INTERVIEWS

Brian Posehn: Hardcore Nerd, Metal Head, Comic.

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brian posehn suscWe’ve seen Brian Posehn’s distinctive cranium on Friends, Seinfeld, Just Shoot Me, The Sarah Silverman Program and of course on Mr. Show. He also pops up in Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer, Devil’s Rejects and the animated version of Clerks. Numerous voice-over work, comedy writing and live appearances with the Comedians of Comedy have solidified Posehn’s position as the nerdiest/metalist/hardcore geek in showbiz. SUSC was very happy to get a few minutes with Posehn and talk about the early years and his latest unlikely collaboration.

 

DNA: Hey Brian.

Brian Posehn: Hey DNA, how ya doing?

I was interested in how you went from being a college student at Sacramento State University to getting your foot in the door of Hollywood. Was that your plan in college?

Uhm, no. I dropped out of school. Well, what happened was I started to mess around with stand-up in Sacramento. I loved it, but I wasn’t sure because people were telling me how horrid it would be trying to make a living doing it. My mom wasn’t super encouraging either, so I had said I would give it a year. So I started working and I started getting gigs, and I started to get one-nighters and it looked promising. I moved to LA once and nothing happened—except I ended up breaking my back actually. I had a dumb drunk accident. So I went home to Northern California to start over. Then, I moved to San Francisco after my accident and then kind of, sort of became reinvigorated. While I was lying in the hospital bed I thought “I’ve got to get serious about stand-up”. So I did, I spent three years obsessing on it in San Francisco and then the bottom threatened to fall out the comedy scene in the 90s. Clubs were closing in the city and clubs were closing in other places. So a bunch of us younger guys got panicky because we weren’t headliners yet and couldn’t make a living off it, and it felt like it was dying. So,  started writing sketches. As far as acting, I moved to LA to write for TV and fell into the acting. Because, you know, I guess I’m goofy looking and I fit a type.

When you first started performing in Sacramento, who were your peers you were performing with that are still doing it?

From Sacramento, nobody who lived up there. But I knew Andy Kindler through that world. He would come up to Sacramento to perform at a little mic that I would perform at. That was the first time we met.

What was the mic in Sac called?

The Metro.

Was Kindler as bitter and angry back then?

He was hilarious. He was funny the second you met him—funny in conversation and funny onstage. His act has progressed—it has gotten curmudgeonlier over the years. He started with hating the audience, he probably hated the audience his first time on stage.

You had a full career behind the screen, but you went back to stand-up. Were you missing that hit of being on stage?

When I wrote on Mr. Show in the mid-90s to the beginning of the 2ooo’s, I wasn’t really doing stand-up that much. I was doing these alternative rooms in LA, and those were the only places I was going up—I wasn’t really enjoying traditional comedy clubs—for a while. Because, I was in LA and I was busy doing other things, and writing took me away from it. I didn’t really miss it either. But once I got back in and started messing around in these fun rooms, I got really into it again. I felt like I had gotten better, found my voice. But now the last 10—15 years it hasn’t stopped, I’m out almost every weekend.

When you rebooted your stand-up career, you went from playing fun small rooms in LA to performing for 80,000 at Bonneroo in Tennessee—that must be different.

There’s a huge difference—but confidence gets you a long way.

Were you working with the Comedians of Comedy on other projects before you hit the road?

Well, definitely Patton (Oswalt). As far as Eugene (Mirmen) and Maria (Bamford) and Zack (Galifinakis), I didn’t know them that well before we did the Comedians of Comedy Tour. But tour around in a motor home for a while and you really get to know people. We became friends, I mean we were all acquaintances, so better friends—way better friends after being in that van for a while.

Reunion?

It’s still Patton’s thing, it always was, so really if he ever decides to do it, I’m in, in a second. Some people, like Zack might be a harder person to get.

Question from Matt Loomis: Pig Destroyer or Anal Cunt?

(laughter) Pig Destroyer. Was the question “who plays my kids birthday party?”

Loomis: Are you as worried as the rest of us now that Blaine is DMing for Nerd Poker?

Not worried, uhm, I’ll definitely have some characters die after his watch.

Conor O’Bryan asks: why hasn’t Vin Diesel been on Nerd Poker yet? 

We keep trying. I’ve actually been close to him. It was shoutable, but it’s a weird thing to yell at someone in a parking lot, “Come do my podcast!” Although people do it.

You are going to be playing The Catalyst, a legendary rock venue in Santa Cruz.

I love it and I like it rock clubs more than anything. Rock clubs have become my favorite place to perform. Rock clubs and small old theatres.

Do you deal with hecklers at your shows?

No, mainly because I don’t get a ton of hecklers. Who is going to pay whatever they are charging, to come yell at me? You get hecklers when they don’t know what to expect from a show. I feel like if you’re a headliner you really don’t get too many people who come who don’t know who you are. Sometimes my hecklers are encouraging—I have the drunk people who are my fans, they are on my side and maybe they are yelling “Slayer” too loudly or that kind of thing. But it’s the not the traditional kind of heckler you would then have to assault and make them look bad.

I saw that your new movie Uncle Nick is produced by the legendary documentary film maker Errol Morris.

He produced our movie. He’s from Cleveland and our movie was shot in Cleveland and our director and writer both grew up there. And somehow they made a connection through him and he loved it. He’s going to try and get us into festivals.

The Fartist and The Fog of War seem like such an unlikely combination.

For sure. Our movie has a documentary feel or a pace to it. It’s my story and it all takes place in one night of my screwing up Christmas. It makes sense if you see it.

I believe it!

Brian Posehn will be performing at The Catalyst in Santa Cruz on Friday, June 6th. Tickets are available here: http://www.ticketfly.com/event/535051-brian-posehn-santa-cruz/

 

Interviews
05/14/2014

Comments

One response to “Brian Posehn: Hardcore Nerd, Metal Head, Comic.”

  1. Wes says:

    These interviews are amazing!!!

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