On Friday night, Jim Breuer will throw out the first pitch at Citi Field.
The Mets mega-fan, who has been creating viral homemade iPhone video recaps since opening day and posting them to his Facebook profile, will take to the infield, marking the launch of not only the journey from pitcher’s mound to catcher’s mitt, but signifying the rocket-like trajectory of his acclaimed career. On the same day, May 29, his comedy special Jim Breuer: Comic Frenzy premieres on the cable/satellite television network and video-on-demand subscription service Epix.
This Valley Stream-raised comedian’s star has never shined brighter 20 years after his debut on the iconic Saturday Night Live stage and 17 years after his feature film co-starring Dave Chappelle Half Baked became a cult hit. #ComicFrenzy, a one-hour special taped this February on Long Island, is the first where he has maintained all creative control.
It’s also his best.
“I always wanted to film on Long Island,” he tells the Press in a phone interview from his home in Chester, N.J. “So this is the first time I did everything, like, ‘How much is this gonna cost? I’ll front the money. I’ll get who I want and I’m going to play where I want to play.’”
The special was filmed at The Paramount in Huntington on Valentine’s Day. After the huge success of two back-to-back performances there last winter, Breuer, 47, knew he was onto something special.
“When I played The Paramount last year, I literally came off the stage and went right to the management and said, ‘I wanna film my special here. Can I film it a year from now?’ And that’s pretty much what I did,” he explains.
The Press, being the Jim Breuer mega-fans we are, were privy to an advanced copy of Comic Frenzy. It’s a tight, well-paced show that runs fluidly through topics where Breuer shines: family, where he touches on the recent death of his father, a World War II veteran who Jim took care of right until the end (and the subject of the 2010 documentary More Than Me, about taking his then 84-year-old father on the road with him), impressions of not only his wife of 20 years and his teenage daughters, but such notables as Metallica’s James Hetfield and AC/DC’s Brian Johnson. And then he talks about guns.
“I didn’t get political, just where it came out of ‘Should I get a gun for the house?’” he explains. “And it goes in a very funny direction. I think that’s my favorite bit because people automatically go, “Oh, my God, where is he going with this? Is he a Democrat? Is he a liberal?’ And it doesn’t go in any direction you imagine.”
The bit takes a turn you could never imagine. It’s pure Breuer, as we’ve come to know and love him: sharp observational humor with exaggerated, side-splitting facial and vocal expressions, replete with enthusiasm and energy that hasn’t dwindled with age or experience. If anything, he’s just getting going.
The special kicks off a slew of exciting projects Breuer has been working on, including a rock album that was partially recorded in West Babylon. Due to be released early next year, the album will feature a lineup of some of Jim’s heroes-turned-friends-turned-collaborators, including AC/DC’s Brian Johnson, who laid down tracks just before our phone conversation. The rest of the lineup is top secret, but we can speculate that some of his bold-type big-name rock star friends will be making appearances.
Just don’t expect this roster to impress his teenage daughters, who remain age-appropriately nonplussed by any of their father’s famous friends.
“It’s almost like I’m hanging out with ’50s stars,” he says about rock legends Metallica. “And they don’t even see them as cool. Hetfield. They don’t see them like that. He’s Mr. Hetfield. They don’t even KNOW! They know, but they don’t know. ‘Is that Mr. Hetfield? Why is he at the White House singing? What is he doing? Who’s the old guy—Bruce Springsteen? Who’s that?’ Oh my God.”
And it’s not just the rock gods who hang by his pool or vacation with his family that fail to impress. He describes a conversation with his daughters when he came home from the Saturday Night Live 40-year anniversary special and after-party.
“I’m like, ‘I was talking to Leonardo DiCaprio and Bradley Cooper and Jack Nicholson and Guiliani and I was behind Taylor Swift…’ ‘YOU WERE BEHIND TAYLOR SWIFT?’ ‘Well, yeah, then I saw McCartney…’ ‘YOU WERE BEHIND TAYLOR SWIFT?’ That’s all they cared about. Taylor Swift and the fact that I said hello to Miley Cyrus. That’s it. The rest, nothing.”
Unlike his daughters, Long Islanders continue to be enthralled by one of our own, who returns that ample affection. You can see it in the shout-out on Comic Frenzy, when he talks about what makes Long Island the best place to perform.
“I wrote to the network, I said, ‘I know it’s not national, but you gotta leave the opening Long Island stuff in there,’” he said. “I want it to be authentic and the world to know where I come from.”
The audience reciprocated in kind.
“Walking out in that environment, that’s the best I ever felt on any special,” he confides. “I felt like I was at a gathering with a bunch of friends and some family, and the barbecue’s coming toward an end, and now we’re heading toward the backyard, where there’s just a couple of us left and now it’s time for me to start going.”
“Start going,” indeed.
Trust us. He hits it out of the park.
Jim Breuer’s Comic Frenzy airs Friday, May 29 at 10 p.m. ET/PT on Epix and will be available on the cable/satellite television network and subscription video-on-demand service. To learn more, subscribe, stream it on your iPad, iPhone, or really any other device—and consequently laugh your tuckus off—check out epixhd.com.