From SNL to “Half Baked,” comedian Jim Breuer coming to Vilar Center at Beaver Creek
Special to the Daily
Language factor: Breuer’s pleased to report that he hasn’t used the F-word in his comedy for over a decade
Jim Breuer’s mission is to free people through laughter, and that’s exactly what he’s been doing on his latest tour. As a New York-bred comic storyteller, he gives voice to that which has been stifled, and even controlled.
“I hit it hard in the first 10 minutes. I talk about mandates — what are we truly trusting as humans, who are we trusting and why — how many masks should we wear and for how long?” Breuer said. “And I hit cancel culture with a Louisville slugger.”
Breuer notices various outside influences “going after your thoughts, and that’s a very serious matter,” he said. “I try to look at every single angle.”
He doesn’t touch politics, though some people view his topics through a political lens.
“Some people are so programmed to categorize everything and put it in a big general drawer with everything else,” he said, explaining how he’s been called a right-winger for simply talking about masks. Rather than politicize issues, he prefers to bring them to light, in a conversational form.
But perhaps even more important than bringing repressed voices to light, Breuer generates the healing power of laughter.
“Laughter brings hope and prosperity. It heals vulnerability,” he said. “It’s always needed, especially right now. People look at all kinds of (methods to heal), but we all have the power — the positive energy of comedy is one of the most powerful elements in the human soul.”
And Breuer finds nothing more satisfying than promoting a hearty laugh, in both teens and adults. He does that by conveying his life experiences, from being raised in low-income housing in New York to raising three daughters with his wife, to dealing with his own mortality.
“I’m a deep-rooted family guy with hardcore blue collar roots,” he said. “My job as a comic is to talk about the many great loves of my life, recognizing that yes, we are all on borrowed time, but we can still enjoy life with a passion and not get caught up in all the madness.”
The three main challenges he deals with are family divisions, financial struggles and health issues.
“For me, there’s no better feeling in the world than making someone laugh and knowing that I’ve inspired or healed someone. I want people to say, ‘I brought my kid, and you hit every single layer of my life.’ I wanna leave where I hurt you — where I hurt you in the head, I hurt you in the stomach … where you say, ‘I needed that so badly. I’m glad I’m not the only one who thinks and feels that way. You helped me through something I didn’t think I could get through.’”
When Breuer began his standup career in 1989 — and even during his years on “Saturday Night Live” in the 1990s, he wasn’t as clear about his mission to free people through laughter. He said the first 10-15 years, he chased stardom in the form of movies and sold-out arenas. Granted, he’s been on the big screen plenty of times, from films like “Zookeeper,” “Dick,” “Titan A.E.” and “Beer League” to MTV’s “Beach House,” VH1’s “Web Junk 20,” CBS’s “Kevin Can Wait” and a plethora of popular late night shows. But when he committed to a larger vision, he made an even stronger impact.
“The minute I stopped chasing vanity and ego and stopped being a star, when I altered that to a whole new perspective of ‘I just want to make people laugh so hard that they feel so good …’ now, there’s nothing more satisfying that hearing people say how they needed that,” he said. “It’s nice when people tell me I’m funny, but the ones that keep me going are the ones who come up to me and say, ‘Can I just tell you, I just lost my mom, and you healed me. That’s the first time I’ve laughed in ages.’ Or ‘My wife and I were fighting; we just experienced death. We knew seeing you was going to help. Thank you. We needed this so much.’ We’re not here for very long, and we’re all stuck here together. Everybody needs to laugh and be uplifted. We’re here to take care of others. I’m on a mission to lift you in the only way I know how.”
Who: Comedian Jim Breuer performs
When: Sunday, March 28; performances at 6 and 9 p.m.
Where: Vilar Performing Arts Center, Beaver Creek
More information: Visit http://www.vilarpac.org. Next up at the Vilar Center is The Motet performing Friday and Saturday, April 2-3, at 5 and 8 p.m. both days.