Come Saturday night, Comcast Digital Cable subscribers have an extra choice available for their New Year's Eve viewing pleasure: CN8 Presents: Celebrate '06, a five-hour music and comedy extravaganza beginning at 8 pm/ET and featuring such headliners as Styx, the Funk Brothers, Gloria Gaynor, and comedians Jim Breuer and Kevin Meaney. TVGuide.com chatted with Breuer, a former Saturday Night Live player, about what he's been up to since leaving Studio 8H, the funny lessons fatherhood has taught him and his resolution to embrace his Sirius side in 2006.
TVGuide.com: You're just finishing up a hiatus from your Sirius Satellite Radio show, Unleashed. Why the break?
Jim Breuer: I just needed time off and they gave it to me. I started Friday nights in, like, June , and then we went to every day that November. I went until this October and said, "Give me off until January," and then they signed me up for three more years.
TVGuide.com: OK, so you're not pulling a Dave Chappelle on us, right? I can check your passport for a South Africa stamp.
Breuer: [Laughs] No, no, no. This is the best job I ever did in my life, by far. I'm my own boss, there's no censorship.... You just do whatever you want. I know this radio show is going to catapult a lot of things for me. I'm back Jan. 3, and all the characters I wanted to do, I can do them now.
TVGuide.com: Like who? What have you been holding back?
Breuer: I don't know where to start. One of the guys I'm going to introduce is my neighbor who is straight off the boat from Italy and is out of his mind. He moved to my neighborhood, chopped down the whole forest, created his own farm.... He comes over with cartons of eggs so he can use my fax machine — I'm not even exaggerating!
TVGuide.com: Is the mood at Sirius upbeat with Howard Stern coming on?
Breuer: I would say they're beyond ecstatic, and so am I with the amount of listeners he's brought me already. Every other e-mail says, "I bought this for Howard but.... " It's great.
TVGuide.com: Tell me about CN8 Presents: Celebrate '06. What are you doing for it?
Breuer: Well, this year I've been touring around as "the family guy."
TVGuide.com: As a family guy, is this the most exciting New Year's plans you've had in a while?
Breuer: [Laughs] Actually, it is. The money's phenomenal on New Year's Eve, I just don't like working it. But this year is great — I get to bring my family, I've got the kids coming down, we're going to hit a bunch of Universal and Disney World [attractions]....
TVGuide.com: How old are your kids?
Breuer: Six, 3 and 10 months. And they're going with their two cousins who are 6 and 3.
TVGuide.com: Will your 6-year-old be watching Daddy do his shtick? Is that something you have to take into consideration?
Breuer: The kids can totally watch it, because, after all, it's TV-friendly. But the fact is they're just not going to make it timewise. [Laughs]
TVGuide.com: Every kid thinks they can stay up until midnight....
Breuer: Never. I might not make it. You're going to have to wake me up to do the show.
TVGuide.com: What does your stand-up act cover these days?
Breuer: I talk about dealing with elderly parents. I talk about alcoholism in the family, dealing with the kids, fighting with the wife.
TVGuide.com: Do you take any shots at pop culture? Like Jessica and Nick?
Breuer: I haven't read the news in two years. Have we invaded China yet? I don't know. Is there oil in China? Can we go in there?
TVGuide.com: So your act is all about being a son, husband and father.
Breuer: I really came to terms with the fact that that's all you can deal with in this life. The rest is completely out of your hands, until these animals kill each other off.
TVGuide.com: What has fatherhood taught you that you get to make fun of?
Breuer: Well, it's taught me that pretty much everything they try to teach you is wrong. Every book, throw it out; every magazine, don't read it; every video, turn it off. There's no better experience than hands-on.
TVGuide.com: Do you find that you don't get to watch "your" TV shows anymore?
Breuer: Pfft. Long gone. I laugh when I hear guys going, "[Grunt] I'm watching football!" Me, I couldn't name a player anymore. And I was that guy who said, "Yeah, I'm never giving that up." But I had a really heavy playful childhood — lived out in the street 24/7, no matter how cold it was, always found something to do — and I've really pushed my kids to do that.
TVGuide.com: Heck, back in our day, we'd bike to a friend's house 5 miles away at 7 o'clock at night with no helmet....
Breuer: Right. Right. And there were no problems. No "You're going to get kidnapped" or big farces like that. We're now in the age of "I'm going to spook the s--- out of you so you stay in your house and keep your eyes on the computer and the television so we can inform you every 10 minutes on the hour.... We are what you need to be." [Evil laugh]
TVGuide.com: And don't get me started on Halloween. We were out until all hours, faces covered with burned cork....
Breuer: And with shaving cream and eggs... I think one kid every 10 years got into something that was nasty — and everyone knew that freaky family anyway.
TVGuide.com: Right, one kid in every neighborhood had that "mythology" surrounding him. "Oh, you'd better not run into Greg K., he'll spray you with Nair!"
Breuer: "Be careful with that guy, man, because I heard he's on probation and he don't care!"
TVGuide.com: Do you wish Joe Pesci was working more? He was your bread and butter for a while there, because of the impression you did.
Breuer: For a while, he really was. Wow, what happened to him? He's just gone.
TVGuide.com: You could call his agent, light a fire under him. "Shop around 'Home Alone 7'!"
Breuer: [Laughs] Yes, I need to do something here!
TVGuide.com: What were the circumstances of your 1998 SNL exit? Did you leave them, or vice versa?
Breuer: It was a little bit of both. The show made me really ugly, changed my whole personality. When I went into it, I already understood the situation. I knew I could leave and be a stand-up, so I didn't put my whole life on it, but.... It was sort of like showing up for a swordfight without a sword, and people were bringing dirty weapons. I was like, "I don't want to fight like this." The guys who really wanted me there, they quit my second year, and then life was miserable for me. If you watch the show, I couldn't get in many sketches after that, so what I did was start aiming myself for places they couldn't touch me, like the Update desk and the monologues.
TVGuide.com: I always figured Weekend Update served as a sort of clearing house for one-offs not worthy of full sketches.
Breuer: Right. Comedians often go there because that's the only realm where they really can't touch you, where the writers are completely different. The way to describe SNL is as the best experience I ever had, it really was....
TVGuide.com: But it made you see the light about some things?
Breuer: A lot of things.
TVGuide.com: When was the last time you watched? Have you caught the current incarnation?
Breuer: No, I really haven't. Tina [Fey, now headwriter] came in the second year I was there and she was great. But see, when a girl like Tina comes, it's like bringing brownies to a homeless shelter — that s--- is gone before she makes it past the first door. And unless you're willing to literally harass her, you're not even going to get close to her. You have to fight like an animal to protect your stuff and get your stuff, and then hope they don't mangle it.
TVGuide.com: Well, it was fun talking to you, Jim. Good luck on New Year's Eve. No live wardrobe malfunctions, OK?
Breuer: [Laughs] I'll do my best!