Table of Contents
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Published by Gotham Books, a member of Penguin Group (USA) Inc.
First printing, October 2010
Copyright © 2010 by Jim Breuer
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LIBRARY OF CONGRESS CATALOGING-IN-PUBLICATION DATA
Breuer, Jim, 1967-
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.
eISBN : 978-1-101-44380-4
1. Breuer, Jim, 1967- 2. Comedians—United States—Biography. I. Title.
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To my soul mate, best friend, and dearest wife, Dee. You have stood in the shadows, supporting my every move and keeping me grounded.
In late fall 2008, I decided to write a book. This book. The whole thing really started on a flight. My wife, Dee, and I were headed to the Comedy Festival in Las Vegas for the weekend, and I was amped about performing all-new material. For years, I’d been thinking about my message, my act, and what I really wanted to say.
I began doing a daily show on Sirius satellite radio back in 2004, when Dee and I had just started our family. It let me connect with people while still having a normal life as a dad. But over the course of doing my radio show, it occurred to me that the grind—going out and doing stand-up every week—was what really made me happy. It also occurred to me that my message had changed. Or maybe just evolved. What inspires me and what I want to share is what’s most important to me now: the ups and downs of family life—like alternating between changing my kids’ diapers and my dad’s.
I wanted to see other families brought together by my comedy, by the little annoyances of our day-to-day that really end up being the best things about being alive. Most people, though, see me as the guy with sleepy eyes and a goofy laugh who played a stoner in
and a goat on
Saturday Night Live.
But I’m not that guy—I wasn’t then and I’m especially not now. So after a long break from stand-up, I thought, “If I’m going to get back into it with a whole new, more honest point of view, I’ll do it in Vegas in front of a bunch of other comedians.” They’d tell me if it was any good or not. And on the flight there I’d start putting down some thoughts on paper.
Once Dee and I got into our seats on the plane in Newark, I took out my notebook and started writing. And magic happened. I felt like my hand was moving across the page on its own. I’ve written my whole life, but never before had stuff just spilled out of me like that. The next thing I heard was the voice of the flight attendant telling us to get ready for landing four and a half hours later. I’d written fifty pages, front and back, and my hand was killing me. I showed it to Dee, and she couldn’t believe that I’d done it all on the flight.
We landed and checked into the monumentally extravagant Caesars Palace, and the next night I did my set at the Palace Ballroom. I crushed and got a standing ovation, validating what my gut had been telling me for a long time. The security guard who walked us into the venue was waiting for me when I came off the stage. He looked just like Mark McGwire back in his steroid days. I couldn’t help but ask if he’d dabbled in performance-enhancing substances, too.
“It gave me a competitive advantage in my field,” he said matter-of-factly. He was tossing a water bottle back and forth between his hands and when he’d catch it, it would just disappear into his giant paw. “Now, though, the whole thing doesn’t appeal to me anymore.”
“Let me ask you something,” he said, not answering my question. “You had a really awesome, powerful set tonight. Are you a godly man?”
“I pray,” I said. “I try to lead a life I can be proud of.”
“Have you been born again?”
“Nope,” I said, then nodded toward Dee. “But she has.”
“So have I,” he said.
At that, I feared that I was going to get dragged into a discussion about accepting Jesus Christ as my savior. But instead he simply told me that he really liked my set, and I guess he just wanted to learn more about me.
Dee interjected. “I’m just upset that he dropped five F-bombs on the crowd.” Then she looked at me and said, “That wasn’t necessary.”
“I can see through the cursing,” the security guy said, “and still totally get Jim’s message. You know, Jesus hung out with all kinds of people and never sat in judgment of them. It’s good to keep an open mind. A message can be delivered in any medium. We can’t ignore it just because we don’t like how it arrives.”
Then the juicehead with the big heart, Dee, and I just started sharing stories in that back hallway. We must have sat there for two or three hours.
“You should really write these stories down, bro,” the security guy said. “They’re like testimonies. You need to share them.”
“It’s funny that you’re saying that,” I told him. “Because the whole flight out here, that’s exactly what I was doing—writing them all down.”
We eventually parted ways and Dee and I went back to our suite. I was fired up about the progress I’d made on writing the book and about the response I’d received for doing stand-up material that was true to my heart. The next day Dee and I both worked out in the morning, and then I was going to meet her in the lobby in the early afternoon.
While Dee was out running errands, I continued to write and stare out of our giant window down at the Las Vegas Strip. Something overtook me, and I took a break and walked closer to the window. I felt untouchable. Life could not have been going any better. And I felt like it was time to address all of the negative energy out there, to literally tempt fate.
“I know you’re out there, but you can’t stop me from touching people’s lives,” I said out loud, addressing the Devil, and any other as yet unannounced evil forces out there. “And I’m going to do it without being a preacher. I’m not a shrink, either. I’m just an everyday, ordinary guy with some deep-ass stories. I’m a modern-day prophet warrior. Try and stop me. If you have any power at all, come and destroy this notebook.” I held it up to the window, sneering and laughing at the same time.
Immediately the rational, sober part of me told me not to push it. Sure, I was raised in Long Island and I loved to bust balls. But as an adult you have to take your good fortune with humility and grace. It’s great to hit the home run, but if you make fun of the pitcher as you’re rounding the bases you’re going to get put on your ass the next time you’re at the plate. There was no good reason to start taunting Satan.
I stepped away from the window and now I was feeling a little paranoid. I looked around the room, thinking it would be wise to put the notebook in a drawer or something, just to be safe. But all of the drawers seemed to be unprotected, just begging a thief or a vengeful spirit to steal from them. I walked over to the safe, but it was tiny. If you had a Rubik’s Cube that you really wanted to protect, this would have been the perfect safe for it. But a notebook? It didn’t really fit without getting all crinkled up and wedged. I forced it in there for a second, like a taco, and tried to close the door. It wasn’t happening, despite repeated slammings. Now I was starting to freak out. I even had Yoda’s voice inside of my head, growling, “Never underestimate the power of the dark side.” Fate, the Devil, or whoever was messing with me already.
Then I stopped and realized how pathetic I was acting. I got mad at myself for cowering like a baby and defiantly pulled the notebook out of the safe. I put it back on the desk and said to the room, “It’s right here. In plain view. And there’s nothing you can do about it.”
By now I was running late to meet Dee. She was down in the fancy Caesars spa getting a manicure and pedicure. Unbelievably, she’d talked me into getting one, too. Weren’t these things generally reserved for chicks? “Yes,” I thought, “but Vegas is about indulgence and trying new things. And Dee and I could just sit and talk without a care in the world.”
So I got on the elevator and took it to the lobby. Because of the festival, it felt like the red carpet at the Oscars down there. The floor was packed with famous comedians rubbing elbows. I hadn’t really expected to see so many people I knew, but as I got closer to the nail spa, I could see Jerry Seinfeld and Chris Rock standing a few feet in front of its entrance, inside of which Dee was patiently waiting for me.