For more than two years, people all over the world had their lives upended by Covid hysteria. Organizations were shut down, people wore face masks and maintained social distancing by remaining six feet apart from one another, and many received a Covid shot as soon as they became available. Thousands of people had to work remotely or were let go from their jobs, students were forced to stay home, and a few public health experts had supreme authority over the entire country.
Around the same time, woke culture — a toxic brew of identity politics, political correctness, and neo-Marxism — became very prominent, prompting people to prioritize race, gender, and sexual orientation above all else. All conflicts were boiled down to the intersections of various prejudices, and cancellation was the usual means of effecting social justice.
While most comedians succumbed to both Covid hysteria and woke culture, there are still a brave few who haven’t. One of those comedians is Jim Breuer, who does the great service of pointing and laughing at how ridiculous the world has become in the past few years. In his latest special, “Somebody Had to Say It,” he takes on the absurdities of Covid policies, transgenderism, woke college students, and the general uptight attitude people have taken about everything. He also discusses experiences he had growing up that manage to be moving yet hilarious.
Rather than making ironic observations, most of Breuer’s humor comes out in his voices, sound effects, and movement. Each character or behavior type is given some kind of gesticulatory motif: Government officials during Covid have German accents and march in goose-step; the media and its followers squawk and bob their heads like parrots; compliant simpletons in the crowd flap their hands and bark like seals; and woke social justice warriors keep having their complaints punctuated by compressed air coming out of their butts. It’s not exactly subtle, but it makes the important point of how these people appear to the rest of the world — not as serious people with serious ideas, but as annoying caricatures who kill everyone’s fun.
When it comes to making social commentary, Breuer is more than happy to plunge into sacrosanct subjects and cut through the hypocrisy. For so long, these were subjects that no one could touch since doing so could misinform people and potentially kill them. It seemed like no one would ever call out the thoughtless dullards who thought a mask kept them safe on a crowded plane, the vain peacocks who showed off their arms after getting the vaccine, or the condescending prigs who swore by “the science” without bothering with common sense. Yet Breuer does, and it’s a relief to laugh with the audience about all of it — who are really, in the end, laughing at themselves since nearly everyone fell for it.
Breuer is also mostly on target when lampooning woke culture, though he doesn’t delve too deep or push too hard on it. He mocks his teenage daughter who comes back to visit him after six weeks at college. In this short time, she endlessly recites woke nonsense.
However, as funny as Breuer’s material is, his stories about his childhood are often funnier. Breuer happily admits his birth was a mistake and that it was a miracle he made it into the world. The stories of his parents are relatable and speak to a different time that was simpler and less pretentious. In contrast to his own children, who can travel around the world, he revels in his memories of eating Chinese food with his mom and playing in the sprinkler with his friends.
In contrast to society’s great fear of death, he speaks fondly of holding his dying father in his arms and witnessing his last breath. This seems like it’d be too heavy to be funny, but it works, and as Breuer rightly says, it’s a way of coping and accepting what life throws at people.
On the whole, “Somebody Had to Say It” is refreshing and cathartic. For the uptight minority heavily invested in the ideas he lampoons, they may need a trigger warning. For the tired majority of people who soldiered on through the madness, much of it will be welcome and not all that offensive — surprisingly, Breuer rarely uses profanity, and he isn’t excessively lewd.
Like any good comedian, Breuer keeps it real and retains his humility. If even a few others follow his lead, the world would be a much happier — and funnier — place.