If you've watched TV shows like "Mr. Show," "The Sarah Silverman Program," or "The Big Bang Theory," you're probably familiar with comedian Brian Posehn. Outside of his sitcom work, the California comedian has built a career with his stand-up sets that include "fart and wiener jokes," how he quit smoking weed and rants about being a nerd.
Nowadays, you can find the 52-year-old father of one doing a little bit of everything. He has written for the Marvel comic book Deadpool and is working on another independent book with Image Comics. He's even directed music videos and is preparing a full-length metal comedy album. He hosts a podcast where he and a group of friends play "Dungeons & Dragons."
That's all while he continues to perform stand-up, including his two Friday night shows (Aug. 3) at The Wurst Biergarten. The 8 p.m. show is sold out. Tickets are still available for the 10 p.m. show, which you can buy here.
Once an angry nerd who was always mad about the Star Wars prequels, Posehn says he's turning into "an old hippie nerd."
"My stand-up now is more about talking about things that matter to me," he says. "I've been going that way in the last 10 years. It's not just me doing the fart and wiener jokes. I still do them, but it's about having a little more content in my content."
Friday night will be Posehn's first time in Lafayette, but he's no stranger to Louisiana, having performed in Baton Rouge and New Orleans. Ahead of the shows, Posehn talked with The Current about performing in Louisiana, working on Deadpool and the worst types of nerds. He also ranked 10 random things as metal or not metal.
What do you remember about being in Louisiana? What was it like for you?
I've been there a couple of times now. The shows are great. Last time, I got to hang out with some metal legends. The band Eyehategod came to my show. It's always cool when the local famous band comes out.
I'm surprised Phil Anselmo (from Down and Pantera) didn't come out.
Oh yeah. Well, Phil and I have done shows together over the years. I'm about to do one of his festivals in September at this thing in Detroit. He's an old friend.
Is Anselmo super intense and intimidating? I imagine he wants to punch everything.
He is, and then we laugh. He's also a really funny guy. I'm a metal dude, but I'm also kind of a dork. Maybe not kind of, but I'm not a tough guy by any stretch. The first couple of times I was around him was a little intimidating. He has those eyebrows and those eyes that are just looking at you, and you're like, "Oh God, is this guy gonna make fun of me or murder me? I can't tell."
Speaking of metal and since you're such a big fan of metal, do you mind if we do a quick ranking of things as metal or not metal?
Sure, that's cool.
Ok, here goes, 10 things, metal or not metal. First up, Coldplay.
Oh God, the opposite of metal.
Nitro cold brew coffee.
Hmm. I haven't had it but it sounds kind of metal.
The most metal. He's up there with King Diamond, and Cronos from Venom.
Sheldon from "Big Bang Theory."
Not metal. He probably wouldn't even know mainstream stuff.
Had you not been in the show, do you feel like you would want to punch Sheldon?
No, because I suffered from the same disorder that he has. I would punch anybody that was being mean to him. I would be the guy who would keep the bullies away from Sheldon.
You're the bodyguard?
A little bit.
You were the good friend to all of us nerds.
I was definitely, but I'd get punched for that. I'd be like, "Hey, leave him alone," then they'd focus their anger on me.
OK, back to the rankings, we have five more things. Richard Mulligan of "Empty Nest."
That's where I got my metal.
Weed? Yes, metal.
Ehh, sort of.
Are you contractually obligated to say that that's metal?
No, I mean there's some metal stuff on there. But as a whole, they're not metal.
Have you ever met a Cajun?
Well, yeah, I have.
You're coming to land of Cajuns.
No, I know, and I'm trying to think of that Exodus song. There actually is an Exodus song about a crazy Cajun guy. So, yeah, it's metal.
Finally, Eddie Vedder.
Not metal. I still like him.
Ok, well thank you for that. Let's get to the real questions. You wrote on the comic book Deadpool. When will Ryan Reynolds call you to write some material?
Man, I wish. I don't know how much he is aware of the comic book writers. But our stuff that I wrote with Gerry Duggan is so well-liked that I could see them using something that we've done. I would love to. I wish I had gotten the phone call on the first two movies.
They referenced my writing partner in the last one, and I saw it with him. He's all stoked that his name gets said, and I'm like, "What about Brian Posehn? Why doesn't Deadpool reference my name in the movie?"
But I'd be totally into it. I feel like we really nailed (Wade Wilson/Deadpool's) voice. I feel like those movies have totally nailed it. I really like both of them. The movie's representation of the character is definitely the character I heard in my head while I was writing it.
Going from your comedy into something like Deadpool or an acting gig, do you have to tame your voice or is it more of we want your voice in what we're doing over here?
Well, a little less with a mainstream sitcom. I'm not doing a ton of improv on that, although I have been in situations where they welcome that. "Big Bang" is pretty scripted. I can't even think of anything I've riffed on that show. I have definitely on other jobs.
With Deadpool, that's what they wanted. Gerry Duggan and I pitched our whole first year to them, what we were going to do, and they loved our stories. They also loved how we wrote it — the jokes we made, the fourth wall breaking, which is something they already established. I think they knew we were going to push it.
There was only one time where they ever came to us and said, "You can't do that." It was when we had these villains at an MMA event in Vegas. It was the fourth or fifth issue of our run, and I had the Kardashians die in the script. All three of them — well there's more now, but I don't know the young girls. I was focusing on the three super-annoying older ones. Marvel was like, "Dude, you can't kill the Kardashians in this." I was like, "What if they're called the Karcrashians?" They're like "Ok." They're in there, and they still get murdered, and [the ghost of] Benjamin Franklin feels a little bad because he thinks one of them is attractive.
When you talk about the Kardashians, I can see why Marvel would say, "No don't do that." Their fans might pummel you on Twitter.
Oh, I don't care about that. I think it was more legal stuff.
I bring up Twitter because your comedy speaks to a certain audience that is full of those fans who might react instantly on social media. I think of Star Wars: The Last Jedi and how many critics took a beating. Are there certain types of fans where you're like, "Just shut up and enjoy it"? Do you find yourself championing that type of movie and saying, "Hey stop it, over there"?
Not really. I talk about my fanboy-ness on stage, but I don't get into discussions during my set. To me, the funniest thing now is seeing online the anger about The Last Jedi. I actually enjoyed the movie. I don't think it's the best one of the series, but I didn't hate it compared to the prequels. It's like a refreshing turn around for me where I'm like, "Hey man, give it a chance. Why are you so angry?"
An old friend of mine, a little younger than me, he likes the prequels. The whole time, I was complaining about the prequels. This comic buddy of mine, Jacob Sirof, was like, "The prequels aren't that bad." He had tattoos of stuff from them. Now, he is online all the time, talking how much he hates The Last Jedi and the one before that. It is hilarious to me. I couldn't be happier that now I'm on the side of good and these Sith fans are upset.
What is the one group that has the worst type of nerd? Marvel? DC? Star Trek? Star Wars?
I don't think it's one group because we saw how bad the Ghostbusters thing got. I think there are gross, misogynist, racist nerds in every group. It's disappointing that they're a thing we have to deal with now. I'm not a big gamer anymore, and Gamergate [a controversy that surfaced issues of sexism and progressivism in video game culture] was disappointing to me.
The nerds that are trashing Marvel and DC for being more diverse, that drives me crazy. We're nerds. We shouldn't be picking on or ostracizing anybody. The whole thing about being a nerd is inclusiveness. If anybody, we are the people who should be open to anybody. I know I sound like I'm the old hippie nerd, but maybe I am.
You talk about Star Wars, and people getting mad at anyone of color being in that world, like that poor girl [Kelly Marie Tran who played Rose Tico in The Last Jedi] that got all this online hatred for being in a movie. It makes me sick. It bums me out.
I'm starting to talk about that on stage, and I don't give a shit what some nerd thinks of me hating on him for being one of those anti-Rose nerds. I'm not nervous about losing him as a fan. I don't want people like that as my fans.
There are so many things that you have done — comic books, movies, specials — is there a certain thing you haven't done that you want to do?
I still would like to direct a horror movie down the road. I've done a little bit of directing, did some rock videos. I want to do more of that. I have more music coming out. I have a full metal comedy record coming out this year. I'm probably going to direct some videos for myself. But yeah, I would love to do a cool horror flick down the road.
Who would be the leading man? Bob Odenkirk? Bruce Campbell?
It depends on what the story is, but there is actually this thing I'm writing there's a part for Odenkirk. He's an old pal. I think he's the most talented guy I know. I know a lot of talented people, but that dude is genius level. That's somebody I always want to involve. Odenkirk's still my comedy hero. He's the guy I feel like I learned the most from. Patton [Oswalt] is an old friend, and doing standup shows with him … Patton inspired me by how driven he is. But Odenkirk is where I got all my discipline from writing.
Brian Posehn performs two sets on Friday, Aug. 3, at The Wurst Biergarten. Tickets are still available for the 10 p.m. show. General admission tickets are $25 on eventbrite.com. For more information, visit facebook.com/lafayettecomedy or lafayettecomedy.com.