Brian Posehn on Sarah Silverman, hipsters, and the dangers of telling Juggalos you don’t smoke weed
By Jason Webber
First impressions are everything and here was an unforgettable one – a chubby, bespectacled dude who looked like the owner of a vinyl-only music store, who was making a sandwich of raw spaghetti and jelly for a diaper-clad David Cross on the groundbreaking HBO sketch comedy series “Mr. Show With Bob and David.” I fell in heterosexual man-love at first sight with Brian Posehn and his wry, pop culture-laced humor has kept millions of people laughing for 20 years. Since his humble beginnings as a bit player on “Mr. Show,” Posehn has acted in such shows as “The Sarah Silverman Program,” “Mission Hill” and several Rob Zombie projects, including “The Devil’s Rejects” and “The Haunted World of El Superbeasto” (holla!). But first and foremost, Posehn is a comic – and a damn funny one – who will be appearing at Dayton’s Funny Bone from Thursday, Sept. 6 through Sunday, Sept. 9. Dayton City Paper got Posehn on the phone for a few minutes to discuss his uproarious career.
The first time I saw you, you were making a sandwich of raw spaghetti and jelly for David Cross on “Mr. Show with Bob and David.” What’s your favorite memory of working on that show.
Oh, man, that’d have to be the first time we did “Titanica,” that live reenactment. The great thing about that show was that we taped a lot of the sketches live. Some were pre-taped but when we did them live, the feeling was insane. It reminded me of standup, just the reaction you would get from the crowd. It was a big surprise, all those big reveals. People just went out of their minds when we did that sketch. I had written it, so it was a really great feeling. It’s one of those shows that still endures. After doing a show like that, you’re kind of spoiled. We were allowed to do anything we thought of. –Brian Posehn
How did you meet Sarah Silverman?
I met her while doing standup in New York. It was one of my first times in New York and I was taping a show for – it wasn’t even Comedy Central back then, it was still the Comedy Channel – but it was one of those standup shows from the early 90s and she was on the show, too. She was really young, she was only like 19 and I’m a bit older than her, but I was really new to standup. It was literally my first TV show, so it was kind of nerve-wracking. But we’ve been friends ever since. -BP
Did you two ever date?
No, I kind of stayed away from dating other standups. I had one experience with another standup – Kathy Griffin – and it didn’t work out well. It’s a weird thing to date within that group. It’s rather incestuous sometimes. I watched other people date within our group and it never worked out well. But no, Sarah has always been like my little sister and I was always really protective of her. -BP
You performed at the Gathering of the Juggalos last year. What was that like?
It was just as insane as you’d expect it to be. I took it for the experience that I expected it to be. I’m not a big fan of (Insane Clown Posse) but I’d always heard so much about (Juggalos) and I actually found out from just being on Facebook that I actually had a lot of fans who just happened to be Juggalos. It was strange because me and Harlan Williams went on at 4 a.m. right after there had been backyard wrestling on the stage, so before we went on, they had to clean up all of the broken fluorescent light bulbs and mop up all the blood. The kids were all intoxicated on different things and I had quit smoking pot so when I mentioned quitting pot, they all booed me, so I had to dig myself out of a hole. But it was fun. Unlike any other standup show I’ve ever done. -BP
You’re known for being an avid heavy metal fan. What are you listening to these days?
Well, I still listen to all the stuff I grew up with – Slayer, Iron Maiden, Ozzy, Randy Rhoads. I don’t just listen to metal, though. I used to work at a record store and even though I was always a metalhead, I was introduced to a lot of other stuff. There was the new wave girl who introduced me to stuff, there was the white Rastafarian who got me to listen to stuff. The Pixies are one of my all-time favorite bands. -BP
The media sometimes calls you a “hipster” comedian. How does Brian Posehn define the term “hipster?”
Well, I think that I’m not a hipster. I think a lot of hipsters have moved on from me. I’m too old to be a hipster now. A hipster to me is just someone who’s of the moment. It definitely comes from that alternative scene, which I know was hip at one point, and I always felt it was weird being called “alternative.” To me, it was like being called a grunge band. It was just a title that other people came up with. I’m just a comic. -BP
Brian Posehn performs at the Dayton Funny Bone in The Greene from Thursday, Sept. 6 through Sunday, Sept. 9. Showtimes and ticket prices vary. Visit www.daytonfunnybone.com for more information.
Reach DCP freelance writer Jason Webber at JasonWebber@DaytonCityPaper.com.