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Posehn's smooth rise to stardom

By Kim Ukura

Sun Tribune

The entertainment industry can be one of the most challenging businesses to break into, and most stars can reflect on the moment when they had their "big break."

But comedian and television actor Brian Posehn isn't like most performers. Posehn, who will be performing his stand up routine at the University of Minnesota, Morris on Saturday, April 26, said he got lucky with his first job writing for MTV, attributes his current success to the sum of his accomplishments across entertainment genres.

"I think that the thing that messes a lot of people up when they come to the city is that they come here to have a career in entertainment and they are forced to take a regular job, and it slows them down or ties them down and they don't get to go out and audition as much as they'd like," Posehn said.

Posehn's manager secured him his first job writing for MTV before he even moved to LA, which Posehn said was key to his early success.

"I was able to completely commit moving down instead of having to move here and work at PF Chang's or something like that, waiting tables and then trying to get into the business," Posehn said.

Posehn got his start in comedy in the 1980s by doing stand up at the urging of his friends. He began writing at 20 - before he could even enter most clubs - and did his first show the week he turned 21.

"The first time up I did really well and was completely obsessed, instantly, with it," Posehn said. "Then the second week I died a horrible death using all new material, the stuff that I didn't do the first week, but I still loved it."

Many people know Posehn from his role as Kevin, the creepy mail boy, on the sitcom "Just Shoot Me!" Although he used to be best-known for this role, Posehn said he thinks his reputation is now established by his other work.

"When I was on Just Shoot Me! I was sort of 'that guy,' but now it's my stand up that has gotten people to know my name, and it's stuff like 'Metal by Numbers,' which has way more hits than anything I've ever done," he said.

"Metal by Numbers" is Posehn's first foray into music, as is the most well-known track on his album "Live In: Nerd Rage." A self-professed "metal head," Posehn's video reflects his opinions on the metal scene today.

However, it's his work on Comedy Central's "The Sarah Silverman Program" that Posehn said he is most proud of, because the show's sense of humor is closer to his own.

"You know, I never look at a script and shake my head. I look at scripts and laugh and then I get to go to work with all my friends," he said.

"I'm friends with all the writers there, I'm friends with the director, I've been friends with Sarah for 15 years, we have a long history, and it's just nothing but fun. We just go and we laugh all day and they turn the cameras on us and we try to not blow the take by laughing."

Posehn's stand-up routine takes in a little bit of everything in his life, and can be both silly and dirty. "A lot of my act now is real stories and me sort of telling them or reacting to them," Posehn explained.

The audience should also not expect any political discussions during the act.

"I'm not going to try to sway anybody a certain way.," he said. "I usually say in my act that you can take your thinking caps off. If they are already fans they're gonna get the thing that they like, and if they're not familiar with what I do hopefully they get into it."

Posehn, and opening act Anthony Jeselnik, will perform beginning at 8 p.m. on Saturday, April 26 in Edson Auditorium.