Not High, but With Tales to Tell: Jim Breuer on 'Saturday Night Live'

Breuer reveals what happened on "Saturday Night Live" in the '90s in a new book.

October 4, 2010, 5:17 AM

Oct. 4, 2010 — -- Let's get this out of the way: Jim Breuer's not high. By his own admission, the comedian with the heavy-lidded eyes has "looked wrecked" since the age of 6 (and, at times, "Saturday Night Live's" famous Goat Boy and Joe Pesci impersonator has been under the influence as well -- but that part of life is behind him now).

His stories are not the fantastical, rambling tales of a stoner. They're revealing portraits of what happened behind the scenes at "SNL" during his 1994-1998 tenure there, before he went on to star in "Half Baked" with Dave Chappelle and, more recently, develop a family-friendly style of comedy better suited to a married father of three, which he is now.

Below, check out Breuer's "SNL" revelations, culled from his new memoir "I'm Not High: But I've Got a Lot of Crazy Stories About Life as a Goat Boy, a Dad, and a Spiritual Warrior" and his sit down with

"He'd told my agent he thought I might have been 'on something' at the audition. When I went to Lorne's office, [before being cast on the show] he just sat there eating from a big bowl of popcorn. It was the strangest and most awkward business meeting I'd ever attended. He didn't say much at all as I rambled on uncomfortably about my accomplishments. Eventually he came out with 'I should tell you that some people want you here, and some don't.' Not exactly a vote of confidence for me."

"Goat Boy was one of two characters I would do at bars, trying to pick up girls and get free drinks. I would pretend I had Tourette's, but instead of cursing, I'd use the goat noise. Like, 'Hey man, can I get couple beers and [baaah] we're going to do some [baaah] shots.' The more I would commit, the harder people would laugh, and then someone would just go, 'Drinks are on us tonight.'"

"During the rehearsal all week, and into the dress rehearsal Saturday night, Chris was riding Norm about not doing the proper Rod Sterling voice ... Just as everyone in the sketch was trying to concentrate, Norm finally spoke up, unleashing a brutal tirade. 'Hey, ah, Chris, Pamela knows you're gay!' he yelled. 'We all know you're gay. So why don't you just come out of the closet and then you wouldn't be such an angry little gay guy. Christ, you're always in everyone's business! Stop hitting on chicks!' As soon as he finished, we all immediately heard, 'Action!'"

"When I first met Pesci, I thought he was going to put me in another movie. He literally wanted to kill me. It was bizarre, it was nuts. But then he did the 'SNL' sketch with [Robert] De Niro and that was the first time De Niro had done TV -- it was just so incredible, I felt like I was God. Who works with Pesci and De Niro?"

"He was a mess when he came in. I learned a lot about show business and life and false dreams and hopes that week. They had Chris Rock on hold and they had a 24-hour nurse and here's this guy who could die at any second, and it was just like, 'Well the show must go on' rather than just acknowledge that this guy could be dead at any second and he obviously has a major problem.

"He came into my office saying, 'I know you've got weed,' and he went through my drawers and grabbed my stuff and then he grabbed Tracy [Morgan's]. Then, later, he was sweating and jittery, I was looking at him and thinking, 'Pot don't make you do that.'

"That week, he just kept calling me. It messed with my head, like, 'Why is he calling me?' Saying, 'Am I funny? Or am I just fat and stupid? Am I funny or am I just an a**hole?'

"It was tragic because he was one of the best performers I've ever seen go on there. the light went on, he could crush anybody. He was the ultimate performer."

"I don't have any emotional attachment to it, never did, it was just a place where I was at the time. I knew when I was there I didn't have to be on every episode but when I was on, I had to just knock it out of the ballpark. People only remember the great sketches that you do, they don't remember the 400 that sucked. People say 'You were an amazing Goat Boy, you were an amazing Pesci.' But there were 40 of them that sucked.

"But I never watch it. Once I left the show, I just had no desire. I can't even look at it the right way, I always see the whole machine that goes behind it. I'll watch a sketch and go, 'Now I know they didn't want to write that. I know exactly who wrote that. That guy didn't want to do that.'"

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