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Former Saturday Night Live star Jim Breuer ® with (from left) his wife, Dee, and daughters Dorianne, 10, Kelsey, 13, and Gabrielle, 16. (Photo: Jim Breuer)
Comic Jim Breuer rose to fame in the late ’90s, playing “Goat Boy” on Saturday Night Live and starring in the stoner comedy Half Baked. At 47, Breuer still brings a manic, goofy energy to his stage act, but his material has matured, touching on the challenges of fatherhood and caring for his aging parents. The funnyman, whose new hour-long special Comic Frenzy premieres May 29 on the premium channel Epix, sat down with Yahoo Parenting to share his thoughts on fatherhood.
You talk about the challenges of parenting in your act. Now that your daughters are entering their teenage years, how have those challenges changed?
Well, the focus is a little different. My big, main concern is pregnancy and addiction. Years ago, it was just have fun and don’t get hurt. Now it’s have fun, don’t get hurt, don’t get pregnant, and don’t get addicted to anything. Please.
What are your strategies for keeping them out of trouble?
I play good cop/bad cop. I’m the good cop, and my wife’s the bad cop, which works out really well. I’m all about the information gathering. Let’s say [my daughter] wants to go to a party. My wife will say, “No, you’re not going to a party, there’s drinking, there’s this, there’s that.” I’m going to go, “Wow, what’s the party all about?” I kind of set a trap. “Oh, cool, who’s going?” Then I can spy on everyone on their Facebook pages and start studying who they are and look into the parents, and I can keep an eye on the whole situation.
It’s like PI work. I’m constantly a private detective.
As a comic, I imagine you’re often home during the days. What does a typical day at home with your daughters look like?
It’s being a taxi. It’s being the town limo. I wake up at 6:30 so I can start getting the kids up by quarter to 7, so I can get all three of them all moving and into the car by quarter to 8 and drop them off at school. Usually one forgets something, so I have to go to the house and get whatever they forgot. Then they have activities. This one’s got chorus, this one has a baseball game, this one has a field hockey game, this one wants to go see a movie on Friday. It’s being a limo driver, a referee, a psychologist, a private investigator, all in one day, and trying to find 10 minutes to go, “Hey, did the Mets win last night?”
You used to have a bit about your kids waking you up at six in the morning to play hide-and-seek. As they get older, do you miss those days?
Oh, heck no. No, no, no, no. My youngest one has still got a lot of energy. She always wants to do things. She says, “Lets’ go for a bike ride, let’s go for a hike.” I’d rather just sit by the lake and do nothing.
You do a lot of voices and faces in your act. Was that a hit with your daughters when were little? And do they still think Dad is funny?
They do think it’s funny. My middle daughter is the spitting image of me. I hope she hits the stage one day, because she makes us laugh so hard. She’s so funny. She knows how to work facial expressions. She impersonates everybody. She does characters.
Breuer as “Goat Boy” (L) and Tom Hanks on an episode of Saturday Night Live. (Photo: Mary Ellen Matthews/NBCU Photo Bank)
Does she ever break out “Goat Boy”?
They have no clue what that stuff is. No clue.
You talk a lot about your parents in this special. Your father died last year, and your mother is suffering from dementia. How have you been able to find humor in those difficult situations?
My mom talking to me in a normal conversation, and then in the middle of the conversation, making a left turn and talking about how she has to walk the elephant, because she volunteered for the job – I mean, how is that not entertaining?
This is what humans are. This is what happens to us. No one prepares us for this gradual act of life. You’ve got to go with the flow, learn it, study it. You’re going to be that one day.
Fatherhood is a central theme in the acts of a lot of male comics working today, including Louis C.K. and Jim Gaffigan. Do you think that’s a reflection of the changing role of fathers – how they’re often expected to be more active and involved than the fathers of previous generations?
It wasn’t something that was really spoken about a whole lot. Eddie Murphy, by the time he was done being a comic, he was never talking about being a dad. George Carlin and Richard Pryor, they never really touched on that stuff much.
Yeah, roles have changed. We come from the generation where fathers weren’t so hands-on, but they were always there. It was a solid oak tree. It was just there, which is also comforting. But I think we’re more hands-on.
I imagine that provides more material?
Oh God, yeah. I’ve got material for a lifetime.