The comic is on pace to sell out Wilmington on Nov. 15, plus talks touring with Metallica.
If you flinched on buying tickets to Jim Breuer’s comedy show in Wilmington on Thursday, Nov. 15, there’s a good chance you might have lost out. After all, there’s a low ticket warning for the show at the moment.
An alum of “Saturday Night Live,” famous for playing the character Goat Boy -- Breuer is enjoying some of the sweetest fruits of his labor right now at age 51. The stand-up comic is enjoying this feast alongside one of his favorite metal bands, Metallica.
Breuer is playing arenas for the first time ever in his 29th year of stand-up, now that he’s on Metallica’s WorldWired tour in North America, which started in September.
The comic serves as the emcee on the WorldWired tour, cracking up audiences and engaging them with games and other shenanigans.
As a longtime Metallica fan, Breuer said he’s in paradise.
“I feel like I’m 18 in my friend’s basement, sneaking some beers while our parents are upstairs, blasting Metallica,” he said. “I’ve gotta say, it’s one of the best experiences of my life.”
Breuer came to national attention during his seasons on “SNL” (1995-1998) and starring alongside Dave Chappelle in the stoner comedy flick “Half Baked.”
Currently he produces “The Jim Breuer Podcast,” featuring him and his wife, and he has an online series of his travels in comedy titled “Life on the Road.”
Breuer, who loves the New York Mets, will be making a special stop to The Queen during his short break on the WorldWired tour before going back on the road.
What makes you optimistic about the Mets heading into the 2019 season?
[Michael] Conforto, [Jeff] McNeil and their pitching staff. Those are my most optimistic views on the Mets right now. Besides that, I don’t know what to expect. I’m not hopped up. I’m not disappointed. If they can just have a winning record, I’ll be happy.
How does touring with Metallica compare to traveling with Loud & Rowdy?
I may have to say, this is the single most greatest experience in my entire career. It’s been nothing but rewarding, from the moment I was asked to be part of it, because: A) I grew up a diehard Metallica fan; and it wasn’t just the music, it was everything about them.
I love the way James Hetfield writes their music, the attitude and their way of life. To go through the years and to become friends with them on a very deep personal level; and then I’ve become part of so many things they’ve asked me to do over the years. But now, I can’t say enough great things about the tour. I’m meeting fans the night before, just to be with them and talk to them, because I feel like I’m finding all these lost family members.
Some musicians say playing in a big room makes them feel a little disconnected from the crowd. Has performing in arenas had any impact on you?
The only impact it’s had is it took adjusting to. I get off on trying to conquer situations. The first one or two performances took a lot of adjusting. I couldn’t hear that well. Metallica has a big stage in the round, so people are constantly behind your back. I took a breath and said, “This is how you tackle this. Stop thinking; I’m the comedian coming up to do a set. I’m your emcee/host for the coolest pre-party to a concert ever. I’ve got a DJ for you tonight. I’m going to tell you stories about the band no one’s ever heard. I’m going to bring us all together tonight.
“We’re going to do a metal singalong with five of the best anthems ever. We’re going to bring people on stage and do little Metallica game-type things, where you may get booed off the stage; or they may cheer you to death.”
Once I said that, the formula really started kicking in, which was pretty quick, especially on this new leg. This new leg has been unbelievable. The big difference was just figuring it out. Give me a little time and I’ll figure it out. It was a major adjustment; it really was.
I did feel disengaged, but I said, “How do I engage them? Why do I need to stay on the stage?” I’m going to come out there and come in the audience. Now all of a sudden I’m engaging them. So when I go on the stage I have their attention. It’s a cool time, but I never was scared.
How did you become friends with Metallica?
The first person I met was Lars [Ulrich]. He was behind the scenes at a Metallica show and he was kind of lost. He was in a stairwell and I just happened to be walking by the staircase and I saw him and said, “What are you doing?” He said, “Hi, I’m Lars.” I said, “I know who you are. What are you doing?” Lars told me, “I’m looking for the “SNL “set.” I told him, “Come with me, I’ll bring you there!”
He asked, “Are you a fan?” I went, “Am I a fan? You may be talking to one of your biggest fans.” So that started that. I remember they were doing a tour. He took my number and would call me. He told me to come hang out. He had a place in New York. We’d hang out and it was an absolute blast. We would just watch old videos of Black Sabbath, mosh in the bedroom and blast it.
We’d have a few beers and then go out for a while. Once I was married and was kind of starting a family, James and his wife saw me when the band played “SNL.” They approached me at the “SNL” after-show and that led to our relationship where they said, “You’re the only one not running around. You’re kind of just hanging out with your wife; that’s so cool.”
Since then we’ve been on vacations together. Our families have grown up together. I don’t even look at him that way anymore, which is weird. Every once in a while I go, “Oh yeah, that’s James of Metallica, and not ‘Mr. Hetfield,’” as my children would call him. That’s how our relationship started over 20-something years ago.
It’s interesting you’re still peaking this deep into your career.
There are so many things to that, that are making me extremely happy. For instance, I started a Patreon page. Some people have thousands and thousands of followers. What I love about it is I never even thought I could do my own programming. That’s sick!
With the Metallica tour, I have a camera guy 24/7, and he puts out weekly TV shows. It’s all content from behind the scenes and life on the road. I’ve had them filming stand-up comedy shows for the last eight months, where a lot of times I do different hour sets. For years people would come see my stand-up and ask, “How do you not have Netflix specials? How are you not having a new hour special every year.”
Well, I go, “Netflix is not in the business of Jim Breuer. So, what are you going to do?” Then I was like wait a minute, I’m going to start putting this out on my own. To be able to have that too is so satisfying to me. I’m pretty confident within a year or two, I’m going to have a really nice audience watching these shows weekly and weekly as I create more stuff the way I want it to be done.
Why do you think Netflix doesn’t want to work with you?
If you want the brutal honest truth, they’re going for A-listers. And the exact term that was put out was “we’re not in the business of 40-and-over white guys,” which is their right. It’s a smart business decision. They’re going for the diversity. I understand it 1,000 percent. So I find alternative routes, that’s all. Would I like to [partner with] them? Of course, I’d love to. But right now I’m not in the business plan, and that’s okay.
Is there a Metallica story you can share?
I will tell you this, outside of the Metallica world, Lars seems to get attacked, because of that Napster thing, and people said they sold out. It’s very frustrating and annoying as hell to hear that, because since I know them, they rage and fight for everything every other person would ever want them fighting for.
When you hear James before going on tour saying, “I’m so nervous about this.” I’m thinking, “You’re still nervous about touring?” He says, “I [don’t know if] people are still into us.” I’m just speechless to hear things like this. And they’re dead serious. Not many businesses even run their companies the way Metallica runs their touring and their lifestyle. They are a machine that takes what they’re doing probably more serious than 90 percent of the population.
Can you give an example of how well Metallica runs their business?
Everyone in their crew has been there forever. That already stands out. And everyone in their crew, from the people setting up their dressing rooms, to the individual techs, to the lighting designers, they all say the same thing: “I worked for this, I worked for that, and I did this tour and that tour. Nobody treats their employees better than Metallica.”
Even the way they tour, they want to make sure people are rested. That’s why they’re not out there every other single day. They go two weeks on and two weeks off, every other day. They want to make sure everyone’s well taken care of, to the point where even when they’re not touring, they pay them, just so they’re available in case they say, “Hey, we’re going on tour. We don’t ever want to lose you people.” Who the hell does that?
What new opportunities might you gain from being on this tour?
A lot of people ask me that. A lot of people ask me, “What do you think this will turn into?” And I really don’t know. All I’m concentrating on, and I’m being dead serious, is how do I make the next fan experience even better than the last leg?
I feel like I’ve found my people, as far as the Metallica fans. After I’m done with my set, I think a lot of them would tell you, you’re going to find me hanging out with them in the audience and we act out entire songs together. I feel like I’m 18 in my friend’s basement, sneaking some beers while our parents are upstairs, blasting Metallica. I’ve gotta say, it’s one of the best experiences of my life.