At the beginning of his latest stand-up DVD, Jim Breuer states his intentions behind the show were to, as the title suggests, “clear the air” regarding his seemingly negative public persona.
Unfortunately, in Britain at least, Breuer would find difficulty getting arrested, let alone becoming widely misrepresented by the press and public at large.
Breuer, a former Saturday Night Live alumni and star of cult 90s stoner comedy Half Baked, spends much of the routine discussing how he is broadly considered to be a wild, irresponsible pothead when, in reality, he is simply a loving father and a dedicated husband.
However, with little to no prior knowledge of Breuer and his work, the humour becomes increasingly hard to relate to, instead making his performance resemble an uncomfortable post-eviction interview with a particularly gregarious Big Brother nobody attempting to blame their outrageous behaviour on “the editing”.
This lack of connection with an international audience is further exacerbated by several pieces aimed squarely at an American crowd, such as a lengthy chunk of the show discussing how Long Islanders are afraid to leave their community. Admittedly, this is largely understandable, as this is Breuer’s target audience. Nonetheless, it does make you question the decision to distribute such an American-centric show internationally.
With regards to Breuer himself, it’s hard not to warm to him. His delivery is assured, confident and breathtakingly energetic, as he bounds around the stage like a slightly less punchable Michael McIntyre. Whenever Breuer talks about himself, his family and his career trajectory, he is nothing short of honest and self-deprecating.
His style constantly veers, somewhat awkwardly, between middle-of-the-road observations and surreal non sequiturs about kangaroos and Concorde. Although Breuer proves himself to be more than competent to handle both approaches, the humour does suffer from a lack of stylistic cohesion.
Indeed, it is with the more bizarre material where his strengths clearly lie. The highlight of the show is a delightful yet disappointingly brief sequence in which Breuer re-imagines nursery rhymes as performed by various heavy metal superstars (Brian Johnson ‘s rendition of “Row, Row, Row Your Boat” is a sight to behold), revealing himself to be a surprisingly remarkable impressionist.
When he enters these fantastical modes, he is endlessly watchable. Regrettably, without any elucidation to us ignorant foreigners as to exactly who Jack Breuer is, the rest of the show fails to live up to these all-too-fleeting highs.
The disc comes with very few bonus features, just a ridiculously brief (to the point of being inconsequential) film delving behind-the-scenes of the DVD cover photoshoot, and a short interview between Breuer and his father, in which they discuss family life.
It would have been nice for the publishers to include a short film explaining Breuer’s professional background for an international audience, in order to give some context to the main feature but, unfortunately, nothing of the sort has been included.
Maybe next time, Jim?