From Palm Harbor to SNL: a chat with Jim Breuer 

The former Tampa Bay resident, SNL vet and "Cosby in a Metallica shirt" headlines the Straz on Fri., April 12.

Similar to most well-balanced adults Jim Breuer has grown up and away from his party-hard persona, like his role of higher-than-life Brian in the stoner classic Half Baked. He is now the father of three, all girls with one already a teenager, and is celebrating 20 years of marriage in August.

His domestic life is reflected in his current comedy tour which will be at the Straz Center, Fri., April 12. Domesticated or not, Breuer still keeps his metal edge while also filling his show with spot on impressions including his legendary one of Joe Pesci.

Though parents may want a night to themselves, if your children tag along you won’t have to earmuff them. I recently spoke with Breuer about his Tampa area connection and his path to Saturday Night Live. It was easy to see how his Pesci impression came so natural, Breuer’s heavy Jersey accent came over loud and clear.

CL: People in Tampa swear you have a connection here but I couldn’t find it. Do you have one?

Breuer: Well, I lived in Palm Harbor…I started my stand-up comedy down there. That’s where it all started, down there in 1989.

I actually, um, I used to waitress in comedy clubs and it always seems the owners are pretty less than nice, to at least waitresses. Did you experience that in your early days?

No, I usually I had the opposite (problem), again, I think it all depends on how you do … I had nothing but great experiences to be honest with ya. I worked Coconuts Club, the Comedy Corner which was competing with Sidesplitters … back in the late '80s early '90s. I worked Sidesplitters but I started out in Clearwater, (a place) called Ron Bennington’s Comedy Scene at the end of the causeway.

Like Ron and Ron, those guys?

Right.

So did you, did you actually go to The Castle before “Goth Talk” came out?

The where what?

(The SNL skit) Goth Talk, that was pretty accurate. I was wondering if you had actually like been to The Castle.

Oh, that’s really funny … I didn’t know what they were talking about. I was just like the dumb older brother.

It was actually pretty accurate except for the basement part, Florida having basements.

That’s so funny I didn’t even realize it was done in Florida.

Yeah, it took place in Tampa.

Oh, I didn’t know that — that’s funny.

Do you prefer playing in the bigger venues, like the Straz Center, that you’re going to be playing here?

Oh, god, yes. They’re paying to see you and they’re not drunk wasted vikings. And quite frankly I put up better shows because in the clubs I usually gotta do like four or five shows in a weekend and I’m conserving my energy and by the third show it’s not that I’m not into it but I start getting pretty exhausted.

You’re pretty family-based now. Does your family go on tour with you at all?

They did. They didn’t come with me on this one but ... they’ve been through it probably 40 percent of the time. The whole summer they come along.

How old are your children now?

One’ll soon be 14 ... 11 and 8. All girls.

How are the teenage years coming along?

Yeah. They’re starting.

Do you talk about the children in the standup and how do they feel about that?

Oh god yeah. … think of Cosby in a Metallica shirt … Cosby with a hard rock edge.

I don’t know if you knew but Tampa is the death metal capital of the world.

Oh, I know, that’s the one thing I like about going back to Tampa, it still has some of the best rock stations.

You’ve been married 20 years?

Yeah, it’ll be 20 in August.

That’s not your typical Hollywood marriage?

No, I’m far from Hollywood

Where do you live?

Jersey…I live in the east never went to the west coast. I mean I went there but I never moved out there and never wanted to be part of it.

How did you end up getting on Saturday Night Live?

I was a stand-up comedian and NBC asked me to audition because they were trying to develop me for a show…and they had a bunch of auditions and meetings and I was the last guy hired on the new cast …which was me, Will Ferrell and Molly Shannon, and Darrell Hammond.

Out of the current younger comedians are there any ones that are really standing out for you?

I think that Hannibal Buress is looking pretty (good), I like his delivery.

Also just a side note, we have the same birthday. I’m June 21st, as well.

Nice, now do you consider yourself a Cancer or a Gemini?

That’s what I was going to ask you! I consider myself a Gemini.

So do I.

Cool! Anything we can expect form the tour that you want to let us know?

I will promise people this: It’s family friendly, but it’s not to be not to be confused with soft … I come out to destroy.

You come out to destroy?

Always.

How do you get energy for that?

I love it. I live it. It’s part of me.

Get a sample of Breuer's comedy here:

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