Schtick Jokes

It's good to be known for something funny. Until that overshadows everything else you do.

There is something universally funny about farts and wieners. Brian Posehn knows this — in fact, he hinged a whole comedy album on it. Posehn’s last release, Fart and Weiner Jokes, is just over 57 minutes of standup speckled with juvenile glory and the occasional heavy metal song.

But where other comedians may fall back on the safety net of an un equivocally funny wiener joke, Posehn says he tries to put a unique spin on them. After all, wieners have been done.

“I’ve never wanted to be that guy,” says Posehn. “I talk about doing the dick jokes and I’m trying to not write the same dick jokes as other guys write.”

In his new work, Posehn says he’s moving away from that realm of comedy.

“I’m trying to get away,” says Posehn. “I don’t want the next record to be more fart and wiener jokes. I want it to be something totally different.”

He doesn’t want to be “that guy.” That wiener-joke guy, that stoner comic guy or that baby-joke guy. They’re tired memes — old hats in the comedy world. But in a schtick-centric industry where everyone is eager to identify you by your angle, Posehn has found a way out.

Aside from his standup, Posehn has been all over the small screen since the mid-1990s on shows like Just Shoot Me! and the Sarah Silverman Program. He’s hit the big screen as well, even gracing big blockbusters like Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer. With a new record in the works and a significant part in a new Judd Apatow movie, he’s doing pretty well for himself. Especially since he’s built his career on wieners, heavy metal and weed jokes.

Today, Posehn’s comedy is moving in a direction he was initially wary of: telling jokes about your kid. He did go there, but like the wiener jokes, he went into it aware of what else was out there. Which was pretty much one narrative. It involved poop.

“I don’t want to do, ‘They’re poop machines, aren’t they?’” says Posehn. “I haven’t written anything about that. My hands did get covered in poop the first year. It does happen. I’ve been peed on by him and I’ve gotten poop all over me, but I just didn’t want to write those jokes.”

Even when Posehn isn’t writing about his son, his kid’s influence is reflected in Posehn’s comedic shift. Posehn says he didn’t realize it until he read the stories — “Pot Comic Quits Pot” started popping up all over the Internet with quotes like “I hated who I was.” He had become that stoner guy.

Although he admits his comedy has improved since quitting, he says it was his son who really motivated him. Because with smoking came a lot of guys he didn’t want to be.

“I don’t want that to be a sense memory [for him]” says Posehn. “I don’t want him to ever smell it when he’s 10 or 11 and go ‘Oh, that’s what daddy always smelled like when he walked inside the house and he was in a better mood.’ I don’t want to be that dude … I didn’t want to be that parent.”

At a glance, making choices about who you are based on who you don’t want to be seems exhausting. But in comedy, when it’s so easy to coast on one golden schtick until people get tired of it and you, it doesn’t seem so crazy for Posehn to think the way he does. That mindset has gotten him where he is now.

“Coming up, my whole group of friends, we kind of got dubbed as ‘alternative’ comedians because we never really wanted to be like the regular comedians — we never wanted to be tacky or clichéd or be one type,” says Posehn. “And I feel like I have resisted that.”

Brian Posehn • Fri, Aug. 5 at 8 pm • Bing Crosby Theater • 901 W. Sprague Ave. • $20-$25 • • (800) 325-SEAT

Brian Posehn on...

… becoming a father: I was just surprised when my wife told me we were having a baby. I was like, ‘Wow, that’s awesome. You’re going to make a great single mom.’

… the challenge of getting sober: I’ve been trying to quit smoking weed, and it’s really hard quitting pot. It was actually easier to become a vegetarian because your friends never show up at your house with a sack of beef.

… new technology: She wants to have cybersex, which if you don’t know what cybersex is, it’s like phone sex but with the keyboard. It’s just a new level of sad.

… proportions: Just got a new car — got a little Miata convertible. Pretty happy about it, except for one thing — I’m 6-foot-6, so now I look like a McDonald’s toy.

… the challenges of small-town life: Grew up in a small town where there was only one crazy guy. He didn’t even go insane doing anything good, like going to ‘Nam or having an extended acid trip. Turns out — legend has it — he just had some bad cheese.

Peppa Pig Live! Peppa Pig’s Adventure @ First Interstate Center for the Arts

Sat., Dec. 3, 2 p.m.
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