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The conqueror nerd

Brian Posehn looks the part

You may not recognize the name, but you’ve probably seen this comedian, actor, writer, musician somewhere. Courtesy photo

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One would be hard-pressed to name a guy who looks more like what he is than Brian Posehn. If you live in the Venn-diagram intersection space where folks who love both standup comedy and genre-geek culture reside, then you know the stereotypical appearance of your tribe. Balding on top but with a scraggly beard? Check. Black Star Wars T-shirt? Goes without saying. Glasses? Why not? A physique that speaks of fewer hours spent at Planet Fitness than at Pizza Planet's lunch buffet? Naturally. Stretch that ungainly form to a Wookie-esque 6'7, and you'll paint an unmistakable portrait of veteran standup comic Brian Posehn. If it seems we've been ungracious about his physical appearance, you should hear how he talks about himself. "My wife worries about me cheating on her," he told audiences in 2014, and when they laughed, he agreed with their response. "You all should be going, ‘Whaaat?'"

The fact is, Posehn (rhymes with domain) has justification for his dad bod now. He's the father of a young son, which necessitated certain changes to his lifestyle. Once famously devoted to herbal intoxicants, Posehn swore off cannabis in 2011. His wife was pregnant that summer, so she reasonably asked her habitual wake-and-baker spouse to smoke outside. "I'm outside, it's raining out," he told International Business Times, "I'm bent over trying to light a joint and smoke it ... and that's when it really starts to feel like an addiction. I felt kind of pathetic." He says some fans still haven't forgiven him.

Even in the clutches of demon weed, though, there was never anything pathetic about Brian Posehn's showbiz resumé. He was born and raised in Sacramento, California, but a few years of standup gigs in L.A. landed him on Mr. Show With Bob and David, followed by Friends, NewsRadio, Seinfeld, The Big Bang Theory and New Girl. In the late '90s, he was a contributing writer for Space Ghost: Coast to Coast. Then came steady gigs on Just Shoot Me! and the WB animated series Mission Hill. He played a recurring mortician on Reno 911! and was featured alongside Maria Bamford, Zach Galifianakis and Patton Oswalt in the 2005 documentary The Comedians of Comedy. He played "Brian Spukowski," half of a metalhead gay couple, on Comedy Central's The Sarah Silverman Show (2007-2010). The heavy metal character was no pose, incidentally: Posehn is tight with Anthrax, The Cult and Rob Zombie, and released his own metal record, Live In: Nerd Rage, in 2006. He hosts a podcast, Nerd Poker, and co-wrote a 45-issue run of the Marvel Comics series Deadpool.

"I had agents tell me I couldn't be a comic, writer and an actor," Posehn told the Albuquerque Journal. "But how was I going to stay busy only doing one thing?"

Brian Posehn, 8 p.m., Thursday, Nov. 16, 7:30 and 10:30 p.m.; Friday-Saturday, Nov. 17-18, Tacoma Comedy Club, 933 Market St., Tacoma, $17.50-$35 plus two menu items, 253.282.7203, tacomacomedyclub.com

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