On Jan. 26, 2021, a veteran posted a message on the Facebook page of a celebrity with 750,000 followers and a long resume at IMDB. The message read: “Hey man, 15 year army vet with nothing very down on my luck hungry please pray for me so ready to give up.”
The celebrity quickly responded in two posts: “Never give up .. one of your moments, one of your comments can give life to someone you don’t even know 🙏🙏🙏” and “turn to the great healer … the creator of all…”
That celebrity was comedian Jim Breuer, famous for his stint on “Saturday Night Live” in the 1990s, his stoner movie “Half-Baked,” and several hilarious comedy specials.
Breuer is taking an unusual, and perhaps increasingly dangerous, tack for a comedian trying to make a living in our hyper-woke age: he’s mocking the irrationalities and absurdities of our progressivist culture. As his Facebook post shows, he’s being more open about his faith. I recently talked with him about his latest work.
Breuer is concerned about how the coronavirus is being exploited to control Americans for political power and financial gain. He is suspicious of the shutdown and the mask mandates. “Not a good intention,” he claims. “The less we think as a society, the more dangerous we become,” he notes.
He argues that most political discourse today is akin to “studying for a test and then just spitting back the questions and the answers.” Indeed, he has posted some messages on social media as a “test” to just see how many of his followers will be triggered.
The concern with brain-washing is visible in his comedy set. In one of his funniest new routines, Breuer derides his daughter’s college miseducation and its hyper-focus on victimhood:
She came home…. I said: ‘Hey, how you doin’?’ She said: ‘Can’t say that! Racist! Sexist! Racist! LGBTQ! Gender! Gender! Gender! 16 genders! 20 genders! Homophobic! Homophobic! You can’t say that! You can’t say that! Racist! Sexist! You’re a sexist, dad! You’re a racist, mom! Mom’s a racist! Homophobic, homophobic! LGBTQ! Rights! Rights! My rights! Female rights! Women’s rights! People’s rights! We have rights!….’
Incredulous at his daughter’s Pavolovian leftism, Breuer declares: “And I’m paying for that! What a racket! I said, ‘I want my money back, you came back uneducated!’”
Breuer’s brand of comedy — once deemed harmless and well-meaning— has become a target of leftist activists ever-eager for fresh blood. After a recent radio interview in which he made some playful stereotypical remarks about Irish Bostonians, Italian New Yorkers, and Latinos, Twitter erupted with attacks labeling him a racist, incited by an edited clip.
Anyone who has watched Breuer knows such an allegation is ridiculous. “I was insulted, I was hurt, because clearly this human being doesn’t know me…. That’s the problem with Twitter.”
To counteract this negativity, the comedian makes good-faith efforts to use social media for good, including by reaching out to his followers. “The minute I discovered just how much influence you can have in a positive way just by a simple thing I say or a simple joke I put out there… the minute I discovered how inspiring and healing for people… I was drawn a lot more than that than anything else that comes with it…. It keeps me in check.”
Breuer’s positive message might be best described as “love thy neighbor.” He jokingly declares: “You know what they used to call therapists back in the day? Friends!…. We in society have learned that we have to pay for everything. We don’t have to pay for everything. Laughter, intention, understanding, a smile, forgiveness, finding common ground is what is going to make society better.”
He also urges his fans to step away from the vicious, self-destructive 24/7 news cycle: “If you turn everything off… stop all of it… and give yourself a month, and you’ll see how addicted you are… and when you come back you’ll see clearly everything is agenda-driven.”
His comedy is apolitical, in part because he believes so much of contemporary political debate is nothing better than “professional wrestling,” and he thinks few people know what they are talking about. Although he acknowledges that he’s heard from friends that SNL has become too politicized, he couldn’t comment, because he doesn’t watch television.
This is in large part because he grows impatient with the implicit agendas he thinks pervade the programming. “When’s the last time you saw a solid, real husband on television? And I’ll ask you, why do you think that is? It’s very obvious — if you can’t pick up an agenda, you’ve been blinded.”
Some of Breuer’s most insightful comedy discusses how technological developments like Twitter are damaging American society. He describes how addictive and atomizing cell phones have become for an entire generation of young Americans, including his own children. “I hate that thing,” he says of his kids’ cell phones. “They look at it like drugs,” he declares, as he mimics his kids acting like addicts when they go a few hours without their mobile devices.
Breuer is a welcome relief from the acrimonious insanity that defines daily national discourse and unmoors us from what is most important. “If every day you wake up and you’re watching five to six hours of it, it starts to darken your soul. If you spent even 10 percent of that time on your wife, husband, child or someone else you love, your personal life would get better and you could help so many people,” he writes.
With exhortations on self-improvement and loving one’s neighbor, Breuer might be described as the comedic fellow-traveler of the more serious and articulate Jordan Peterson. “Do something you can control that’s good, because you can’t fight hate with more hate. Let’s concentrate on the most important things in life,” he says.
Although he obviously doesn’t take himself too seriously, Breuer is serious about trying to deter the further fraying chords of our national fabric. “We are all stuck here together,” he says on his Facebook page, meaning that Americans need to learn to stop participating in a deadly cancel culture that makes the public square a deadly minefield pitting citizens against one another. He even has a podcast in which he seeks to tell uplifting stories about everyday Americans.
Regarding his increased willingness to talk about God and faith, he explains: “I’ve always had it [faith]. I’ve always been fearful of putting too much out there… which is a little ridiculous…. I don’t know what I am…I can tell you that I pray, I pray a lot and meditate. I want people to know there is a more powerful source to dip into.”
Asked about further plans, he declares he intends to “Hit hard in the God and faith world. I’m more excited about it than anything else. During COVID, I’ve become fearless.” Such topics, he says will be at the forefront of his touring by fall 2021. He is also taping more podcasts, as well as starting “Breakfast with Breu” — a half-hour breakfast call over Zoom with fans.
“I’m in it for the human game, not how big is my next house game,” says Breuer. That human game, most importantly, is his family. He’s often on the road providing for them — he admitted to a New Hampshire newspaper that he hasn’t made much money since February 2020.
“I’m not worried,” declares Breuer. “I’ve also never felt so at peace.” If Breuer can bring some of that peace into the lives of other Americans suffering perhaps the most terrible period of their lives, while also exposing the follies of hyper-sensitive, digitally addicted leftism, God be with him.
Casey Chalk is a Senior Contributor at The Federalist, columnist for The American Conservative, Crisis Magazine, and The New Oxford Review. He has a bachelors in history and masters in teaching from the University of Virginia, and masters in theology from Christendom College.