The slayer of comedy

The slayer of comedy

Brian Posehn laughs it up and rocks out at McGuffy’s House of Rock

By Matt Clevenger

Brian Posehn.

Brian Posehn has done it all. Known for his recurring roles on classic sitcoms like “Just Shoot Me,” “Seinfeld,” “NewsRadio” and “Friends,” he also wrote and performed in HBO’s “Mr. Show,” and currently stars as Brian Spukowski on Comedy Central’s “The Sarah Silverman Program.” He’s written comic books, his voice-over work has been featured on TV shows and video games ranging from “Halo 2” to the PBS children’s series “WordGirl,” and he’s appeared in a long list of high-profile films including “The Devil’s Rejects,” “Super High Me,” “Dumb and Dumberer” and “Sarah Silverman: Jesus is Magic.”

He’s also one of the country’s most successful stand-up acts, known for popular tours with comedians like Patton Oswalt and Zach Galifianakis, as well as his two critically-acclaimed comedy albums “Live In: Nerd Rage” and “Fart and Weiner Jokes.” Posehn still tours regularly and the veteran of comedy stages at Bonnaroo and Lollapalooza music festivals will bring his hilarious stage show to Dayton for the first time this week, appearing at McGuffy’s House of Rock with opening act Orange Willard on Friday, Feb. 25.

“I’ve never performed in Dayton before,” Posehn said during a recent interview. “But I’m looking forward to it. I hear good things about the club I’m coming to, so it should be fun.”

“I’m doing more rock clubs this time around,” he added. “It’s just more fun … it’s easier on the fans, too, because it’s cheaper. The cover is less and they’re also not expected to pay for drinks and a meal, and all that stuff that you get at a comedy club. It’s kind of a more laid back experience.”

Ironically, Posehn says he never planned on performing stand-up at all, until some friends encouraged him to get onstage at a local comedy club. “It wasn’t something I ever thought I could do,” he said. “But I had these friends when I was about 20 that thought I was funny … they thought I could do it and we went to a comedy club in Sacramento the week I turned 21. It’s been a long time since then, but I never stopped.”

Relapse Records released his debut comedy album “Live In: Nerd Rage” in 2006 and since then Posehn has become one of the most instantly recognizable faces in stand-up comedy. His second album, “Fart and Weiner Jokes,” was released in 2010, and his act, which often focuses on themes such as pot smoking and death metal, is one of the most popular live comedy shows on the road today.

“Metal is something I’ve been a fan of for a long time,” he said. “It’s something I talk about to a certain extent in my stand up act too … Metallica, Iron Maiden and Rush are probably my three all-time favorite bands.”

“I’ve done a couple of songs on my comedy albums,” he added. “But I just write the lyrics and then sing or yell, whatever the song requires … I have a lot of friends that are in famous metal bands, so I used them. I called in a bunch of favors and had my friends play the instruments. They’re all really talented guys, so I’m lucky.”

Posehn’s success has allowed him to pursue other interests, as well, including his lifelong fascination with comic books and the comedian is now writing his second comic with collaborator Gerry Duggan. “I’ve been a fan my whole life, so I did a comic book about five years ago called “The Last Christmas.” The new one I’m working on is with my same writing partner, this friend of mine, Gerry Duggan. He’s a really funny, talented guy.”

Stand-up remains Posehn’s first love, however, and he still prefers doing live performances over all his other side projects. “Stand-up is what I’m most loyal to,” he said. “It’s the thing I’ve been doing the longest, and through stand-up, I’ve been able to do all these other fun things. I’m still a big fan of stand-up comedy; I love watching my friends and I love performing it.”

“That’s the one I get the biggest rush from,” he explained. “I love sitting here in my house, thinking of material, and then getting up on stage that night and proving that it works. It’s a real rush. It’s a common thing that stand-ups talk about, but I definitely still get that high from it, taking this idea and flushing it out in front of people, and actually getting their approval and their connection. It’s pretty cool.”

“My stand-up act always reflects who I am at that time and what I’m going through,” he added. “For the longest time, I was a guy in my 20s and then 30s that still acted like I was 15. I still loved heavy metal, and hanging out with my friends and doing dumb stuff, playing video games and that kind of stuff. Now I’m sort of being forced to grow up. I got married six years ago, and became a dog owner and now I’m a parent. I have a one-and-a-half year-old little boy. It’s totally changed me, but I’m trying not to let it change my comedy.”

Posehn is currently writing a new stand-up album, which he said should be out sometime before Christmas 2011 and working on a new one-hour special for Comedy Central. “The material people will see in Dayton is what I’m working on for my next record,” he said. “The idea is to shoot a new special and record a new comedy record in the summer. We’re talking to Comedy Central already about doing an hour for them and shooting it in the summer, then hopefully having an album out by Christmas.”

Brian Posehn will appear at McGuffy’s House of Rock on Friday, Feb. 25 with opening act Orange Willard. Tickets are $15, doors open at 7 p.m. and the show starts at 8 p.m. More information can be found online at www.brianposehn.com or www.mcguffys.net.

Reach DCP freelance writer Matt Clevenger at contactus@daytoncitypaper.com.

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