comics talk to comics

Pete Davidson Talks to Jim Breuer About SNL and the Time Dave Chappelle Got a Dog

Photo: Maya Robinson and Photos by Lloyd Bishop/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank and evin Winter/Getty Images

With Jim Breuer releasing his second hour-long special, Comic Frenzy, tonight on EPIX, what better person to talk to him than a fellow New York Metropolitan–area Saturday Night Live cast member, Pete Davidson? The two talk about doing stand-up while being on SNL, their annoying families, and Half Baked.

Pete Davidson: So, first things first: Are you excited for your new special to be coming out on EPIX?
Jim Breuer: What I’m most excited about is it’s one of the first things I did 100 percent on my own, meaning I bought the production, I wanted to do it at this place, so I booked the place, already sold it to the place I wanted to sell it to, got the director I wanted to do. I like that I can sell DVDs and I can make thousands of them for like a dollar.

That’s awesome. I have a question. When you were on SNL, how difficult was it to maintain doing stand-up at the level you were doing before the show? That’s what I’m having a problem with. The show is notorious for being extremely time-consuming, and you’re in an office for nine months.
Actually, the stand-up, a lot of times, made me sane. The place would start making me feel insane and not funny, so a lot of times I would go to the Comic Strip and Carolines. I would go there and just try to do a character or a sketch or try to give them stories and move along. I would get all hopped up and come back. If I wasn’t on during that week, I would push myself to go and work out material because at the end of the day, I didn’t know when that journey was going to end for me. I constantly was in fear of being let go, so I knew stand-up was all I was going to have at the end of the day. I was hoping for big TV, film, and this and that, but stand-up was the only thing I knew. So I definitely kept up at it. I would do it at least once or twice a week. A lot of times I would definitely get lazy for periods, because you don’t want to and you’re exhausted.

Right, because sometimes you feel like you can’t even think.
Yeah, and you don’t even want to be funny. Also, you go to the comedy clubs and all the comedians are like, “How come you were not on last week?” And you’re like, “I really, I don’t feel like talking,” and then the guys are like, “Uh, do you know if they’re looking for writers?”

[Laughs.] That’s another really cool thing: People think you can just get them a job at the page desk. You just have aunts and uncles hitting you up, asking you if they can work at the page desk.
They’re like, “I’ve always wanted to intern at The Tonight Show, that’s in that building, right? If I go in there, do I put your name on?” No, you dope.

People don’t understand that we’re horrified and we have no pull.
We have zero pull. I can’t even get tickets to a show, let alone be on it.

We get tickets every other week.
You get them every other week?! Oh my God, they scaled back. We were allowed two a week, and that’s all we got. I would have to go to Darrell Hammond: “Darrell, I know you got no one coming. Let me get two of them tickets.”

What was your favorite part of SNL 40?
I felt like I snuck into a celebrity zoo. I felt like I had no right to be there. I was just looking around like, Oh my God, don’t look at the cage next to you, but that’s George Lucas talking to Spielberg. Then I would walk: That’s Bradley Cooper, he looks like he’s really buds with Leonardo DiCaprio. As we continue on just past the panda bears, you’ll see Jack Nicholson with former mayor Giuliani. 

Uh oh, people are coming up for pictures and they are getting [roars].
[Laughs.] Yeah, that’s right. “No taking pictures of Bon Jovi, please.” Like, I purposefully positioned myself to be by Leonardo DiCaprio at that party. You were there, too, and Taylor Swift was behind your back.

We had a very humbling moment where we were standing in the middle of the area and we were both like, “Why is everybody looking at us? What’s up with that?” And it was like, “Wow, people must want to come up and talk to us.”
“Wow, I guess I was more popular than I anticipated when I was on the show. I guess Goat Boy was pretty popular.” You were like, “Yeah I guess they do recognize the new guy. That’s pretty exciting.”

And we turned around, and it’s Taylor Swift and her whole entire family.
Yeah, they were really sitting right behind us.

Who was your favorite person that you’ve met that you’ve done an impression of that was the coolest about it?
On the show, I have to say [Joe] Pesci. The first time I did him, someone said, “Hey, I just want to let you know that Robert De Niro’s company asked for a copy of last week’s show.” And then the second time I did it, they were like, “Joe Pesci wants a copy.” Just the fact they know about it. Surely I’m going to be in all of Pesci’s movies from now on. That’s all I was thinking. Once De Niro sees me, he’s taking me off this little SNL show.

Casino 2 with Jim Breuer.
That’s right. [Movie trailer voice] “Coming this week: Pesci, De Niro, Breuer in Long Island Rules.

My favorite sketch I’ve always wanted to ask you about was [the one where] you guys are at Planet Hollywood with [Sylvester] Stallone.
And we were being annoying fans.

Yeah, you’re yelling, “Yo, Paulie!” That’s my favorite thing.
He was one of my favorite hosts. Me and Tracy Morgan were in the office, and he comes in like, [Stallone voice] “What do you guys got? What do you got?” Me and Tracy just start talking and we’re like, “Is this guy your assistant or your bodyguard?” He’s like, “I got a bodyguard. It’s unbelievable. People always want to fight me because of Rocky.” We’re like, “Whaaaat?” So me and Tracy just started asking, and he started telling us all the crazy things he goes through, like, people going, “Yo, where’s Paulie?” and “Adrian!” I thought I had it bad because people bleeped like a goat, but he was like, “I get people who put me on the phone and they say, ‘Talk to my wife. She wants to bang you. Can you please go home with my wife?’” So that’s the whole sketch. We did Stallone just as he said it in our room because me and Tracy were useless when it came to writing.

I remember your dad had a really funny encounter with him.
Yeah, my father goes, “Uh, I read somewhere that you got a place in Florida, right?” And he goes, “Yeah, I’m in Hollywood, but it’s Florida. I’m in Hollywood, but it’s Florida,” and my dad, just being completely serious, goes, “They got an Elks Club where you’re at?” “What do you mean?” “An Elks club. It doesn’t take much to join. They got spaghetti nights. For $4.99 you can drink all night, and then you top it off with Bingo.” He’s trying to be really cool, he’s like, “I respect that you’re a veteran, uh, I just want to say I don’t know about the Elks Club, but if you’re ever back on the other side of Florida, you come to my place in Hollywood. How about that, Mr. B?” My father goes, “Yeah, I’ve been to that place. For $15 a cheeseburger, you can go shit in your hat.” [Laughs.] And Stallone belly-laughed, “Why don’t you put him on the show?”

That’s hilarious.
You know what my dad said to Lorne?

Oh please, tell me.
This is so embarrassing. It’s the first show. I fly my father and my mom up from Florida and I get cut from the show. I was in the dress show, but I got cut. I’m not on at all, so we go to the after-party and there are two things: At the after-party, I thought everything was paid for. I’m buying shots for everyone. I get a bill at the end of the night for $600.

Oh shit.
I was like, “No, no, no you don’t understand. I’m a cast member.” They go, “Yes, we know. It’s $680.” I go, “No. You stupid or what? I’m on the cast.” “We understand that. You still ordered 57 shots and 14 gin-and-tonics, so you’ve got to pay for it.” So I’m paying for the bill and Lorne Michaels is leaving and I go, “Dad, you gotta meet Lorne.” My dad’s old-school, so he goes, “Lorne? Is that Jewish? What is Lorne? Is he Polish?” “I don’t know what he is.” He goes, “Michaels, yeah, that’s Jewish.” “Hey, Dad, just say hello to Lorne.” So he comes and I go, “Lorne, this is my dad. Dad, Lorne.” Lorne goes [in Lorne voice], “You know, Jim’s very talented, he’s a great guy. We expect great things from him,” and my dad goes, “Right, right, right, you know, I flew up from Florida today to see the kid on the show and he wasn’t on it.” So, I could feel the sweat on my back and Lorne wants to keep moving along and he goes, “Well, you know Chevy Chase has already inquired about Jim for next week,” and my dad goes, “Chevy Chase? Next week? Who gives a shit? What happened tonight? He wasn’t on tonight. That show sucked.” [Laughs.]

That’s mortifying.
Lorne just started moving along like, “Well, it’s very nice meeting you.” He’s like, “That guy, screw that guy. That show sucked.” I go “Dad, that’s Lorne Michaels.” “Well, the show sucked. What do you want me to tell him — it’s great?”

That’s the single reason that I don’t bring any family members there, because I once brought them all to a comedy club to see me perform and they heckled me.
I try not to bring them. I have a sister, and she passed away last year, but she was a maniac, heavy drinker, so I would be in the middle of the show and she would be yelling from the balcony, “Jimbo, tell them how you love Batman!” “Jimbo, tell them how we used to go to the zoo. Do the donkey!”

That’s a very Staten Island/Long Island thing, where they feel more entitled.
Right, you go, “Hey, this is so and so,” and your family comes and goes, “I’d really like to meet, who is the guy in the movie who played Fat Albert? I want to meet him.” [Laughs.]

[Laughs.] Of all the things you’ve done SNL, stand-up, Half Baked what was the most fun?
Hands down, it was Half Baked. I didn’t believe it was real. We knew each other, and Dave [Chappelle] saw me at Carolines and comes to me, “Hey, man, I wrote this movie. You’ve got to play the main guy. It’s gonna blow up, man. You gon’ play the main high guy, represent my brother, Brian.”

And then I got the script. I never laughed so hard in my life. And then it didn’t seem like we were really filming a movie. But also I worked my ass off for that movie. People don’t realize this, but not one thing I said in that whole movie was improvised. I did, word for word, every line that was written. People think we just wung it. And Dave was, like, 21. He was so irresponsible, yet there’s a movie being filmed. You know he’s got this movie.

He had his movie being made.
Yeah, he’s got 50 people working for him ‘cuz it’s his movie. He brought a dog. I gotta say, to this day, whenever I feel a little sad, I laugh so hard at thinking of Dave trying to take care of this stupid dog named Monk. I said, “Dave, what are you doing with this thing?”

He goes, “Man, I need a companion.” And the dog was a terror. We were staying in this beautiful place, and the dog is shitting in the lobby. Billy Joel is there. Sting is there. The dog is ripping up the furniture. He bit everybody on the set.

We almost got kicked out. The woman who played the mother in Good Times was staying in our hall. And it smelled like smoke and shit. So one day, me and Dave are in his room, and we open up and there’s the woman from Good Times. Dave’s like, “Oh my God, it’s such an honor to meet you!” and blah blah blah. And she goes, “Are you the one staying in this room? You gotta shut that goddamn dog up. He barks all day. He smells like shit!” I don’t think I’ve laughed any harder in my life.

They were gonna kick him out of this place, so he sends the dog to an obedience school. And Dave says, “Jim, I am so proud of Monk. He’s startin’ to pee and poo outside.”

This goes on for six weeks, and he drops like twenty-five hundred bucks. He calls me to his room and he’s like, “Jim, come up here, I’m so excited.” I go to the room, and he’s like, “Jim, wait ‘til you see this!”

He goes, “Monk, sit.” And he sits. He goes, “Monk, roll over.” Rolls over. “Good boy, good boy. Gimme a paw!” Gives him it. And then we go out on the balcony. Dave’s like, “Man, you know, it’s like having a kid. I knew he was good, but you just gotta send him to school.” And while we’re on the balcony, I turn around and Monk is shitting on his bed. I go, “Dave!”

Dave turns around and he’s furious. He’s chasin’ Monk all over the place. Monk ran under his bed. And I’ll never forget this visual. Dave ducks down to go under the bed — I’m howling laughing, I can’t control my laughter — Dave lifts his head up and he looked like a kid who just got punished.

I go, “Dave, what’s the matter?” He goes, “Man, there’s about 40 piles of crap under my bed. I sent this dog to obedience school and spent all this money, six weeks, and all he learned was how to be sneaky!”

To this day, I swear on my life, I don’t think I’ve laughed harder. I had a partial stroke. So that was the best time ever.

[Laughing] Sneaky!
“Damn you, Monk.” Oh God.

Thanks for allowing me to do this. It was fun.
They asked me who I wanted, and you were the first guy I said.

Yeah, maybe we could … I know you’re super busy with family and all that stuff, but if you ever want to hang out or whatever, I’m always around.
You’re in the city, right?

Yeah I’m definitely gonna hit you up in June or July, and we’ll hang out one night.

That’d be great, man.
Okay man, be safe. Have a good one, and thank you.

Thanks for having me.

Pete Davidson Interviews Jim Breuer