Brian Posehn’s humble nature prevented him from bragging about his success in show business, so I’m happy to do that for him.
During a Tuesday afternoon phone interview, Posehn, a veteran stand-up comedian and actor who is headlining Goodnights Comedy Club in Raleigh this week, and I discussed his start in stand-up, which remains his first artistic love despite a career also spent doing TV and movies.
Posehn’s list of credits is lengthy and features roles on some iconic shows like Seinfeld, Mr. Show, Everybody Loves Raymond, Just Shoot Me, The Bernie Mac Show, Reno 911! and The Big Bang Theory.
I first grew to love Posehn’s work in 2005’s The Comedians of Comedy and then in his role as Brian Spukowski on The Sarah Silverman Program, which ran from 2007-10 and should still be on as far as I’m concerned.
In addition to being hilarious, Posehn and Steve Agee were also groundbreakers of sorts on Silverman’s show, playing a gay couple that got married in 2010.
Before this turns into just an extended recap of Posehn’s career highlights, let’s shift our attention to what we talked about on Tuesday, which included metal music, choosing comedy instead of finishing college at Sacramento State, why Posehn had to evade my final question and more.
Enjoy the interview, follow Posehn on Twitter and don’t forget The Best Tweet I Can Find in Five Minutes at the end.
Tony Castleberry: Have your musical tastes mellowed over the years or is it still mostly metal for you?
Brian Posehn: I wouldn’t say mellowed, but my mind has opened up a little bit. Stuff I didn’t like as a high schooler I now enjoy. There are some bands, like Pink Floyd, that I didn’t like as a kid that are a little more mellow that I appreciate now at my age. I still stay on top of metal. I purchase new stuff. I’m still looking to check out new bands and I still follow the same old ones like Metallica and Iron Maiden and bands like that. I’m actually into their new material. I love the new Metallica record, but yeah, I’ve mellowed a little, to answer your question.
TC: You’re @thebrianposehn on Twitter and I saw that somebody got @brianposehn first. That Brian Posehn has tweeted just once, in 2009. Have you had any contact with them?
BP: [laughs] No. I’m not too worried about it. People have been able to find me and I am the Brian Posehn.
TC: [laughs] Do you remember where you first did stand-up?
BP: Yeah, I started in Sacramento at an open mic. It was at a bar and one night a week, they had stand-up comedy. That became my regular spot for the first year.
My first time I went with a buddy of mine and had some liquid courage in the parking lot before we went into the bar just to kind of…he was like, “I think you’re gonna need a couple of beers before you try this.” My friend was super supportive. [interviewer laughs]
The first time on stage went fantastic and then the second time, not so good, but I loved it so much the first time I stuck with it. I was starting (college) at Sac State (after attending American River Junior College) when I decided I want to do this forever so I went to Sac State with the idea of “Hey, I’m gonna give this a shot and see what happens,” with the idea that I would always go back to school if it didn’t work out. But it sorta did, so I never went back.
TC: Yeah, I think you did OK. You were part of a great lineup of comedians at ID10T…is it ID-Ten-Tee? Is that how you say it?
BP: Whatever the fancy name is, I just called it Idiot Fest.
TC: [laughs] Me too! Is it tough doing comedy for a festival crowd? I’m imagining thousands of people out in a big open field. Was it like that at all?
BP: Actually, they had a tent for us, but in situations like that, they sound scary, but the crowd knows what they’re there for. The crowd knows that there’s stand-up comedy.
When stand-up comedy is hard to do is when people don’t know it’s part of the show. You know what I mean?
BP: I’ve had to go up before bands before when nobody (in the crowd) has any idea that I’m there. That’s when it’s tough. I’ve opened for Slayer at a festival before and it actually went over surprisingly well, but there were some people who didn’t want to hear me talk about whatever thing I was talking about.
These festivals where they have comedy tents, they generally are well run and people know what they’re getting. Sometimes the music can be so loud from another tent that it kind of overtakes the comedy, but that didn’t happen at the Idiot Fest.
TC: If Chris Hardwick’s involved, it’s gonna be run professionally, right? You’re not getting a half-assed show with him.
BP: Right, and being that he’s a stand-up comic, he knows what’s conducive to comedy and what’s not.
TC: What do you do with the weed fans offer you after shows?
BP: (Posehn’s son runs into the room.) Uh, I politely say “No thank you.”
TC: Has it always been that way or was there a time when you were taking all of it in?
BP: Uh, maybe, but that question is hard to answer right now.
Here it is, The Best Tweet I Can Find in Five Minutes:
8 years scandal free (all of them) pic.twitter.com/fB2ENGY1Wn
— Bakari Sellers (@Bakari_Sellers) July 12, 2017