In his early sets, Brian Posehn blasted comics who gushed about their children, telling audiences to punch his baby if he ever talked about his kid onstage. Now a father, Posehn strives not only to protect his son from diehard fans, but also to maintain his comedic voice while talking about his family—a subject he never imagined covering.
“It was a weird thing to get my head around that I’m that guy now,” he says. “There’s a current joke, that when you have a child that’s nude a lot, there’s going to be some things that happen, that you’ll want to un-happen. So, that makes it into the act, but never ‘Oh, my little angel from heaven’ type stuff.”
Posehn plans to give stand-up a couple more years before entering semi-retirement. A 29-year comedy veteran, he got his start as soon as he could enter the bars and clubs hosting open mics.
“The week I turned 21, I went onstage and destroyed. I really crushed,” he says. “The second time, I could not figure out what was funny about myself and I ate it so hard. I did a brand new five minutes, and nothing worked.” He got better from there and he’s been at it ever since.
At 49, Posehn has steadily built a career centered around vocal work and character acting, starring in The Sarah Silverman Program, Mr. Show and New Girl, often acting as a loveable oaf, with his distinct, clumsy baritone and full 6-foot-7-inch frame.
“I look like a giant Yeti,” he says.
In his third, most recent comedy special, The Fartist, Posehn complains about having a “leaky penis” and farts that “fall” out of his ass and smell like “the last fart.” Posehn’s petite blonde wife of 11 years, Melanie Truhett, has gotten used to his objectively crass humor.
“She doesn’t mind me talking about how gross I am, the leaky penis stuff,” he says. In fact, the two have an understanding that there isn’t much Posehn won’t try to turn into a joke. “When things happen, like when our bassethound violated her while she was on the toilet. It was like ‘well that’s going in the act.’”
Now that he’s a dad, Posehn says he has cut out his semi-famous pot habit—a move, which he says he made for a very stonerish reason.
“I was motivated a little bit after my son was born because I couldn’t smoke in my nerd cave anymore,” he says. “I had to smoke outside the house. Y’know I’m in the backyard, like a loser, hunching over the garbage can. It lost some charm.”
Posehn’s “nerd cave” contains a Donkey Kong arcade game and oodles of Star Wars memorabilia. He has a complicated relationship with the space odyssey franchise, worshipping the first trilogy and calling the disappointment from the subpar second trilogy his “Vietnam.” But this polar swinging of emotion is his particular brand of nerdiness.
“Nerdiness comes out of not liking things passively,” he says. “That’s been my entire life before there was a name for it. I would not just like something, I would love something, or totally hate it.”
And though he’s still recovering from the breach of trust between him and George Lucas, he is planning on taking his son to the Christmas premiere of the new J.J. Abrams-helmed Star Wars: The Force Awakens.
“I like to pretend I have a heart made of poo because Lucas ruined my childhood,” he says. “But seeing footage of Harrison Ford, I’m not made of stone. How was I not going to love seeing Han Solo on screen again? He’s the first badass where I went, ‘Aw that guy’s awesome!’ That’s what’s bringing me back to this movie.”
Posehn’s nerdiness includes a long love affair with comic books. He is a co-writer of the revamped Deadpool series, about a fourth wall-breaking anti-hero of the Marvel Universe with regenerative superpowers and a steady supply of quips.
“It’s been a really fun side thing,” he says. “Just meeting these people and doing this thing I’ve always loved. Just like when I’ve done music videos—to step away from stand-up has just been a blast.”
Posehn’s most famous music video, “Metal By Numbers,” is a parody lampooning the pretty boys who falsely rep his favorite genre. It features major musicians like guitarist Scott Ian of Anthrax and has been viewed on YouTube over 2 million times.
“(Metal is) so much a part of who I am,” he says. “But I like making other people laugh too, not just metalheads. So it’s more an attitude. I’m a guy who’s read comic books and loved horror movies and heavy metal since he was a little kid, as opposed to a guy who reads more high-falutin books.”
Brian Posehn performs Aug. 8 at RockBar Theater. More info.