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DVD Review: Jim Breuer's Let's Clear The Air

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Jim Breuer. Photo via ModestProposal.

You know Jim Breuer, if not by name then at least by his perpetually stoned-looking mug or his outlandish Saturday Night Live characters, most notably Goat Boy. This is the Jim Breuer you recognize, from Half-Baked and Chappelle’s Show and even Clerks. But a lot of people don’t know that Breuer also has a long love affair with stand up, dating back many years and several TV specials. And those specials, while rarely game-changing, have been good, sometimes great; the AC/DC hokey pokey bit is pretty magical. Unfortunately, Breuer’s new special Let’s Clear the Air lacks all of the magic and most of the funny that you could previously expect from the man you thought you knew.

Essentially, Let’s Clear The Air is Breuer’s attempt to really clarify the life he’s lead, from struggling comic and Long Island native to the guy riding shotgun with Chappelle and getting hassled for being in Half Baked. And while a decent amount of the observations he makes are original, the realistic truth is that they’re mostly not funny. The problem, it seems, rests somewhere inside a combination of overused impressions without strong material to back it up, and using the bullet points of his career as a crutch and not a launching point. At the top of the set, there are real moments where Breuer talks about his constantly stoned appearance (with childhood photos to back up his claim) and relates that to the struggles his children must have in looking just like him; these moments of honesty and self-reflection within the realm of his current life are great, and should be nurtured. However, the special quickly steers down a path of very common topics: reprising the role of Goat Boy, a half-hearted Tracy Morgan caricature that just takes funny lines Tracy has already used himself, and a cluttered anecdote from the filming of Half Baked. There’s even a rehash of the AC/DC bit, but with a new childrens song this time. Ugh. By the time Breuer tries to steer back towards his family, his upbringing, and the truly original pieces that should have dominated Let’s Clear The Air, it is largely too late.

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It’s a disappointment to see an outing like this from Jim Breuer, who is actually a consistently funny stand up comic. Whether or not there will be more specials to follow Let’s Clear The Air remains to be seen, but let’s hope so; Jim Breuer may need some serious redemption after tonight.

Let’s Clear The Air shows tonight on Comedy Central.