Comedian, actor, writer and soon-to-be rock star, Jim Breuer has released a new music video for the song “Santa, Clause Ain’t Coming to Town,” which you can watch below. The former Saturday Night Live star stopped by my photography studio in Hoboken, NJ recently to take some promotional photos in preparation for the release of a new Heavy Metal comedy album he’s planning to put out in the spring of 2014.
We talked about the new project, Christmas on Long Island, Bill Cosby, the difference between the lives of a rocker and a comic and more!
First off, congrats on the success of your latest Epix stand-up special And Laughter for All. How did you find out it had been the most downloaded original program on Netflix in October?
Thank you. Just when I started feeling like ‘eh, nobody’s watching this thing they called me up, ‘Hey Congratulations, you’re the most downloaded original thing we have [on Netflix]. Great company to work with.
“Santa Clause Ain’t Coming to Town” is an original take on the comic/hard rock genre. Who did you work with on that?
On the song I worked with a music producer named David Bendeth and (for the upcoming record) I’m going to ask all my friends: James Hetfield, Rob Halford, the guys from Avenged Sevenfold, Slipknot, I’m going to ask Jerry Cantrell, Brian Johnson. I’m going to ask everyone to be a part of this. Its comedy and metal, but the music can’t be cheesy. . . I’m all about, ‘the music has to kick ass!’
The video is really funny. I noticed you’re playing multiple rolls.
Yes, I’m playing the alter ego and the beaten down white collar guy… which is what the album is about. Its for the old metal heads who went into the corporate world or whatever world and you’re married with kids and you’ve got limited time, and now its time to break out.
How much of that is inspired by your own personal experiences?
All of it. Every ounce of it. My kids are the ones encouraging me to do this. They sing these songs all the time. I just have to record them and let everyone else listen to them. There are songs called “Heavy Metal Man,” “The Metal In Me,” there’s one called “I Love You But…” (laughs)
Are you aware of the Scott Ian and Brian Posehn metal record in the works and do you feel any competition with them?
No, it’d be really cool if we toured together though. I like Brian, he told me a while ago. His exact words were ‘Dude, I’m gonna do what you’re doing.’ I said that’s great and I told him some places he should play. I keep waiting for that record though, he told me a while ago.
That would be a great tour. Maybe you can get Jack Black on there too.
Yeah, that would be the ultimate headliner. Tenacious D! They’re awesome. I’ve never seen them live but they sell out arenas. They’re huge.
What have you got planned for 2014?
I’ve been offered Rock on the Range, Sonisphere, Wacken … It’s all unofficial.
What was Christmas like for you growing up on Long Island?
I used to love Christmas. We used to love getting in the car and driving around to see who decorated the most. My father was the Archie Bunker type. So if they had a lot of lights, they were Italians. Doing an imitation of his father: ‘Eh, Italians, they light the whole joint up. Electric Company loves the Italians, boy. Look at this guy with Rudolph and the Jesus, this guy’s ridiculous.’ Then we’d go down another street and there’d be nothing there (and he’d say) ‘Eh, must be a Jewish populated area, ain’t nothing lit up here.’
Metal has always played a part in your stand-up act. Do you see any parallels between the lifestyle of a comic and a musician?
There’s no parallels… its way more fun. 10,000 times more fun for a rocker than a comedian. Comedians live the lonely sole person lifestyle. Its gets depressing, you’re on your own. Your in the hotel by yourself, you’re at dinner by yourself, everything is by yourself. At least when your in a band if you’re not with a member you’re with a road manager, you’re with a bus driver, or you’re with someone, a sound guy… There’s always somebody you can hang out with. And when you’re on stage if you screw up there’s four other guys that are backing you up. You screw up on stage as a comic, its just you.
How did you end up living that lifestyle?
I started in a rock club in 1985. I started opening for my friends– introducing my friends who were all in bands. And then i started going to amateur nights and competitions and then we moved to Florida and I did the same thing. I just kept setting goals, I want to win best amateur, now I want to be the house MC, now I want to headline, Now I want to get a movie…Now I want to be a rock star, so that’s where I’m at now.
You’re act wasn’t always clean, right?
No. I was never filthy or dark but I cursed a lot, I was very juvenile. Once I had kids and all that and I had a conversation with Bill Cosby and with Jerry Seinfeld and they both were huge influences on my writing. They said write better. Instead of going ‘eh, what the F’ just find a better joke. I think I’m 10 times funnier than I ever was since I went all clean, absolutely. Its sort of the Brian Reagan method. He doesn’t go around going ‘I’m Clean,’ he just is and everyone caught on to it. You just have to be funny first.
Does Cosby really have problem with comics who aren’t clean?
I have no idea. All I can tell you is I respect the guy and I think he’s one of the all time greatest. I feel really blessed that he went out of his way to talk to me. That blew my mind.
I’ve heard you say that early on you wanted to be the white Eddie Murphy.
Yeah when I first started out, now I’m the Rock and Roll Cosby.
photos by Greg Pallante, gregpallante.com