Author Interview: Jim Breuer – I’m Not High (But I’ve Got a Lot of Crazy Stories…) – Penguin Books


by Rock ‘n Roll Ghost

Jim Breuer

Rock ‘n Roll Ghost: I really enjoyed reading your book.  What prompted you to write I’m Not High (But I’ve Got a Lot of Crazy Stories About Life as a Goat Boy, a Dad, and a Spiritual Warrior)?

Jim Breuer: I’ve always had these deep, cool, entertaining stories my whole life.  All my friends and family were like, ‘I wish so many more people could hear this stuff.’  I knew I had the entertainment stories, it was more of the stories (about my family) that I really wanted to put out there.  This has been on my mind for about five to seven years, really wanting to write it.  It’s the deeper stories that I really wanted to put out there to help other people or maybe someone else feels the same exact way.  I knew hanging out with Lars (Ulrich, Metallica member) or hanging out with Tracy (Morgan) that stuff’s a given people are going to love.  That stuff was all easy to put in there.  I was emotionally attached writing this thing from beginning to end.  When it was over I started handing it to my friends and handing it to people around town.  They were like, ‘Oh my god, you gotta get this published.’  And I didn’t see it as a book.  I was going to do it as an online thing or on my radio show.  People were like no, everyone should read this.  I finished it and handed it to my manager at a Christmas break.  At the end of Christmas vacation she was like, ‘You have a great freakin’ book!’.  I never realized I’d be doing signings.  I want people to read it and go this may be one of the coolest things I’ve ever read.

What I thought was interesting or surprised by was your deep connection to faith and God.  Do you think that people who only casually know you will be surprised?

Jim Breuer: I got more people e-mailing me going, ‘I’m really inspired and blown away and always felt the same way as you do.’  I know there’s a lot of people like that.  I’m tired of people going, ‘that’s weird.’  Well then explain it.  What is it?  Coincidence?  C’mon, I ain’t buying that nonsense.

What I appreciated about how you write about your faith is that it comes from a very real and humble place.  I like how you say you don’t need to go to some place specific to have a conversation with God.

Jim Breuer: No.  What happened before there were all of those temples and churches and all of that?  What did they do before that?

It’s almost more of a social thing.  It was a community thing and if you didn’t go then you were shamed for not participating.

Jim Breuer: Correct.  And then there’s a need to raise money.  That’s not what it’s about.  To me I get the product.  Treat everyone the same.  Don’t judge.  That judgment thing sums up everything, more than people know.  ‘God bless us and let’s kill them.’ What?

Using God’s name for war or a football game.

Jim Breuer: Using him for war or to sell products.  ‘It’s the God station.’  He’s God, not a product.

On the show Buddies from 1996 you were paired up with Dave Chappelle who you knew earlier from your stand up days, right?  The show didn’t last very long, I remember that.

Jim Breuer: Two good friends who know each other forever.  We’re in it to do it together.  We both walk away from two huge opportunities only to tear us apart.  Welcome to Hollywood.  ‘Oh don’t worry Jim, we just put you in Clerks and oh, by the way, we fired Kevin Smith.’  Alright.  ‘Oh listen, I know you got this other show but you can’t do it because you’re under contract with us.’  Oh, this is great.

Jim Breuer

In the book you talk about trusting your instincts, but in the passage about your first manager, “The Rat”, you go against those instincts.  Is that something you’ve leaned on more since then?

Jim Breuer: God yes.  I’m in that stage right now. Part of me really wants to do a hard rock/metal family show.  Part of me wants to go to everyday radio.  I really need to see where I want to go.  My main point is I just want to be home and around enough to be around for my kids in these teenage years coming up.  Whatever can bring me around that, that’s going to be the most important thing.

The TV show, is that something you’re developing?

Jim Breuer: I developed it awhile ago, but I haven’t shown it to anyone yet.  I’m getting closer and closer to wanting to reach out to maybe Sharon Osbourne to be executive producer or something like that.  I really lean towards the hard rock/metal world, but a family type of show that’ll be cool, funny and hilarious.  Not a cheese fest.

What are the pros and cons of going towards TV or radio?

Jim Breuer: The radio spooks me a little bit because they want me to come into the city.  I’m going to miss a lot of dinners doing radio every day.  That’s the most important time with the family.  TV, I’m definitely leaning in that arena.  I think I can control and put out really good stuff.  And the schedule would be easier to manage.

The radio would be every day for Sirius Satellite Radio. But it’s all about what channel do I really want to go on?  Do I want to go on Raw Dog?  Do I want to land on Howard (Stern‘s Sirius 101 channel)? Do I want to go on a new network they want me to be their launch guy, called Stars 2? I don’t know.  It’s just something I gotta figure out.

Obviously doing both would be too taxing of an idea?

Jim Breuer: I think so, it’s too much.  If I want to come up to the plate, I want to swing for the fences.

You have a tight connection to the Stern show – what are your thoughts on him returning there next year?

Jim Breuer: All I can say is that I hope he does.  I hope he doesn’t leave, I think it’ll leave a huge hole there.

David Duchovny and Jim Breuer in a "Goat Boy" skit from Saturday Night Live

Going to Saturday Night Live, the person that sunk you there (then Head Writer Adam McKay), do you hold any ill feelings towards him?

Jim Breuer: I do.  I really do. I don’t mind if you don’t like me.  Don’t go out of your way to fire someone just because you got an ego.  He stole routines from me and I got no respect for that.  I still don’t have respect for him.  I think he’s very funny and very talented, but I don’t have respect for him.  Hollywood don’t give a shit about that.  As long as you make money, that’s all they care about.

Do you hold anything against Will Ferrell?  I only ask because he and McKay have an obviously tight bond and have worked together on a number of films.

Jim Breuer: No, not at all!  They’re obviously tight.  They connected very well.  They bounced off each other very well.  It made a lot of sense.  I have nothing against Will and would never have anything against Will.  He never did anything to me.  He was always funny and I’ve always been a fan.  He cracks me up in everything he does.  I have nothing remotely close to negative to say about him.

I wouldn’t have had a problem with Adam if I never got that phone call that said ‘he’s trying to get you fired’.  We had little spats on the show, but…

Right, seeing as how you knew he was purposefully targeting you…

Jim Breuer: Once I knew that, I lost all respect for him.  If it was about lack of talent and I couldn’t get on the show and I was producing something, then I’d get it. Just for the sake of, ‘I don’t want you here anymore’?  Screw you, man.

Do you feel that being on Saturday Night Live didn’t necessarily make things easier for you after leaving?

Jim Breuer: I think it definitely made things easier.  Saturday Night Live leaves you with a patch of honor.  Doors are immediately opened, for me, once I left there.  What blew my mind was, the first question a lot of Hollywood heads ask is, ‘How’s your relationship with Lorne  (Michaels, the show’s creator/executive producer)?’  Which makes me wonder how powerful a man he is in Hollywood and what he’s connected to.

For someone who’s watched the show since I was a kid, I know a lot of the ins and outs but am surprised by people’s reverence for Lorne.  Even the recent Rolling Stone article didn’t clue me in any more so.  What do you think it is about him that creates that reverence?

Jim Breuer: I couldn’t tell you.  The man is complicated to figure out.

He’s like an enigma.  Aloof and unreadable.

Jim Breuer: You just nailed it.  He’s aloof, unreadable, yet a genius and brilliant at everything he does and has a tremendous amount of power that he’d never express that he has.  That’s a type of guy that could have you whacked.  He would give me advice at times and I still remember it.  It wouldn’t hit me until months later.  I can’t believe I didn’t absorb that at that moment.  Even all the way until I left that show when he was just like, (imitates Michaels) ‘You’re just too nice for this show, Jim.  This environment.’

I’m sure you have this, there’s always a movie that you breeze by on cable and have to watch it until the end.  The sort of movie that you have to buy on every format possible when it’s re-released.  Weed movies are almost always good and Half Baked is up there with the classics, like Cheech & Chong’s films.  I was one of the four people in the theater opening weekend (Breuer laughs) what is it like to see that the film has survived and become this “thing”?

Jim Breuer: This was when I knew it was a monster.  About a year after (it was released) I was in Florida, visiting friends, went to the hotel room, some people knocked on the door and they said, ‘I love you, love you, love you.  Oh my god I can’t believe you’re here.’  I thought it was about SNL.  That night we went out to a bar and it was like I was a naked hot chick.  People kept coming up to me, doing the bowing sign and they were reciting lines.  I thought it was a joke.  This went on all night long.  Then I got the phone call from Dave (Chappelle) who’s like (imitates Chappelle), ‘Man, are you going through the same thing?  This thing is blowin’ up on video, it’s weird!’  Once it went on video it proved that, I guess, Universal didn’t push it enough.  To this day you can’t stop (the film).  It blows my mind that I haven’t been asked to be in another movie.

Official Jim Breuer Website


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