earlier,” he said. “I’m waiting for it to be socially acceptable. You still have to hide it.”
Not so inspirational anymore
Breuer in my 2010 interview noted that Bill Cosby told him to clean up his act and he listened. “He said, ‘I want to make sure that your audience will always be inspired.’ It was a powerful thing he said. And I never forgot it,” Breuer said at the time.
But we all know what has happened to Cosby, the once admired comic is now disgraced by dozens of accusations of sexual abuse using drugs and manipulation. “I did not see that coming,” Breuer said in 2017. “Now you see him doing jokes back in the day about Spanish Fly. Oh dude, that’s crazy! I can’t believe you talked about that!”
It made him think that the message can often be more crucial than the messenger. “God does work in mysterious ways,” Breuer said. “A homeless guy can give you the best advice in the world. Even the most evil human in the world can move someone in a positive way. Cosby was helpful to me.”
Adam Carolla “feud” resolved
Also in 2010, I wrote a bit about how he and fellow comic Carolla were having a feud insulting each other’s talent and happened to be in Atlanta a day apart. So Breuer flew in early to talk to Carolla face to face.
“We settled it in Atlanta,” Breuer said. “It’s sort of like if another journalist called you the worst journalist. If I say it, it’s okay but if it’s another journalist, it feels more personal. If you’re in our industry and you put something out publicly, I will hunt you down and meet you face to face. I won’t have a Twitter war.”
Speaking of journalists insulting you…
Then again, a Rolling Stone writer Rob Sheffield in 2015 ranked 145 “Saturday Night Live” cast members and angered Breuer, who was ranked 143, ahead of only the Muppets and Robert Downey Jr.
While Breuer might have been annoyed being ranked so low, he was genuinely angry by Sheffield’s dismissive, snarky sentence about him: “Like Jay Mohr, except more of a ‘This a**hole again? No, that one’ type.”
Sheffield, Breuer said, “is a complete moron and shouldn’t be a journalist. It had nothing to do with talent. If he simply thought Goat Boy was weird and creepy, fine. But to call me an a**hole? I was shocked ‘Rolling Stone’ allowed that. I lost a lot of respect for that magazine.” (This was similar to what he said in 2015 to Howard Stern.)
Fan boy gets to do the coolest thing ever
Recently, for Comedy Central’s “Comedy Jam,” where comics get to sing with their musical heroes, Breuer got to duet with Judas Priest lead singer Rob Halford on “You’ve Got Another Thing Coming.”
“It brought me back to being a 17 year old kid,” Breuer said. “It was the most awesome thing I’ve ever done. For me, singing that song that changed my life and was my national anthem as a teenager to conquer the world, to sing with him, was the greatest thing!”
Life naturally leads to death
Breuer’s sister and father both died in 2014. “Death is part of life,” he said. “Life is beautiful and harsh all in one harmony. Sometimes you watch the beauty of a baby being born, a gazelle. Then you see a pride of lions chomping on that newborn baby. Lest we forget, we’re on borrowed time. When you have death or mortality around you, it puts you back in check. It makes you get off the gerbil wheel. Is this all necessary? I’m good. Of course, I miss them and all that. With life, you can’t stand still. You have to keep moving. I have kids to raise. I have a wife to be a husband to. I still have a mother. Life carries on.”