Does a stand-up comedy performance count as a “concert”? Well, I say so, and what I say goes (on these pages, at least).
Opener: Joe Sib
Jim’s good friend and long-time opener/sidekick got some laughs here and there during his twenty minutes warming up the crowd. This New Jersey native discussed his Italian upbringing (and the fact that his female family members tend to start to look like men as they age, leading him to think his grandma was his other grandpa); McDonalds transforming from a treat during his youth into today something he uses as a threat to his children; and the joys/miseries of getting older. He mentioned coming back to headline at Liquid this summer or fall. When he thanked Jim for letting him open, and introduced the man of the evening, his affection for Mr. Breuer was obvious – these two are pretty tight.
Headliner: Jim Breuer
No, that is not a picture of him from this performance, that’d be rude during a stand-up show, folks – have you no etiquette?
Most people don’t know Jim Breuer by name. In fact, most people don’t know him at all, which is a shame. If you do know him, its probably from his days on SNL (remember the “Goatboy”?) or his starring role in Half Baked, a truly fantastic slapstick-comedy stoner movie (“Butternuts”…“Buttered stuff”… “Buttercup!”). As I listened to the couple albums he has available on Spotify while considering their inclusion on this post, it was amazing how much better he was on this night than on those albums. Yes, he has an uncanny ability to imitate not only voices but also a wide array of noises, but his true talent is his way of completely sucking you in to whatever story he is telling – and he had a few good ones.
He started by riffing on his absolute joy and beyond-belief surprise when his friend James Hetfield (Metallica, folks, cmon) asked him to open for them on their current Hardwired North American Tour. Side note: his Hetfield impression is spot-on, as was his joke about Kirk Hammett looking a bit like an old Asian lady. Several people in the crowd, including my buddy sitting next to me, had seen the Boise stop on that tour a mere few weeks before, and there was considerable hooting and hollering. Jim loves music, particularly metal, and a large part of his act is hilariously discussing the nuances of metal, and older folks trying to relive their younger days at metal shows.
When he spoke about raising children (a couple young girls, in fact), it became clear just how much Jim has evolved from his pure stoner and shock persona. He has been “colorful language free” on stage for nearly a decade, and while this was far, far, far from a PG-rated set, it was nice to not hear someone say fuck and shit eighty times to get a laugh. His story of crashing his own daughter’s house party (not to break it up, but to liven it up) was a highlight.
After going into gloriously humorous detail and taking a unique angle into discussing colonoscopies, he got real for a bit. He closed with a deep and heartfelt story that mourned loss and tried to explain that death on this Earth may not be the end- it was quite philosophical while still being engaging, entertaining, and pretty funny.
All in all this was a great night and I can attest that Jim Breuer live in 2019 is better than those old albums and far more dynamic than his old stoner and Goatboy schticks. Make no mistake, he still brings the obscene, and his gagging impression will cause you to nearly gag yourself, but that is the most I have laughed in a long time and I would see him again, no doubt.