Brian Posehn has been earning a living making people laugh for more than two decades, primarily by telling fart jokes. Recently, though, Posehn has done something he once vowed to avoid: tell jokes about being a father.
"I had talked about it on my last CD, before my son was born, just about how I never wanted to be one of those comics," Posehn says. "The old joke was, if I ever talk about how precious my kid is, I want you to punch my baby."
To deal with the conundrum of creating material about a topic he once considered hacky and worn out, Posehn decided to do what he does best: make more fart jokes.
On his latest standup album, the aptly titled The Fartist, Posehn manages to tackle the more difficult aspects of raising his now 4-year-old son—like how best to introduce him to the original Star Wars trilogy—while maintaining the edge that's made him a favorite in the alt-comedy world.
"I started to notice that it didn't matter what the topic was if the comic is good," Posehn says. "When I first started seeing Louis C.K. talk about his kids, I was like, 'This can be done in a fresh way if you just do your spin on it.' I found my angle. I always knew in my heart I would find a fresh way of talking about it."
Fatherhood isn't the only recent change in Posehn's life. A featured comedian in the 2007 documentary Super High Me, Doug Benson's love letter to pot, Posehn has been weed-free for two years.
By becoming a dad and swearing off marijuana, Posehn has proven it's never too late to grow up, even at 47. But have the changes in both lifestyle and material had a negative impact on a comic with a decidedly heavy-metal fan base?
Posehn says not at all. Chalk it up in part to some fans becoming fathers themselves, along with the staying power of various Posehn-related projects such as The Comedians of Comedy and Mr. Show. Or maybe it's just because, like a fine wine, the best fart jokes get better with age.
"There's a little disappointment every once and a while where [a fan] will go, 'Hey, man, I rolled you one but I know you don't do that anymore,'" Posehn says. "[But] there's been no backlash at all because I'm doing my thing. It's still me. I haven't really changed."
Tickets and official site: musicfestnw.com
SEE IT: Brian Posehn is at White Owl Social Club, 1305 SE 8th Ave., on Thursday, Sept. 5. 10 pm. Free with MFNW wristband, $20 general admission. 21+.