Jim Breuer doesn’t just “speak truth to power” … he goose steps to it.
The comic’s new YouTube comedy special, “Somebody Had to Say It,” is wise, witty and subversive to the core. The “Saturday Night Live” alum tackles topics any comedian should feast on.
The pandemic. Trans teens. Government overreach. Cancel Culture.
Except the vast majority won’t. Do we even have to spell out why?
The hour-long special opens with an extended rant against COVID-19 mania. Forget other comics who either demand audiences get the jab (Stephen Colbert) or offer mealy-mouthed takes on pandemic mania (Aziz Ansari).
Breuer gets to the heart of the matter. It’s all theater, the kind that demands mockery.
“Trust the science,” he squawks like a tyrannical parrot, turning government-speak into one of the hour’s recurring bits.
His high-energy approach fits the material, and he’s sharp enough to bring laughter into his rants. This could easily veer into clapter, but his Jerry Lewis-like mannerisms won’t allow it.
Breuer’s extended riff on airport restrictions scores another bullseye. Wear a mask, wear a mask and keep six feet from everyone around you, he sings in a mock Broadway parody. And then you’re stuffed into a metal tube mere inches away from total strangers.
“But at snack time you can take [the mask] off … thank you, science! Thank you experts!” We’re so safe when we eat peanuts!” He even takes a few swipes at Dr. Anthony Fauci.
Now, how hard was that?
You could argue Breuer’s special, available for free via YouTube, swings for the lowest hanging fruit possible.
- Mask insanity
- Dr. Fauci’s revolving truths
- Governors embracing fascist rules
Except few are touching these cultural fault lines save Adam Carolla, Tyler Fischer, Nick Di Paolo and, of course, Breuer. Watching him goose step across the stage as a Nazi-like governor is blazingly cathartic.
He also tees off on Offended Nation, the folks eager to clutch their pearls at the slightest sign of discomfort.
“I’m offended by this, and I’m offended by that,” he barks. “Life is offensive, OK? My wife’s been battling cancer for 12 years …” Breuer says, one of many times he leans on his personal pain for uncomfortable laughs.
Being perpetually outraged isn’t healthy. In fact, Doc Breuer says sufferers’ have tight rectal apertures. Yes, he’s got a hilarious sound effect for that diagnosis, one he trots out for the rest of the show.
Breuer, now 55, has lived long enough to bring more than energy to his stage craft. That inimitable Goat Boy persona is never far from the surface, but he spikes his performance with ruminations on aging, death and parenthood.
He also wades carefully into the teen trans debate.
“Let the children at least become adults before they can make a decision like [sex change surgery],” he says.
An extended riff on the “R-word” for the mentally challenged reveals plenty about the nature of language. He’s not using the phrase to shock us. It’s a vehicle to explore cultural waves that ebb and flow over time.
And, of course, it’s hysterical.
The bit indirectly explains why the language police need to stand down. He’s not being cruel, just observational. And that’s something comedians should always have room to explore.
— Nicole Saphier, MD (@NBSaphierMD) July 2, 2022
“Somebody Had to Say It,” filmed on Breuer’s old Long Island stomping grounds, settles into a deeply personal groove. Breuer opens up about his blue-collar youth, the embarrassing conversations his mother shared after a few too many drinks and how a simple trip to the Chinese restaurant became a cherished childhood memory.
Yes, he imitates a Chinese accent, but in the context of the material it’s endearing, not insulting.
A segment involving him being an “accident” brims with black humor and awareness. He’s clearly processed the pain and made it digestible for his fans, but it doubles as a peek into his comedic mindset.
There’s pain lurking not too far beneath the surface.
Even more relevant?
He shares how he greeted his teen daughter after she returned home from college after six short weeks.
“Racist, sexist, racist, sexist … gender, gender … you can’t say that,” he says, imitating her newly “educated” persona. “All I said was, ‘Good morning,’” he cracks. “In six weeks they had my child, and for $40,000 of my money … this kid came home, sorry, [the R-word.]”
“Somebody Had to Say It” probably wouldn’t be welcome at a traditional streaming platform. That’s reason enough to give it a try.