Where: Crackers Comedy Club, 6281 N. College Ave.
When: 8:30 p.m. Thursday; 8 and 10:30 p.m. Friday and
Reservations: (317) 255-4211
You know Brian Posehn – if not from Just Shoot Me, where he played the character Kevin Liotta for 29
episodes from 1999-2003, then from The Sarah Silverman Program, where he's Brian Spukowski, one of the wacky gay neighbors.
And if the name doesn't ring a bell, his face certainly
will. The comic/actor is, after all, someone who describes himself this way: "I
look like I'm made of farts. I look like a bunch of farts put a people costume
on and went, 'Let's go out to dinner tonight.'"
Posehn (pronounced Po-SANE) makes his Indianapolis standup
comedy debut this week at Crackers in Broad Ripple, where he'll be telling his
share of fart and weiner jokes. Read this interview and you'll understand why.
Nuvo: Have you played Indianapolis before?
Posehn: I don't think I have. I've been to Bloomington. I
hear good things about the club and I'm looking forward to it.
Nuvo: You're touring behind a new CD, Fart and Weiner
Jokes. First question about that is: Got a
good fart or weiner joke that would work in print?
Posehn: Not really. My jokes are so – even though
they're dick jokes, they're stories. They're harder to tell. I should have one
ready. If I'm going to call my record that, I should have one to throw right at
Nuvo: Any hesitation about putting your jokes on CD? Some
comics think that kills the jokes for the live audience; others think it's like
music – people come out to hear their favorite jokes done live.
Posehn: For me, once it makes it to the CD, it's time to
retire it. If it makes it on the CD, that means I've been doing it already
about two years. Almost all the stuff on the record, I'm working on getting it
out of the act and replacing it with brand new stuff. The act I'm doing now is
partly the record and about 20-25 minutes of new stuff. As I go on, I'm taking
old things, ejecting them and throwing new bits in.
That's more for me. It's to keep it fresh. I know some
people like to hear jokes again. But a lot of the fans that I draw are hardcore
comedy people who watch everything you do and then they'll watch it on the
Internet, so it does kind of kill those bits. And they want to hear something
new when they come to the show.
Nuvo: You've said your interests are comics, heavy metal
and horror movies. So, what are you reading, listening to and watching these
Posehn: My favorite book – it's been my favorite book
for the last couple of years – is The Walking Dead. It fits in with the horror because it's a zombie
book. That's pretty much my favorite thing, so when it comes down on Wednesdays
– Wednesday is new comic day – that's the first thing I read.
There's this book Fables I really like – it takes famous fables as if
they actually exist in our world. It's a pretty cool premise.
And music, I listen to the old stuff all the time. I try to
keep up with what the kids are listening to, heavy metal-wise. I'm an old man
and I'm pretty set in my ways. But there's a bunch of new, great stuff. There's
a band called Skeletonwitch. I like this band Priestess; they're on their
second record. And this band Lazarus A.D. They're all young, but they're playing
the style of music I grew up with. It's interesting that kids who weren't even
alive when thrash-metal was around are playing it. That's cool. That's always
been my favorite genre of heavy metal.
Nuvo: If you had hair, would you whip it around?
Posehn: I used to. Back in the day, yeah. And I had
metal-neck the next day.
Nuvo: Did you start out as a comic or an actor?
Posehn: Comedian. I didn't even have any aspirations to be
an actor, really. I was just doing standup and living in San Francisco when the
bottom of the whole standup industry started to fall out in the early '90s. So
a couple of my friends and I figured we had to go to L.A. If we wanted to stay
away from day jobs, we had to start doing something else besides standup. So I
started writing and acting and it all worked out.
Nuvo: When did you move to L.A.?
Posehn: I moved to L.A. in '94. And I got really lucky. My
first audition, I booked. It was for a sitcom. It was just a walk-on, but that
doesn't happen all the time that the first time you even try, you get one. It
came pretty easy. I was pretty lucky, and I'm pretty lucky to be working for as
long as I have.
Nuvo: imdb.com says your first job was voice work in
something called Heisei Tanuki Gassen Pompoko.
Posehn: What that is, it's an old movie. I did the voice
like 10 years ago, but the movie is 20 years old. So they're using that as the
original date. But my actual first gig was Empty Nest.
Nuvo: So what was that Japanese movie?
Posehn: Disney redubbed it in English. I never saw the
final version, but among people who love anime, it's really well respected. I
play a fat raccoon. Luckily, I haven't been typecast as that.
Nuvo: You must like voice work. You seem to do a fair
amount of it.
Posehn: It's fun and it's also the easiest job that I have.
You don't have to memorize anything. If you can read, you do OK. I'm apparently
a decent reader. But it's really fun and I love being in the room with other
people who do voices. I'm doing one right now and I have a blast every time I
go in because I've been friends with a couple of the people for years. A bunch
of goofballs standing in a booth talking into these mikes. It's really fun.
Nuvo: Can you tell me more about it?
Posehn: It's from Genndy Tartakovsky, who did Powerpuff Girls and Clone Wars on the Cartoon Network. It's a new show for the Cartoon Network. We're
coming out in the summer. It's called Sym-Bionic Titan. A princess and her guardian and this robot all come
from outer space and land in our world. To fit in, they start going to a high
school. My robot becomes a teenage nerd. It's a lot of fun. I do two voices
– I do the robot voice and then a nerdier version of it.
Nuvo: You also did a voice on Kim Possible. Was she just a little too hot for a cartoon
Posehn: (Laughs) She's still supposed to be a teenager.
I have a little boy right now. He's not quite watching
animation yet; he's only 11 months. But it's going to be nice I can have stuff
I can actually show him because a lot of my sketches and my standup I can't
really show to children – especially my own. He'll have to wait. But
luckily I can show him Kim Possible and some of the other stuff I've done.
Nuvo: The Sarah Silverman Show is hilarious, in part because it's so deadpan. Are
there great outtakes?
Posehn: We definitely all laugh. Sometimes the situation
will be so silly that you can't help it. But we've also been doing it for so
long. It takes a lot to make me laugh and break out of the scene. When I did Just
Shoot Me, almost everybody commented on the
fact that it took a lot to get me to break or forget a line. Once or twice it
would happen and the whole cast would be shocked.
It doesn't really happen a lot on Sarah. But there'll be things where Jay (Johnston),
especially – I've been friends with him for so long and he makes me laugh
harder than anybody – if he improvises something that I don't see coming,
there's really nothing I can do. I will give it up.
Nuvo: I imagine that show is especially fun to work on
because no subject matter is really off limits with her. Do you ever cringe at
some of the ideas?
Posehn: No. I think my standup is like that. It's the
sensibility that we share, that a lot of my friends share. We all came up
together and we're all around the same age and none of us really have any
taboos as far as our comedy. There really hasn't been anything she's done or
said on the show that I've gone, "Really? We're going to do that?" We always get to it in a smart, funny way.
Whatever screwed-up topic we're doing, I think we handle it well.
Nuvo: You might be best known for Just Shoot Me, which may be the most mainstream thing you've done.
Did you like that show, or was it just a nice paycheck?
Posehn: I loved that show. I was actually a fan of it
before I went on it. It was such a strange thing. I was looking for a regular
gig at that point, and I said to my manager and said to a couple of friends,
"This is a show I could see myself on. It's not the worst thing on TV." It had
funny characters and sharp writing. It wound up where I did one episode and
they told me, "Hey, we'll probably bring your character back." I'd heard that
before, so I said, "Yeah, all right. We'll see." And they did bring me back for
30 or 40 episodes.
Nuvo: Anything else you're working on now that you want to
Posehn: I have a new video that should be everywhere on the
web in a week or two – it's called More Metal Than You. It's on my record. I did an animated video for it.
I just saw the final product and I'm really happy with that. And I'm just
staying busy. I'm on the road all the time and I'm doing a pilot for Comedy
Central that, hopefully, if we don't go back to Sarah, I'll be working on this show for a while. I'm more
behind the scenes. I'm writing and directing it.
Nuvo: I read where you were quoted as saying you thought
Sarah's show was done.
Posehn: Yeah, we all kind of have a bad feeling. Our
ratings aren't doing very well, and that's super important. Our last episode is
tomorrow (April 15), and I think that might be our last episode ever. I hope we
get to do more, but I'm pretty realistic most of the time. I think it would
take a lot for them to bring us back.