THERE'S NEVER BEEN a better time to be a nerd than right now. Comic cons are popping up all over the US (including last weekend's Wizard World event in Portland); the movie-release calendar for 2014 is littered with sci-fi, fantasy, and horror fare; and one of the big news stories last week was the announcement of a new set of Dungeons & Dragons rules to accompany the roleplaying game's 40th anniversary.
The rise of geek culture in the popular consciousness has been a very good thing for comedian Brian Posehn. The 47-year-old is already one of the country's most in-demand stand-ups, and he constantly snaps up roles in TV and film thanks to his distinctive appearance and droll delivery. But now, he's found himself stumbling into the kind of work that he's long dreamed of doing.
"It all happened really organically," Posehn says, speaking from his home in LA. "It wasn't like I had a list of things to do. I didn't set out saying, 'Hey, I'm gonna die in a horror film' or 'I'm gonna write a comic book.' It just so happens that these things, [which] have been interests of mine my whole life, are paying off now."
When he's not on a set or a stage, Posehn fills his hours with his now-lucrative interests. He and writing partner Gerry Duggan write for the Marvel Comics series Deadpool, and record episodes of Nerd Poker, a podcast that features the pair playing D&D against other comedian friends. (And, yes, he had the pleasure of being murdered in Rob Zombie's 2005 cult movie The Devil's Rejects.)
If you've followed Posehn's stand-up career for the past decade, you're already well aware of his nerdy proclivities. His stand-up features his obsessions prominently, especially his ongoing hatred of the new Star Wars films ("That's the stuff my son will have to hide from me. He'll come home from a sleepover and tell my wife, 'I watched Phantom Menace and it's not that bad.' She's gonna go, 'You watch your goddamn mouth! Your father will leave us!'"), and his biggest love: heavy metal.
His first two comedy albums, 2006's Live In: Nerd Rage and 2010's Fart and Wiener Jokes, both have extended riffs on music, including a great bit about W.A.S.P.'s Blackie Lawless, responding to a then-teen Posehn's gushing of appreciation with the advice to "grow some tits." The albums also have some metal tunes tacked on to the end, all sung by Posehn and featuring other venerable artists like Scott Ian of Anthrax and Hatebreed's Jamey Jasta.
Posehn is gearing up to take his love of heavy rock to the next level this year. He plans to hit the studio with Ian to record a full-on comedy metal album that, if all goes according to plan, will boast a murderers' row of musical talent.
"There might be a dude from Metallica on there," the comic says, with a touch of giddiness in his voice. "But there will for sure be dudes from Testament, Exodus, Lamb of God... basically all of my favorite bands from the last 10 years."
If all these new opportunities for Posehn weren't enough, one of his proudest accomplishments has been watching his son turning into a mini-nerd.
"It wasn't on purpose, but he knows all this stuff that no other four-year-old should know, like the difference between Marvel and DC, all these villains and their background stories. He's into music too. I love that he thinks the stuff other kids listen to is lame. He actually said the other day, 'Katy Perry and the Fresh Beat Band should hang out on an island together because they're both lame. I like the Ramones and Black Sabbath!' I was, like, 'You're doing all right, kid.'"