Comedian Bryan Callen believes men have been pushed around long enough, so it’s time for him to stick up for them.
Someone has to, he said.
“When you watch TV shows now, the men are eunuchs,” said Callen, 46, during a telephone interview Sunday from him his Southern California home.
“On TV shows, the man has been beaten up by his wife; she calls the shots. I don’t think so. I’m trying to be somewhat of a mouthpiece and kind of express my own frustration.
“Male testosterone, male aggression, to have to fight the mongrels coming over the hill, that really doesn’t exist very much.”
Callen brings his manly humor Thursday, March 14, through Saturday, March 16, to Capt. Brien’s Seafood and Raw Bar, home of the Off the Hook Comedy Club, on Marco Island.
Callen said his new standup focus is on how men fit into today’s society, “where testosterone is a banned substance.”
Since the beginning of time until about sometime in the 20th century, a man’s aggression was necessary to survive — whether that meant through fighting or killing animals to provide food for his family.
That’s why, Callen said, men still enjoy watching violence, such as Ultimate Fighting Championship, or UFC, bouts in person and on TV. Today, a man’s fear is being a coward, while his biggest aspiration is to be a hero, Callen said.
Men pump weights even though they are never really need that extra strength to survive, he said.
“When do you need to bench 300 pounds off your chest? That’s what is interesting to me,” he said.
“That’s what I talk about, that frustration of never being a hero. I want to wear a cape and carry a sword.”
For Callen, comedy was a form of survival. Born in the Philippines, his family to moved to India and then Beirut, Lebanon, until violence there forced his family to evacuate to Greece.
Callen also lived in Saudi Arabia until his family eventually moved to the United States when he was 14.
“If you want to make friends with guys, make sure you’re a pretty good athlete and you’re not the last guy picked to be on the team,” he explained.
“And make sure you can make people laugh. I was always thrown into a whole new audience.”
A standup comedian for years, Callen received a major break when the film “The Hangover” became a huge hit in 2009. In it, he plays Eddie Palermos, a Middle Eastern businessman who owns a Las Vegas wedding chapel.
“We just thought we were doing a little movie in Vegas,” Callen said. “That was one of those crazy things and it just takes off and changes the world.”
He starred with Bradley Cooper, who earlier this year received an Academy Award nomination was for a Best Actor for his role in the film “Silver Linings Playbook.”
Callen said he’s been friends with Cooper for about a decade.
“Bradley is impossible not to like. There’s a reason he’s a movie star,” Callen said.
“He’s one of those guys, you’re standing next to him, and you become invisible when women are around. You become just a cup of coffee.”
Callen said he wouldn’t be surprised if Cooper eventually becomes a movie director.
“He’ll give you 15 suggestions quietly,” he said. “He looks at everything.”
Callen said his next movie — set for release in early 2014 — is titled “Ride Along,” starring Laurence Fishburne, Ice Cub and Kevin Hart. It will be about how a rogue cop’s sister reveals she’s engaged to an upper-crust white psychiatrist, and how the cop seeks to destroy the relationship by inviting his future brother-in-law on a ride-along.
For all his machismo, Callen is married with two children — a 19-month-old and an “almost 5-year-old.” Callen is with them during the interview, and his wife Amanda tells him “I love you” as she leaves the room.
“That’s my wife, she knows how to speak to me,” he said, playfully. “And she rolls her eyes and walks out.”
Callen said he believes comedians must be passionate about their material.
“Otherwise you’re just telling joke,” he said. “In my opinion, you’re just a hack. I’d rather talk dramatically and get people laughing and thinking at the same time.
“I’m the professional funny. It’s such a privilege. I can’t believe that I’m able to do this. It still blows my mind. That’s where you really feel like you did something right in your past life to be able to do this.”