Brian Posehn - actor, stand-up comedian, writer, recovering Star Wars fan - is a funnyman who's made a career out of being bitter. That might not seem like promising fodder, but it's like Henry David Thoreau once said: "I am sorry to think you do not get a man's most effective criticism until you provoke him. Severe truth is expressed with some bitterness."
Posehn, who might be best known to TV viewers as Brian Spukowski from The Sarah Silverman Program and Kevin Liotta from Just Shoot Me!, is no stranger to severe truth. He's been dishing it out - and taking it - since he started in comedy and acting in the mid90s.
A bear-like man (he's 6'7") who often appears on stage and screen sporting a bushy ginger beard, Posehn is happy to rant about everything from his farts to George Lucas's betrayal of Star Wars fans and everything in between.
Not that he takes himself too seriously. Quite the opposite. This is, after all, the man whose second full-length comedy album, released by metal label Relapse Records, is simply and aptly titled Fart and Wiener Jokes. The follow-up to his 2006 debut Live In: Nerd Rage, Fart and Wiener Jokes is just that - a comedy special devoted to the lowest common denominator. And his latest release, The Fartist, picks up where farts and wieners left off. Obviously Posehn, who will take the Tiger Room stage at CS3 Thursday, June 23 for both a 7 and 9 p.m. show, is a boy who just wants to have fun.
He told The Onion's AV Club that Fart and Weiner Jokes is, on one hand, a joke in itself.
"I'm saying basically, like, 'Take off your thinking caps, lower your expectations, and we're just going to have fun. I brought my fart and wiener jokes out from Los Angeles.' That's the way I was opening for a while. So, that was on the record when I recorded it. And then when I was thinking of titles, much the way I came up with Nerd Rage for the last record, I was looking at joke titles to see if I could get the album title from that. It's just me making fun of myself, like, 'This is all I've got!'"
It clearly isn't all he's got. With countless television appearances under his belt, not to mention two Emmy nominations and a host of writing credits, Posehn's self-deprecation is a bit of a smokescreen. He's clearly a multi-faceted talent famous for his deadpan delivery, wide-ranging topics of interest and a voice that bends easily to fit any part. He's lent his chords to such shows as Aqua Teen Hunger Force, Bob's Burgers and The Haunted World of El Superbeasto, to name three. Also to the video games Halo 2, Cartoon Network Universe: FusionFall and Minecraft: Story Mode. He's even starred in his own music video, Metal by Numbers, which has been viewed over 2 million times on YouTube and MySpace.
Given that Posehn is a self-identifying nerd, it will come as no surprise to many that he's penned a few comic books, including Deadpool Vol. One: Dead Presidents, Deadpool Vol. Two: Soul Hunter and The Last Christmas.
He's also a dad, and a dad who often worries about putting too many "kids are poop machines" jokes in his act, according to an interview he did with Austinist.
"I was a little worried at first because - and I've talked about it on stage - I always hate it when guys change when they have kids. They'll be edgy, and then they'll totally change and be too precious about their kids or tell jokes you've heard a million times about how they're all poop machines. It's true, they are machines that crank out a lot of poop, but I feel like we've heard that. I've been real conscious to not do anything that I feel like I've heard."
Instead, he takes a walk on the more complex side of the street, exploring the gamut of emotions a man might experience when he becomes a father. One of those emotions is humility, because even though he used to do a bit in which he asked the audience to haul off and punch his baby in the face if he ever became the kind of parent who swore his kid "fell from heaven and was made of angel wings and muffins," he admits, now that he's a parent, that he'd prefer you keep your paws off his son.
"I'd like him to remain un-punched for as long as possible," he says in a live performance of The Fartist. "And I know, having my [censored] nerd genes, that will not work out for him."
But maybe dorks finish first. Posehn - star of HBO's acclaimed Mr. Show and the WB's Mission Hill, whose resume includes cameos on Friends, Seinfeld, Reno 911!, Tim and Eric Awesome Show, Great Job!, Californication, The Big Bang Theory and New Girl - is certainly proof that nerd genes can serve a dude quite well. In addition to touring the country and telling fart and wiener jokes, Posehn keeps himself busy writing Deadpool comics and starring in a Dungeons and Dragons podcast alongside some of his best nerd friends. Does it get better?
"I always talk about how lucky I feel," he told Splitsider. "None of those things are making me rich or building my empire or whatever, but they're two other fun things to do. So when I'm home, I look at the calendar and I look forward to having those things. Because we had killed our D&D games when my son was born.
"So, yeah, it is a little bit of a nerd's dream I get to continue that and entertain people."