Jim Breuer Had Some Tough Days as a Young Comedian


– I’m doing a gig for the head
of Sony Music. He just retired. – Really?
– (Dan) Holy shit. Tommy Mottola? – Mmm…
– (Dan) Wasn’t that? – That kind of sounds like it.
– (Dan) I think he was the– He was the si– he was the head.
– What? (Dan)
He married Mariah Carey when he was the president of–
– Whoa, whoa, whoa. If this is the guy,
you just gave me material. (Dan)
Tommy Mo– I don’t think it’s Tommy Mottola.
– No, no, it’s– he’s– Wait, wait, hold on.
Who is this guy? (Dan)
What if this exposes me as actually being a rich kid? I go, “That’s my dad.”
(gasps) – If you still do jokes
about him being married to Mariah Carey, go, “Sorry, I thought you were
Tommy Mottola.” (Dan)
He goes, “That’s the best roast I’ve ever seen in my life.”
– When I took this gig, I thought you were
Tommy Mottola. – I was really only doing this
’cause I thought– I have a bunch
of Mariah Carey jokes that I thought
were gonna murder. – No. Martin… Martin Bandier.
– Okay. – Chairman and CEO
of Sony ATV Music forever, and he’s retiring.
– Damn. – Let’s take a look at him.
We’ll roast his ass right now. We’ll set you up.
– Bring him up. – This is him right here.
– Oh, look at this guy. – There you go!
That’s him! That’s the picture they sent me.
That one. Right– the second one.
– Dude, that guy– You guys can– you could smell the money through the picture. That is so much fucking money. – He looks like the guy
who hides the vaccine for AIDS. – Yeah.
He looks like he’s– He looks like– yeah. ♪♪ (flames crackling) – What I remember very much,
before I started doing comedy, I think several years before
I even thought of doing it, on my mom’s TV in her bedroom
I would watch on Philly 57,
“Uptown Comedy Club.” – Wow!
– Which is where I saw– And you and Rob Magnotti… – Wow!
– …were the, uh, were the white guys with Macio
and Monteria Ivey and all these guys, uh,
on this show, and it was–
– (Jim) Wow. – You guys started so many bits.
I remember the drunk cops. – Yeah, “Top Cops.”
– Yeah, yeah, yeah. With Macio you would do.
– Yeah. – And then it was very cool
when I started working the comic strip,
when I first got to New York, Macio was like a regular. I think he’s like
a cruise ship guy now… – I think so too, yeah.
– …I think, ultimately. But Macio, uh,
was a comic who was around. And when I’d see Magnotti and
these guys, I’d be like, “Wow!” To me, that registered from
“Uptown Comedy Club,” but I also,
starting in Philadelphia, just by where it was
and the timing and it would– it was
after the fall, I guess, of several comedy clubs
in Philadelphia, and all that remained was
The Laff House, which was a black comedy club,
and that’s where I started. I only did the black
comedy circuit for years, like, before I ever crossed over
into the mainstream stuff. And also, knowing that world,
when I got to perform at the Brown’s place,
the Uptown Comedy Store there, that was such a cool thing
for me. – Wow.
– (Dan) Yeah, so? – And to do well– I mean,
pandering wildly, I’m sure, but doing well still. But I knew how to pander nice
in the beginning. – Wow.
– (Jay) Yeah, yeah. – That’s quite a throwback. – Yeah, I mean, that– – That’s 1992, ’93, ’94. – Did that feel– I mean,
that had to feel at the mo– How long were you in comedy
when that popped up? – I started–
I started in ’85. – Mm-hmm. – But when I say “started,”
it means I started dabbling. (Dan)
Just open mics occasionally? – I played a–
I would start at a rock club. – Were you in college
or something? – No, no, high school.
– (Jay) High school still? Oh, shit.
– So, in high school, I would go to this rock club
called February’s on Hempstead Turnpike
in Elmont. – (Jay) Okay.
– And it was a rock– it was a rock club.
– (Dan) Yeah. – So, me, my friends. And my friend would say,
“You need to emcee.” And I would emcee.
And my first joke was– ‘Cause “Live Aid” just came out.
– (Jay) Mm-hmm. – That’s how I remember this.
And “Live Aid”– I was looking for an Ozzy joke
’cause Ozzy was on. – (Jay) Mm-hmm.
– So, my very first joke was: Did you guys see “Live Aid”?
How great was Ozzy? You know, you had, uh… Freddie Mercury and U2,
but when they threw the Ethiopian on stage and… (as Ozzy)
Ozzy bit his head off! (fake laughing) And you know, and there’s
eight people going, “Yeah, Breuer!
You’re the best!” And then I was doing– so,
this place called February’s, which was a rock club
and they would play metal and Priest and all these guys. And then I went to Governor’s
in Long Island. – (Dan) Yeah.
– And I played there three times and I really thought I was gonna
be discovered immediately. That’s how– That’s how cocky
and confident I was. – I reached out to managers
in a Yellow Pages about a month into comedy.
I was like, well, time to get some fucking muscle
behind this hustle. Some hustle behind this muscle. – Dude, I-I, uh–
You know, ’cause I started, uh, in the Internet age. I remember submitting
to, like, a Sierra Mist competition
in ’03, and I was like, well, they’ll
probably pluck me out of Tucson and it’ll be cool to buy a car
in the first month. But, uh, you’re talking about–
– Cash. – Yeah.
Working at February’s, you’re like 16, 17?
– No. I was 17 about to turn 18.
– That’s still fucking crazy. You’re like 17, you’re like,
“Let’s go rip it at Governor’s!” I was like– I was 26
driving out to Governor’s like, “Fuck! Fuck!” – I was 19,
um, when I started. – I was 21– yeah,
I was 21 when I started. – And but it took me five whiffs
of not even going on stage before attempting to go on. But you felt comfort there
’cause people knew you, though, too, a little bit. – No, nobody– no.
– Oh, yeah. It was the show– the show–
the show before that. – Yeah, the shows.
– (Jay) The rock show. – And then– And then,
I went into acting, and I got some jobs, but then
my family moved to Florida, and it fucked me up.
– Okay. – ‘Cause it threw me
way off course. – Yeah.
– And so, 1989, I was watching Arsenio Hall
and I-I said, “God, I want to go back
to stand-up. “God, I wanna go back. Why don’t I follow
my stand-up career?” In 1989, I’m watching, uh– or it was ’88,
something like that– Arsenio Hall
and Eddie Murphy’s on there. And Arsenio goes… (as Arsenio)
“So, uh, Eddie. “There’s young comedians
out there. What– You got any advice
for ’em, hmm?” And Eddie Murphy looked
at the screen, he goes– he goes… (as Eddie)
“Don’t listen to your mother. “Your mother will tell you
to fall back on stuff. “You can never fall back.
If you want to be a comedian, “you do it 100%.
If you’re gonna do something, you gotta do it 100%.
You can’t be 20% here, 40%.” And I went, holy shit,
he’s talking to me. – Yeah.
– And– And so the– I saved all my money…
– Yeah. – …in Florida as a waiter
for a year, and I said I’m gonna take off
and go full-blown and never look back. And that was 1989, July. And I went to a place called
Ron Bennington’s Comedy Scene… – Hell yeah.
– …at the Radisson Inn, Clearwater, Florida.
– (Jay) Yup. – Yeah!
– And then– – Fucking 30 years ago! – Yeah, yes.
– Fucking– that’s awesome! – And then 2 1/2,
3 years later, I was– I was–
I was featuring, which means you do 30 minutes…
– Yeah, yeah, yeah. – …headlining, but I should
not have been headlining. And then I said, I gotta move
to New York/L.A. – By the way,
did you get a just– not to sidebar here too much–
but did you get like a nice, coked-up, wacked-out
Ron Bennington? – (Dan) Yeah!
– We’re all dying to know what a night with him
would be like that was like. – Yeah, we only know–
– Well, when– – We know reformed,
successful Ron Bennington. – I know smooth jazz,
old junkie story Ron Bennington. – (Dan) I know, I know.
– I wanna hear the fucking, Ron been doing like fucking, uh,
you know, Fred Astaire flips off a wall.
– That’s what I want. I want– I’ve gotten
double glasses on the head, chomping at a cigar,
wise tales Ron Bennington. – (Jay) Yes!
– I want a guy that’s fucking– waitresses are nervous
to be alone with. – Dressed like a fucking
A.C. Slater. – Yeah, yeah. I want the fucking–
give us the dirt! – Ron Bennington. It was called
“The Ron and Ron Show,” and it was on, like, 98 Rock, and he was
the biggest radio DJ… – Mm-hmm.
– …in the Tampa, St. Pete, Florida. I mean, he was huge! – And that’s literally coming
from he just went on the radio to promote the comics
from The Comedy Club, and they were like,
“You’re pretty great. You want to just be
on the show?” And he was like, “Yeah.”
– He goes, “Cool! Let me, uh, step into this
and be a legend.” – Yeah.
– Yeah. And then– So, he only showed up
once in a blue moon. And when he showed up…
– Yeah. – …it was like
Rodney Dangerfield showing up at Dangerfield’s. You were– You were like,
“Holy shit! Ron Bennington’s here!
Oh, my God!” – Now–
– “I don’t wanna– “I’m goin’ up there–
dude, I’m not going up tonight. “I’m not.
My set’s not tight enough. I can’t fucking go
in front of Ron.” And he would go up and he would
talk about Philadelphia and he would do his set
and we’re like, “Oh, my God!
It’s Ron Bennington!” – Did he wear robes
like Rodney? He’s just– he’s in
a terry cloth, he’s like… (as Rodney)
“Hey, we’re all gonna get laid!” Like, fucking Ron
was a swinger. – He was a swinger.
– Yeah, God, for Ron! I fucking love Ron!
– He was in with the Phillies and the Hooter Girls. It was– It was huge. – ’80s Hooters Girls?
– He was full-blown rock star. – That’s Vanilla Dan tens.
– Yeah. I see he was a rock star.
– He was full-blown rock star. – I fucking love Ronny B.!
– Yeah. Extremely intimidating.
– Yeah. – He was huge.
– I’m still intimidated by him. – And that’s in 1991. I said, I’m moving back
to Long Island in my friend’s basement. And in six months,
I got The Uptown Comedy Club. – (Jay and Dan) Wow!
– And then– So I kind of got shot out
of a cannon quick. And two years on there,
and then development, then me and Chappelle
are gonna have a sitcom, and then– and then
“Saturday Night Live.” It all happened really quick.
– Yeah. But you– Moving from Florida
to New York– and, you know,
you’re featuring, you’re doing some
headlining work down there– when you moved to New York,
do you notice that your jokes work? Like, ’cause when I–
– My jokes worked, but everyone hated me.
– Okay. – And I–
– You’re saying the black club? – No, but I’m saying, like–
I’m just saying, like, when I moved from Tucson
to New York, and I was– I was doing the same thing.
I was featuring, which was a stretch in Tucson,
and emceeing, and I moved here and I was like,
oh, I was totally wrong. – Yeah.
– I, like, had to do a thing where I was like,
tear it all down, we gotta restart everything.
– I did too. And I hated certain comics
’cause they were such dicks. – Yeah.
– I hated Marc Maron. I hated Louis C.K. I hated all these motherfuckers
’cause they were dicks. – Were they just, like, snobby?
– They were snobby, “fuck you,” look down on me. So my attitude was like,
“Well, fuck you. I’m gonna crush you.”
– Yeah. – And through time, uh–
And even Attell at one point, I was like, “Well, fuck you.” You go on stage and you–
and you insult me when you go up on?
So, fuck you.” – Yeah.
– I’m gonna crush you. – I love that.
– And so… – 0-60 Dan loves that.
– So I had a– I had– I came with my–
I came like… – Yeah.
– “Hey, fuck you, guys. I’m just trying to be funny.”
– Yeah. – Marc– And they all–
You know, Dave– We all eventually…
it was all cool after a while. – Yeah.
– Marc eventually apologized. And I even fucked with Marc
at one time ’cause Marc was all about, “You know,
I’m not doing TV, man. I’m too– I’m too– I’m too cool
for TV,” and all that. And so he’s like– You know,
and before I would go on stage, he’d go, “Bro, are you gonna
go up and woo ’em with your animation?” – Oh, dude,
let me tell you something. – I swear to God.
– Let me tell you something. – And I’d be with my wife.
– What a shitty thing to say to somebody before they go on.
And you’re not really friends? – And I’m like,
“Dude, why are you being a dick? I’m just trying to do my time.”
– Dude. You’re getting me riled up.
– And then I would– And then I would do a set
and then Attell would go up after me, he’s like,
“Let’s hear it for Breuer and his hand puppets.”
You’re like, “Fuck you, Dave. You cunt.” Sorry I don’t talk about
fucking dead hookers. – Yeah. – Sorry I’m not as intelligent
as all you guys. – Yeah.
– And so… – That’s so fucking funny. – So, yeah, I was–
I was– I had a problem
when I first got here. And then, um,
Louis never gave me a problem, but I just felt like
he just didn’t– he just looked at me
and was like, “Ugh!” – You can feel that,
I guess, sometimes. I’m very– I try.
I hope it reads. But I make a concerted effort
because I was helped so much, ironically, by– Dave Attell
helped me a bunch in my career. Patrice, the list goes
on and on. – Yeah.
– Uh, Bobby Kelly, who have helped me in my career.
– I just saw him in Aruba. – Yeah! Bobby was just
down there with his family… – Yeah!
– …and doing shows. – Yeah, yeah, yeah.
– But people that have helped me like that, so when I’m
on the road, and, like, the features
and hosts, I’m always, like, trying
to be very cool to and, like, you know, hang out,
take ’em to lunch or something just because I know
how much that meant to me. – I learned, Jay,
from those days, I would never treat
other comics like that. – Yeah.
– Whether I liked them or not liked them,
I would never do that to another comedian ever.
– Sure. – And so, now,
I want to make it clear that those–
that was the beginning. – Sure.
– Yeah, that’s you– that’s you being a new comic
up from Florida. – New guy.
– You got a chip on your shoulder too. – And you’re, like, from here, and you’re back to New York, so you’re kind of like–
– I’ll show you! I’m the good-looking,
gonna be on TV guy. – Yeah, and they’re like artsy
and like– – Yeah! Fuck you
and your artsy bullshit. – Fucking beatniks.
Beatnik assholes. – Yeah, they’re like…
(scatting jazz rhythm) “Dating is weird.
Dating is weird.” – Yeah, yeah.
– Well, because you had, uh, comedy I assume
that wouldn’t work well in like the coffee shop,
and I’ve never had that either, where I could go
to the coffee shop. They’re always like– they’re
so very pooh-poohing of it. – But I also realized, um,
I don’t need to go there. – Right.
– I don’t need that crowd. It’s not my crowd.
– Sure. – Yeah, that’s a pretty
important thing for a comic to learn.
– Find your audience. – If I play baseball, I– As a comedian, I compare myself
to a baseball player. I don’t want a single
or a walk. I want the…
(mimics baseball bat cracking) “Oh, my!
The outfielder didn’t even walk! It’s in the upper deck!”
(mimics crowd cheering) And I– And I’m going–
I flip the bat. – Yeah, Barry Bonds
those motherfuckers! – I walk real slow…
– Take a trot. – …around the bases
and I eye the pitcher, going, “Try to throw me
inside again, stupid.” – Yeah.
– That’s– It– You learn, okay,
I only swing at fastballs, and the fastballs
I knock in the upper deck. I’m not gonna woo you
with my intelligence. – But, you know, I mean–
– I’m not gonna– I’m not gonna try
to talk over your head. That’s not me.
I’m not that smart. I’m not good.
– And everybody should hope– Everybody should hope
that everyone’s not the same kind of thing,
’cause the odds that you’re the best at that thing are slim. – Yeah.
– But also being honest with yourself and, like,
what you wanna do. ‘Cause there’s a lot of people
that’ll be like, I see something else is popular.
Let me do that. But if you just–
If you do yourself, you know, you can be like–
‘Cause that Barry Bonds thing is– I think we all have that.
You wanna fucking flip the bat at the pitcher and be like…
– Hell yeah! – …fucking nice job.
– But don’t you even get– as you get older, like,
you get the novelty of, like– I get still
the silliness as a comic, especially who tries to write
something that hits people, that you see
Jeff Dunham’s success, and people will
always be kind of– As a young comic,
you definitely wanna go like, “Ugh,” ’cause he’s doing it
with that thing. But at the end of the day, well, someone’s gotta
do that thing. Like, I don’t do that thing
and he does it probably great. Like, why do I care?
It’s like it’s out– You should almost be happy
it’s out of your lane. It’s not even what
you’re going for. – Jay, you hit it.
You reach a maturity in life. Like, there was a time where
I hit in life where I went, “Oh, my God.
Marc found– Marc found himself.”
– Yeah. – He’s the “I was a dick
and I’m sorry” guy. – Yeah!
(laughter) – I love you.
Now I– Now I love you. – What a cool character!
He’s like… – And I’ll never forget,
Attell one time– which Dave would never
remember this. I think it was–
it was right before I got to “Saturday Night Live,”
and he kind of pulled me aside– – Nah, he wouldn’t
remember it then. – No, but he goes,
“You should be on TV.” And I went,
“What? Why do you say?” – He’s like,
“You’re a TV guy, man. I’m surprised TV hasn’t…”
and I went, “Oh, my God. “He gave me compliment.
Like, oh, my God. The king of–”
and so I was like, “Oh, my God.
Dave accepted me.” And then Louis–
Louis, no, but it was– you start seeing
everyone else mature, and then you’re like,
you know what, there comes a time, too,
where you’re not competing against everyone.
– Yeah. – You just compete
against yourself. – (Dan and Jay) Yes.
– You set yourself goals. And I’m happy for everyone
who does whatever. – Takes you a long time
to get there. Longer than you think.
– It takes a while to get there. – Unless you find
very young success– doesn’t happen for everybody,
at least like the success where you’re like, “I’m good.”
– No. – Um, if you find
that young, maybe. But really I said it
when I realized– That’s one of
the interesting things when I got my hour special,
Comedy Central, the next day one of the first
things to hit me was to call Kevin Hart because
I’ve always had this story like, yeah, you know, okay,
we lost touch ’cause he went to Hollywood,
he became a huge star, and what are you gonna do?
But I go, I never really worked hard to
stay in touch with him either. And I thought of that
and I was like, yeah, I probably didn’t wanna hear
about how fucking awesome shit was going
for him constantly. So, you know what I mean?
You realize that, but it takes maturity
to get there. – Yeah, and even in maturity,
you can learn how to go, like– You can actually learn
to be the opposite, and have someone in your life,
you’re like, “Oh, I’m pulling this along.
I’m–” – Sure, sure.
– I should just let go of this, ’cause clearly I’m the only one
that wants this thing. But, like, you can do that
with like harboring resentment– – Dan, I know what
you’re getting at, and the lead singer of Korn–
the lead singer of Korn has been texting me
back lately, so– – Jonathan Davis
doesn’t care about you. – He writes back though.
– No, he doesn’t. – Yeah, everybody says it
about Gary Clark and then he wrote back too,
but okay. I’m just letting you know,
don’t give me your number if you don’t want me
to text you ever. – Jonathan Davis, yeah. You just bring it up? Yeah. – I’m not gonna make it weird,
but I mean, once in a while, I’m gonna fucking say hey.
– It would be nice to get a text back.
(laughter) It would be nice
to get a text back. – It’s a lot of blue in them
Jonathan Davis texts. – “Hey.”
– There’s a lot. There’s a lot of swipe-ups
of blue and then like a, “Cool, man.”
Hey! He wrote back! – But I mean, even when–
It’s kind of cool to hear you say that,
’cause, you know, as a guy that looks up to you
and a guy that like– I mean, dude, “The Pesci Show”
with you and Colin is– Can I tell you?
That’s like one of the things that I remember clearly where
I was when I was watching it, like, as a fucking weird
13-year-old, just being like, “This is the funniest thing
I’ve ever seen in my life.” And it’s great to hear you
say stuff about, like, you know, Louis being a dick
to you and you’re like– ‘Cause I have this
incessant need to be liked. It’s pretty obvious, I talk
about it a lot on the show. – Yeah.
– And Louis C.K. is a god, and then I got in at the Cellar
and he would– – (whispers)
Everybody hates you. – Yeah, exactly.
But that’s how you walk around. And it was like Louis–
Louis didn’t dislike me, but Louis didn’t like me,
and for me, that was like a thing
where I’m like, “Do I suck? Am I–”
and the spiral out of control. And you hear someone else talk
about it, and it’s kind of like, “Oh, okay.
I’m just–” – And I gotta say, he never was
blatantly a dick to me. – Yeah.
– Just dismissive almost. – In my head…
– (Jay) Sure. – Yeah.
– In my head, he just didn’t like me ’cause he
didn’t give me the time of day and that really bothered me. – That’s the exact same thing.
And that, for me– – Chris Rock’s
never spoken to me in the thousand times
he’s walked past me. And you know what?
He’s threatened by me. (laughter) You know how I–
you know how I processed that? – Jay goes,
“He can feel my power “radiating off me. He understands
that I’m a titan.” – He can feel my
“Bigger and Blacker” is coming. – Yeah. Yeah, but it’s–
I think it’s like– It’s so fucking relieving
to hear someone else say that because you go through it
and then you’re, like, home, having shower arguments
with Louis C.K. where you’re like,
“Yeah, dude? “Well, you fucking jerked-off
in front of a lady and I’m a good dude!”
– (Jay) You know what it is? – And then you’re just
getting out and you’re like, “Dude, he did nothing to me,
and I’m just fucking–” – But when you trivialize your
own comedy, it’s the same thing. There’s a thing you do
that makes your comedy unique. You’re able to do impressions,
you do voices, you incorporate that
into your comedy. – But just what he said.
When he was saying– – But you think comics
like Dave Attell are like, “Cornball,” and you can’t
live in that. – (Dan) Exactly!
– You’re not doing your comedy for Attell.
That’s the big deal. It’s not for Attell,
your comedy. – I had that Maron moment
with Kevin Brennan, where I’m waiting
to go up and he– – Kevin?!
– Yeah. And he goes– Yeah, and he goes–
– I got stories about Kevin. – Yeah, but I’m about to go
on stage and he goes, “You gonna make ’em laugh
with your wrestling noises?” And it’s just like, I don’t
even know what that means! I don’t even know
what that means! And I like– But then
when I learned that that’s just Kevin
playing with you– – That’s Kevin.
– And I’m just like– right? When I learned that,
then I just go, “I’ll bite your fucking nose
off, old man.” And then he’s just like–
– Laughs. – Yeah, he laughs.
He texted me while I was on stage
and he was following me. Last week at the Cellar,
I’m on stage. I get off stage.
It’s a text from Kevin Brennan. It just says “hack.”
And then I write– And then I text him back,
“bitter asshole.” And then he texts me back,
he goes, “Oh, I was just sending you that
to throw you off when you’re on stage,”
and it’s like– – Yeah, he’s– That’s–
Kevin’s fucking nuts. – But when you realize that it–
– I love him. – Yeah, I love Kevin Brennan.
– But yeah. – When you realize
it’s not you– – Right.
– You– – –a gallon of bleach on the Anthony Cumia Show.
– He what? – He gave Artie
a gallon of bleach on the Anthony Cumia Show.
He’ll go for it. He’ll go for that punchline. – I’ve had those moments,
though. – Yeah, you just,
but it’s like, but I’m saying, like, if Jim Breuer’s
on our show being, like, “Yeah, fuckin’ Marc Maron
whispered that to me,” I’m like, oh, dude,
I’m just, like, 0 to 60, Dan’s just, like, barking
at the door. Like, arf! – Oh, dude, people know,
Judah Friedlander, early when I first
got to New York, would go, uh,
at the Boston Comedy Club. I– I’m always, like,
a wall-leaner– – Yeah.
– And I guess my elbow was up or something,
and he goes, “God, man,” he goes, “when you do comedy,
everyone’s just watch– “we’re all in the back,
just laughing, “’cause your hand,
when you talk, just keeps bouncing–”
it’s the thing to tell, like,
a three-year comic? You’re like, oh, God, just– just when I thought
I was pretty cool, I was working
the Boston Comedy Club– – Oh, fuck, this sucks,
oh, God, this sucks so bad. – You know what’s funny, I got
into the Boston Comedy Club, doing the Sunday night dare, which was their black show
with talent and Will Sylvince. – Talent, wow.
– And, uh, and that’s– – Will! Wow.
– Will Sylvince, yeah. Not to go back,
but, like, when– ’cause you said
you came back to Long Island, in your friend’s basement,
and then– – Yeah.
– –six months later was on Uptown Comedy Club. How did–
What was the lead-in to, like, you getting into
the black circuit of comedy? ‘Cause that show was, like,
– It was because of that. I– I got into that, and that honestly changed
my life on many levels. – I mean, that was
just an audition you did? – Yeah.
– You weren’t doing, like, black, you weren’t pulled out of
black comedy rooms– – No, no.
– Oh, interesting. – No, as a matter of fact,
that changed my life as far as…
on so many levels. I grew up in Valley Stream,
New York, where, in Long Island, at the end of my street
was the borderline. Across the street
was all black. We were all white.
– Yeah. Like Green Acres Mall. – So– So if
a black guy walk– if we went into
the black neighborhood, we’d instantly hear,
“Go home, white boy.” – Right.
– And if they walked down the street by us, the entire neighborhood
would stop, like a black bear was
walking down the street. It was like, “Holy shit,
this fuckin’–” you know,
“Hide the fat white chicks!” And fuckin’ “Hide your purses
and your bikes.” – And the fat white chicks were
like, “No, don’t hide me!” – (laughing)
– It was– – Who is this black bear?
– (laughing) – It was intense.
– I got some honey. – So, it was really intense. So, I grew up… uh, I’ll say racist. All I knew was,
black people, I thought
rape, killing, murder. I’m gonna get robbed.
So now– – Did your family
perpetuate that? They– – It was the news, it was the–
it was the culture. – Sure, okay.
– It was the culture. And, um, when I got Uptown Comedy Club,
now I’m in Harlem every single day.
– (laughter) – And all I remember was
how much it changed my life. And one of the greatest… I learned
so much about life. I saw a guy get shot.
– Really? – I– oh,
I’ll never forget– uh, a changing moment
for me was– there was a couple
big changing moments. One was Tracy Morgan was
on that show. And me and Tracy
became very close. And I know
this sounds crazy, but there was a guy
named Yi-Yi, and I don’t remember
Yi-Yi’s real name. – Yeah.
– And Yi-Yi wrote– Yi-Yi wrote the top cops. And Yi-Yi looked at me like
one animal looking at another. He’s like, “Yo, you put
stuff in your hair?” “I– what do you mean?”
He’s like, “You got, can I touch your hair?”
– (laughing) – Touch my hair? And he’s like,
“What– What is that that makes your hair
stand up?” He was fascinated
by my hair. And then I was like,
“Can I touch your hair?” I’d never touched
a black person’s hair. I’m being serious.
And– And– I remember being on the street,
and I heard– uh, and I heard, like, a… pop-pop-pop
pop-pop-pop. And it was on 125th and 5th. And Tracy came,
and he went, (as Tracy)
“Who got shot?” – (laughter) – And I went,
“You hear that? It was some–
it was fireworks.” He went,
“No, somebody got shot.” And I went,
“What do you–” And he went, “They hear it
across the street.” And I– to this day,
I’ll never forget. It was like a movie scene.
I looked across the street. And I saw a guy
on all fours, struggling for his life, and I–
I went numb. And I didn’t even pay attention
to the traffic, I just walked to him, and I’ll never forget
the image of this guy’s blood just streaming
out of his… – Ugh.
– …nuts, his head, dripping down on the sidewalk,
going into the curb, and down into the sewer. And people– there was
a big woman going, (as woman)
“Look at you now, muh-fucker! You stupid muh-fucker!
See? I told you!” And I’m like…
nobody gives a shit. Like, what is–
what is going on? This is so far from… – Yeah.
– …anything I’ve ever seen. – You didn’t feel there were
cops coming or anything? – No, and then–
and then the paramedics came, and they were, like–
I’m not exaggerating, they were, like,
telling jokes, and– and while they’re
telling jokes to each other and laughing, they’re like,
“You gotta stay still! “Hey! If you don’t stay still,
you’re gonna be dead! I don’t have to tell ya!”
– What year is this? Like, 1990…
– This is ’92, ’93. – So this is fucking right
before Giuliani– this is New York, like–
– Well, this is also– right before that,
there was a cop killed by the Nation of Islam. And I’ll never forget that. I was in a bodega. And there was a big
Nation of Islam guy behind me. – Yeah.
– And he started– he started in with me,
and I was scared to death. He was like,
“You white devil motherfucker! What you doin’ here,
motherfucker?!” And I went, oh, my God,
oh, my God, I’m dead. – Yeah.
– I’m dead. And he had leather j–
and then, um, what’s his name, Flex? – Yeah.
– Flex– – I love that, like–
– Flex! – Flex was a juice, too. – Flex said,
“Yo, man, “why don’t you get educated?
You don’t know this kid. “You don’t know
this white boy. “He’s more– He’s more– He’s got more soul
than you’ll ever have.” And those two start
going at it, and the–
and the Nation of Islam guy called him an Uncle Tom. And I was like,
what’s an Uncle Tom? – Yeah.
– What– like, what– what lingo’s going on here? And I learned
so much about life, culture, how demographics are held
in a position. – He goes,
wait, this is the story of how you became
“un-racist”? – Seriously, well–
– He’s telling the story of how you found out
Flex was an Uncle Tom. – (laughter)
– Well, yeah. And I–
I remember one day, I even remember one day,
that– that neighborhood loved me so much…
– Yeah. – …to the point
where now I was parking in the back streets,
and they were all, “Hey, what’s up, white boy?
What’s up?” – ‘Cause they knew you
from the show. – They knew me from the show.
– That’s awesome. – And they knew I–
I was non-judgmental– and I was like,
“I feel… so safe here.” And I remember going– walking
the back streets, and– and when I was really
comfortable there, and they loved me,
I’ll never forget, there was cops
chasing a guy down the street, and this guy was running
towards me, and I went, oh, my God,
I could take this guy out hard. – (laughing)
– I could be a hero to these cops.
– Yeah. – And I also saw
the whole neighborhood just watching,
and I went, if I take this guy out, they’re all gonna
turn on me. – Yeah, you’re
snitch of the city. – And I just went– pfft!
I let him run. And he got caught,
like, 20 feet up the road. But me and–
me and Tracy had about a three-hour
conversation about black, white,
welfare, drugs. Why ghettos exist. Why our mentalities–
and– and I swear on my life and my children’s lives,
to this day, I wish the entire world heard
that conversation, ’cause it would’ve
changed so many lives. And– And one of the things
that really– I’ll never forget going back
to my neighborhood, and– you know, ’cause
you wanna fluff your feathers, and I’m on TV, and I went to this bar that I used to go to
all the time. And one of the kids
from high school that was a star came up to me–
this part’s heavy, I don’t know if I should say it.
– No, let it rip. – And he–
and this is– this is when I realized
how much I changed, but how much…
we’re brainwashed and how much…
it’s– it’s– you’re just brainwashed. Racism is
brainwashing. And he goes–
on both sides– it’s not just white people,
that’s another fucking farce. – We do excel at it, though. – No, we do good, but trust me,
it’s not just us. – We’re on– We’re on–
– I mean, I’m– if you’re born
varsity, though. – Yeah, no, yeah, yeah.
– We’re basically creating the west coast offense
of racism. – We just–
We just handle it more in a subliminal manner. – Right? You know what I mean.
We’re not so vocal about it. – Racist– Racist defense
gains championships. – We’re just smarter
about it, you know, ’cause we’re white.
– (laughter) – The Europeans
have mastered this since– – Very white.
– –AD. – Very white.
Very very white over there. – Right, AD, they’ve been
fucking masterminding this shit. And I swear on my life, this is a moment
that changed my entire life. Guy comes up to me,
he’s like, “Yeah, fuck yeah,
I see you on TV.” He goes, “What’s it like
working with them?” But he said the word,
and I went– I just looked at him, went… “Yo, it’s– it’s–
it’s not what you think. It– no, I’m actually
friends with–” He went, he went, “You’re friends…
with that?” And I went, “Yo… – Yeah.
– And then, I swear to God, I’ll never forget,
he went, he looked at me, he got mad at me,
and he went, “Oh, I get it, ’cause
you get a salary from them.” And he just couldn’t
comprehend… his hatred was so powerful. – I hope you didn’t try
to explain it to him, because honest to God–
– I did, but it– it, I knew right there–
– Deaf ears. – It’s deaf ears.
– Yeah. – And that made me go,
holy shit, like, this is… how do you even begin
to change something like this? – I think there is a time
where it’s too late for people. I’ve had to just,
in a smaller scale, with just comedy people,
I said, trying to explain to somebody
who waits in line of fans to tell me
they thought I sucked, and I should change
what I do, versus going, like,
don’t you feel like maybe you just didn’t like it? And maybe
I’m not your thing? Like, people don’t see
that kind of thing– you know, so–
– But it’s also– – For that guy to walk up with– I’m sorry, Dan,
but for that guy to walk up with the confidence,
he goes, “I’m gonna drop
a couple of n-bombs,” he goes, this guy’s
gonna be into it. Like, like, the thing
he knows where you’re from. And just going– he goes,
this guy’s definitely gonna jump
on my n-bomb path here. – This is–
This is gonna work. Also, I– it’s like one of
those things, sorry, but it’s like one of those things
we were just talking about, where it’s someone else’s shit
spilling on you. Like, this guy is popular
in high school. He’s watching
his life slip away, realizing that high school
might’ve been the pinnacle– – Right, right.
– And you’re on fuckin’ TV. Showing up, the one thing
he’s got on you– he’s like, fuck it,
let me just be racist as shit to try to make him
feel bad that he’s– – But that’s–
But I can honestly say… five years
before that, that would’ve been me.
– Yeah. – So, and I’m not gonna–
and I hate when people like– “He said the n-word in 1977!” Oh, please.
– Yeah. – So…
– (laughing) – People grow, people learn
about life, people grow– – For the record,
I said it 2:07pm today. – –they mature, if I was
judged for things I did in 1983, 1984, ’85,
I might be in jail. – Yeah.
– So… – …he’s loose.
– But that– that– that… I don’t know
why I brought all that up, but, like,
comedy’s one thing. – Well, I’ll say
it’s an interesting life– – It changed my life–
the Uptown Comedy Club was the greatest thing that
ever happened to me in my life. – That’s awesome.
– I grew up in a neighborhood that was relatively mixed
and became… blacker as I got older. And then I moved
to South Jersey, which was really white–
very few black people. and then, when I started going
back to Philly to do comedy, it was the black comedy club,
and that’s sort of where… uh… I landed and started for
the first two or three years, it was mostly what I did was
the black comedy circuit. And I mean,
less than a year in, I don’t remember going,
like, in the beginning, there was places
that were scary, and there was places
where things happened that were bad and scary. But I didn’t go to gigs
with that thing always like, oh, man,
we’re going into, like, …rougher,
Manhattan proper, like, in– in Brooklyn,
they’d be like, “That’s the room, like, boy,
if it goes bad for a second–” but I kinda
always knew, also, I had to pander enough
to be like, I know how to be the white guy
at these black shows. You know what I mean?
I know how to– – Let me do my white guy… only in a room
of black people– – You wanna hear
something funny? This is the… so, years later, okay, years later,
my wife’s… gets born again,
it’s another whole story, okay? You get into that story. And she has–
she’s getting involved at the local church
and whatever. So I said, hey,
I get sweets at Shea Stadium. and she goes, “Do you ever think
you would take them?” They’re all Cubs fans,
’cause they’re from Wisconsin. The pastor and– I said, why don’t I take him
to a Mets game? So, we’re going
to the Mets game from Jersey, and we’re in
the worst traffic ever. So I get off the Harlem River
drive, and I went, “All right,
go through Harlem.” ‘Cause I know Harlem.
So, as I’m going through Harlem, I– I– on my kids’ lives, I’m going through, and I see
these people, like, petrified, – Yeah.
– They are like, “Oh, my God, “oh, my God,
if we break down, this is the worst place
we could be.” – From Wisconsin, so they’re
completely out of their element. – Way out of their element,
and I swear on my life, you can’t even– if you wrote
this in a movie scene, they’d go,
“It’s too over-the-top.” We’re at a red light, and I looked
at this guy, Shaun, who was sitting next to me,
I went, Shaun, I know you look worried,
but I gotta be honest with you. If it–
If it all went down, this is the place
I would go, because this is the place
I would feel the safest. I said, this community would
welcome me with open arms. And he looked at me,
and went “Really?” And just as that happened,
I hear POW! And I looked, and there’s
a guy with his wife and kids. He’s like, “Yo, let me get
a picture, Jim Breuer!” – (laughter) – “I love you, man,
you real! You real!” And I went, oh, shit!
– That’s so great. – Oh, shit! And it happened
at every red light, and– and it wasn’t like, “You’re the guy
from ‘Half-Baked.'” They were like,
you’re the guy from Uptown– – Uptown Comedy Club.
– That’s fuckin’– – You’re the real guy.
– –awesome, dude, that’s fuckin’ great. – That’s your audience, dude.
85-year-old men. – White–
White, confused old men. – Camel-skin jacket–
– Hey, do I know you? – –this is
my audience right here. Guy talking to himself. – (laughter) – This guy,
big fan of mine. Yeah– (grunting) Love “Degenerates,” dude.
(grunting) – Yeah, go, whoa, whoa!
Miss “Z-Rock”! – (grunting) – I tell you the frogs are–
eating the damn lizards. And by the way, man, “Z-Rock”
was, like, my favorite show. – (grunting)– Your
reference work is immaculate. Hits me every time,
I don’t know, maybe I guess
I’m the audience. (grunting) – Should not eat it,
I said I’d eat it. Hey, doggie, say what’s up
to Luis J. for me! – (grunting) …yeah,
that would make total sense. (laughing)
Hey, doggie. ♪♪ (kindling crackling) – I think I’m gonna smoke
a little more. – What? You’re such
a bad boy… It’s 5:45. – Yeah, play by
my own set of rules. – –this week. – She’s got questions
for you. – Revelation. – This is Mafee,
from “Billions.” – Stop it.
– (laughter) – Oh, shit, he’s taking
a picture of me. – (laughter) – Yeah, yeah,
your eyes don’t deceive you. – How’re you doing?
– That’s him. – $5 for a meet and greet. Let’s start making
some fuckin’ coin off this. – Guys, stop pinching
yourself, it’s him. – Whoo, you know me–
– You’re awake. – –from such scenes as–
– Oh, for sure. – –you’re fired, you’re hired.
– For sure, he’s saying to his friend right now,
he goes, “Oh, man, this guy’s– he’s here, man!”
– Get down here, he’s live! It’s Mafee live!
– I– great day to wear my tightest sweater
over a button-down. – He goes, “Oh, my God,
I wanna look like pants that I fuckin’ grew into.” – Goddamn, that guy’s ass
fills those things out. – I mean, what a tush.
– –really, I’m jealous of that. Oh, Mafee. – My old…
– I’mma take a panorama. – My old nemesis.
– Time to get a pan– oh, this guy, he’s trying
so hard to see you. He’s almost muscular. – Should I go kiss him?
– Mm-hmm. – Just run up
and go, hey, hey! – Hey, dude–
– “What are you doing?” “What do you think I’m doing?
What are you doing?” – Huh?
How much do I get? Wanna meet Axe?
– What are you doing? – I go, you wanna–
you wanna get Axe? – You wanna meet Axe?
– Huh? – You wanna be the big dog? –big dog?
What are we doing now? – Are we touching knees?
– Are we doing– you rub me, I rub you?
Seesaw? Seesaw? Seesaw?
– (laughing) – Dude, he’s seesawing
with a fat guy right now
in the courtyard. I swear to God, down here–
– Dude, I swear to God, yeah-yeah-yeah–
♪ Walking around ♪ ♪ Christmas tree ♪ – Mafee from “Billions”
sings the standards. – Hey, how are you? ♪ Welcome to Mid-town ♪ ♪ I’m trading up! ♪ – This is my town,
everybody. – Hey, I’m Mafee! Your favorite character! – I wish you could do
one of those moves where you jump up on the chair and, like,
step down in the back, and it goes–
– And smash my face. – Into– into those chairs! (mimics crash)
– Dude, I would break this thing with my head. – I’ll give it a shot,
if you give it a shot. – No.
– Nobody give it a shot. – No.
– You don’t think I could do it? – If you show Jacob
this footage right now– – You don’t think I’m graceful
enough that I could do that? – There’s no way you could
do that, and I don’t want you– – Bet me $5. – (lisping)
–so you have to talk like this for, like, a whole month–
– Bet me $5. Yeah, Mafee from
“Billions” is telling me I can’t do a chair-walk.
– I’m a doubter. – You guys picked a good time
to come to New York. – Something that
we learned at Ax Capital. (indistinct) What would– all right,
there’s no way you can do it. Dude. There’s no way
you can do that. – The move
where you step up on it, and then it slowly goes–
– The Charlie– the Charlie–
the Charlie Chaplin. – No, that’s a long drop
on your knees. – Yeah, dude. – Why are you trying to play me
out for everybody? Yes, Miss, it’s Mafee
from “Billions.” – Hi, how are ya?
– It’s not what you think. We’re out here doing–
– I’m a regular guy. – It’s more about–
– I walk and talk and drink Dunkin’ Donuts.
– It’s more about me doing this thing right now. – Jay–
– Yeah, get your stares out. Get your stares in,
everybody, there he is, in the flesh.
– Jay, stop it. This is about you. I need–
you can’t do this. – Please don’t! – You think I can’t–
can I definitely not? Maybe not in these shoes.
– Look how high up it is! – Maybe not in these shoes.
– Also the way it’s weighted. – –stepstool.
– Huh? – You don’t like going
on the stepstool. – Why are you telling
my friends all of my secrets? – Is it that…
(laughing) Come hold my spot! – (laughing) Jay, you know you have
that third nipple you’re afraid they’re gonna see
if you go to the hospital. Shut up!
– Jay, you get queasy when you get off-balance. – (laughter) – Jay, you get nervous
when you see three people at the same time
walking together. – (laughing)
– Shut up, Christine! – Jay, you cry
at cold showers! So nobody wants me to do it? Tell you what, film crew could
be more encouraging. She can’t wait to get on
WorldStarHipHop. – Yeah, they’re looking,
they’re looking for content. – “Big Jay Goes Down.”
– They just want you busting your ass. They don’t wanna see–
– Either way– – They don’t wanna say
Jay Oakerson thrive. – Can I not do it?
– This is a not-thrive situation.
– I can’t do this? – Um–
– I would not suggest trying it on concrete
for the first time. – Can I do it?
I gotta do it. Can I– Can I say this?
– Yeah. – I’ll do it on Sweatpants Day.
– Okay. All right. All right, sure. – I agree, this might
not be the look. – No, it’s not
the floor for it. – Huh?
– It’s not the floor for it. You need, like,
a wrestling mat before you try it–
– What? – Janet Jackson used
a wrestling mat? – What?
What is that? That’s something you say
coming out of a nap. – Janet Jackson…
(laughing) …she used
her own wrestling mat. Janet Jackson used
a wrestling mat. – “Jay, we gotta go.” Janet Jackson had
a– a wrestling mat. – Hang on, yes, sir,
it’s me. Jay Oakerson in the flesh,
your favorite. “I knew it was you.”
(grunting) Let’s go up. Get this on camera.
Big Jay Oakerson cares. – (laughing) (kindling crackling) – Hey, this is Dan Soder
and Big Jay Oakerson from “The Bonfire”
on Comedy Central Radio. Sirius XM 95. Come back next Thursday
for a new episode of “The Bonfire.” I say “The Bonfire” a lot. – You said my name.
– I did, dude. ‘Cause I love you.

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