Published- November 17, 2011-Republished as part of A Dedication to Drew Snyder
Keep Laughing with Jim Breuer
by Drew Snyder
An indispensable part of the late 90s SNL cast, Jim Breuer continues to push the boundaries in comedy with his sensational stand-up act. Recently he was named one of Comedy Central’s “100 Greatest Stand-Ups of All Time” and can be heard on his Sirius/XM Radio show “Fridays with Breuer”. I had the pleasure of speaking with Jim in preparation for his upcoming show at the NYCB Theatre at Westbury, November 25th.
Drew: So tell us what it was like growing up in Valley Stream and how that might have shaped your future in comedy?
Jim: In our heads we think it’s our own little country. It was such a great childhood. I’ve prayed so hard that my kids would have half the childhood I had. It was just a different time, man. Everyone was funny. It’s that blue-collar mentality.
Drew: Back then, who was your biggest inspiration?
Jim: Eddie Murphy was the biggest one.
Drew: And how did SNL come about?
Jim: Well I had a couple deals and eventually NBC asked me to audition for it. The network was pushing for me to be on there.
Drew:What is your best memory of SNL?
Jim: There are a lot of them. I would say working with Tom Hanks. And meeting Pesci and DeNiro.
Drew: Could you share a low point of being on the show?
Jim: Probably my lowest point was my first six to nine episodes because I just couldn’t get on.
Drew: When you look back at Jim Breuer 15 years ago, what do you see?
Jim: Oh, man. I see a guy with raw talent who just probably wasn’t ready. If I had it now, I probably would never look back. But back then I was raw and dumb. I wasn’t even close to what I am now.
Drew: On October 25th, 1997, Chris Farley hosted SNL while you were part of the cast. Personally, what was it like working with him?
Jim: He was probably one of the biggest performers I ever, ever worked with. Meaning he just knew how to smoke the place once the lights were on. He wasn’t going to be second to anyone. He was a monster.
Drew: I understand you’re friends with fellow comedians Tracy Morgan, Norm Macdonald, and Dave Chappelle. Have you kept in touch or have any recent stories involving them?
Jim: Norm once in a while I see. Dave hasn’t called in three years. Tracy and I cross paths every once in a while. He’s always doing something.
Drew: How do you feel when strangers ask you to do Goat boy? Is it something that bothers you?
Jim: (Laughs) No not at all. That’s their “Walk This Way” or “Dream On.” Whatever gets their eyes on me, because it means I’ve got them. I have repeat offenders. I’m going to say 70 percent of the people who come to see me, have done so already 3-5 times.
Drew: Since you’ll be performing stand up at Westbury on the 25th, what’s it like playing to a Long Island crowd?
Jim: It’s like playing in my backyard; it’s almost too easy. I destroy that place. I set my bar really high. Like that’s the place where I just want to destroy.
Drew: Finally, how long do you plan on continuing as a stand up act?
Jim: Until I’m dead. That’s the only thing I have to fall back on. That’s the great thing, no matter how successful you get, you can come back and do that and talk about it. When you’re failing, you can come back and talk about it. It’s always my steady job.
Drew was a Photographer here is a link to some of his photos. https://www.flickr.com/photos/halcyonix/with/6326904996/
Republished and Edited
Gone Too Soon-SpotonLI Photojournalist Edward Andrew Snyder
by Christine Gerani-Editor
About a month ago, I received an email from a fellow named Drew who was interested in working as an intern for SpotonLI. He just finished his service with the US Air Force. I met with Drew soon after. He was shy but so pleasant. We talked about the countries that we visited and how he took photographs for the The Air Force. Edward Andrew Snyder was a gifted photographer. He joined me on a shoot recently for SpotOnLI and was a true pleasure to work with. I came home after the shoot and said to my husband “Drew is my little star”. Drew told me that he was going to see Jim Breuer at a show in Westbury. I asked him if he would like to interview him. He was thrilled. He got to interview one of his favorite comedians. The hard worker, Drew transcribed the interview flawlessly within an hour. It was incredible, he was so thankful and happy. The publicist for Jim spoke again with Drew and they set up an interview together with Original Pussycat Doll Kaya Jones. He was proud of his work as he should have been because the interview came out great. Sadly on December 9th, Drew left this earth. He was only 24 years old. To his loved ones, we are so sorry for your loss and may God give you the comfort that you need during this difficult time. I am so grateful to have had Drew in my life, even though it was for a short time, he touched my heart and all of the readers of SpotonLI. My little star, is now a shining star…We’ll never forget who you are…little star. Rest in Peace Drew.
Originally Published December 2, 2011- Chatting with Original Pussycat Doll Kaya Jones
by Drew Snyder
I had the opportunity to speak with singer Kaya Jones whose popularity soared as one of the original members of the Pussycat Dolls. Since then she has set on her sights on a solo career which has spawned the most recent single “Every 7 Seconds” off the Release EP. Be sure to check her out as she will be performing live at the Dublin Pub on Long Island December 3rd.
Drew: First, who were your influences in the very beginning?
Kaya: Madonna and Michael Jackson. But I really fell in love with Nina Simone early on when I was like six years old.
Drew:How did this solo project come to be? And what are some of the biggest changes you’ve made since your days with the Pussycat Dolls?
Kaya:Well the solo process came to be after I left the Pussycat Dolls. I kind of wanted to take a break from music for a little bit so I moved to New York to model. I had dyed my hair black and had all these tattoos. I felt like the blonde was too girly and I just wanted some edge. So the solo project actually happened when I got back to Los Angeles and was finished with my angst and a lot of my music friends suggested I start singing again. So in 2009 I started the process of recording and kind of finding my sound as an artist so now that I have my sound we’re ready for the LP launch in the New Year. The process was definitely a journey of finding my sound as an artist and being authentic to the work so the difference is that I’m on my own label, which I’ve started because I wanted to have creative control, which is something I didn’t have in the Pussycat Dolls. So I think that the biggest difference is that it’s genuine to me as an artist and I think you should be honest to your audience because they can sense that sense of not being yourself. I’m really happy with where I am as an artist today because I’m involved in every aspect of my career now.
Drew: In the past, you’ve worked with some big stars including Eminem and Mick Jagger. What was that like and did you learn anything from them?
Kaya: I did! I actually met Eminem when I was thirteen with D12. Proof from D12 was actually who connected me with R. Kelly when I first started so when I worked with D12 and Eminem seven years later it was kind of funny and we were joking about it on set. Eminem is a really talented individual. I think he has a bad stigma around him but he’s actually really professional. Mick Jagger was very different but we’re talking about someone who is so gifted. When I first met him it was random, I got a phone call from David Stewart from the Eurythmics and he says, “Can you come down to the studio?” so I went down and there was Mick Jagger in a booth and I was like “Oh my god.” He didn’t tell me what I was doing; he just said to come down. But Mick was really great. He was really sweet and professional. Just a genuine human being whose very grounded in who he is. At the time it was Katy Perry and I doing vocals and she hadn’t launched her record yet so it was an incredible experience to not only work with Katy but to do the same with Mick. He was very genuine. I don’t think people would assume that somebody on that level of talent and longevity would be so sweet. It was an honor to work with not only a legend but someone who was just a real human being and not someone with a big head who thought the were so amazing.
Drew: What kind of stuff have you been listening to while on tour? If you could pick one ideal person or group to perform with in the future, who would it be?
Kaya: I’ve been listening to a lot of LMFAO. I also love Skrillex. I’m a big Skrilex fan. I just think he’s such a genius and it’s incredible what he’s doing with that sound right now. I listen to a lot of DJs. Some DJs who produce as well can open your horizons to different things. I also listen to a lot of older artists like Dusty Springfield, Janis Joplin, Dinah Washington, Billie Holliday, and Elvis. I kind of have a very eclectic repertoire of things I listen to. I would definitely say Kanye West. I met Kanye when I was with the Pussycat Dolls in 2005 and he was on his horizon and fairly big but not the magnitude he is now. I said “Oh my god I would love to work with you!” and he was all for it. Some people over there weren’t feeling my idea so that never happened. He was so gifted back then. So I would pick him because he’s such a visionary who gravitates to doing things that are outside the box. I also would pick John Mayer who’s great or Bruno Mars. If it were a female it would probably be Ciara or someone that has a different sound than me or a sound that compliments mine.
Drew: Since you’ll be playing the Dublin Pub on Long Island, how do you like performing live in New York? How does it compare to playing in other places?
Kaya:All over the world it’s very different. When I was performing in China they kind of just stare but sometimes they get really excited and scream. During the song they just watch you but once it’s over they’re very happy. American crowds are very involved and engaging. They let you know when they like it or don’t like it or how they’re feeling. But anytime I’m in New York I love it. Long Island is great. I love going to some of the smaller cities. A lot of artists don’t get to travel to the small cities as much. It’s a lot more personal. People are really warm and genuine and it’s just a good interaction with your audience.
Drew: Lately it seems like a lot of female artists such as yourself and Lady Gaga have been very vocal when it comes to LGBT issues. How have you helped out that community and when did this begin?
Kaya: The journey began because I had a lot of friends in the community and they suggested I do a show. I was asked to do “Pride” and that’s where it started for me. When San Diego Pride and Los Angeles Pride asked me be part of the movement and become involved in the show. So I connected with GLAAD and working with them and being on the committee was amazing. The issue that started it was when my cousin came out. That was a big deal for my family and they had a hard time with it. Now they’ve come through his journey with him so it’s in a good place. But my friends as well. Working in the entertainment industry I’ve had a lot of friends who have dealt with the lack of understanding so it was personal for me. When I realized there were areas where I could help out like with marriage equality I wanted to get involved. We’re doing an equality tour and I’m really happy to lend a voice to the community but it isn’t on the spectrum of being someone who’s a lesbian or gay, it’s just that they are my friends and family and I’d like to speak out for them.
Drew:In 2010, you spent two weeks in Iraq performing for our troops as part of a USO tour. What kind of feedback did you get from our men and women in uniform and what was your experience like as a whole?
Kaya: I mean I keep saying it was very real because that’s the only way I can explain it. It was heavy and incredible. I had moments with each one of the soldiers I met over there and I’m in touch with a lot of them via Twitter and Facebook, which has been awesome. It was amazing and it was something I’ve always wanted to do from being a little girl and seeing old footage of all the Hollywood stars that have gone over like Ann-Margret and Marilyn Monroe. So it was really amazing to be with them and support our men and women. That was kind another part of why I became active in the LGBT community. I was doing so much with our troops and seeing how they come home and all the rights and issues that our women and women are dealing with so I started going down to the VA hospitals and it became very aware that our Gay and Lesbian community were part of our Military and these people who defend my freedom don’t have many rights. I wake up in this wonderful country and have this freedom because of them and that’s not fair that they are fighting and dying for our country and don’t have their rights. I not only wanted to work with the USO but be part of the equality movement.
Drew: Give us some insight into your latest EP entitled Release. Which track would you say you’re most proud of and why?
Kaya:That’s so hard! They’re actually all my babies. Because you spend so much time perfecting each one. The EP is actually a snippet of the new LP, which is coming out in the New Year. I’m really excited about the LP because it’s a full motif of sounds but the EP is a teaser of what to expect. “Release the Energy” is about your inner light, finding your inner strength and releasing it. It’s about knowing what that is and being proud of what you have to offer this world. So it’s a very empowering song. We release our energy in a positive way whether it’s at work or with or family or friends. We do something wonderful for this earth and for ourselves. “Boyfriend” is about being dumped for a man, which actually happened to me. But the remix of that is a completely different take on it. “Like U” is a mid-tempo ballad, which will be included on the full LP and that for me, is a sweet song. There’s that statistic where men think about sex every seven seconds and that was my take on the idea that women do too. So men aren’t the only ones and it’s kind of empowering to say, “Hey, we do too.” I can’t say I have a favorite. They’re all my favorites.
Drew: This year you shot a music video for the single “Take It Off.” How much input did you have in the making of it and what was the process like?
Kaya: “Take It Off” was a lot of fun. We went out to the desert to this junkyard. The input I kind of threw in was when they had me in front of a car and I was like “Can they have me working on the car?” and they were like “OK.” So I had this wild idea to cover myself in real car oil, which isn’t the smartest thing to do because it doesn’t come off easy. It takes this special liquid that you have to use in order to get it off your body so we were shooting it and the next day I was in the tub at 1 AM scrubbing. It felt like someone took a Brillo pad to my skin so that wasn’t the smartest idea. Plus it was very windy in the desert. It looked so nice but we were all sweaty and dirty. But I love that video. Working with Regi was awesome.
Drew:Finally, where do you see Kaya Jones in 5 years?
Kaya: Oh wow. Well we have the LP coming out. I’m going to be back in the studio and recording my next record. It will be a double disk in case you like two albums in one. After that we’re doing a Christmas album. I see many more albums, focusing on building my brand, and going into film. It’s something that I’d love to do as well and I take it very seriously. Sitting with my coach and making sure I’m ready for all of that. Working with my clothing line and label, which is my focus. Any endeavors I have are through my label so looking for new talent and new artists to sign onto my label. So I see myself in 5 years helping out my artists and being part of that artistic process because I know what it’s like to not be heard so I definitely want to listen to the ones we sign and make sure they are fully involved in what they want to do and say. Making sure they have artistic freedom.
Drew’s favorite song was The Beatles “Let it Be” God Bless You Drew. We miss you.
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