Over the past quarter century, most have come to know Kevin Nealon as a versatile, if often comedic, actor from television and the movies. However, the Saturday Night Live alum and current co-star of the CBS sitcom, Man With a Plan, claims that all he ever wanted to do was stand up comedy.
In one recent interview, Nealon explained further that stand-up is actually the only thing that he’s done non stop for his entire career in entertainment, a career that, as of this writing, spans 41 years.
He brings his stand-up act, marked by uniquely dry wit and likeable demeanour, north of the border to the Rose Theatre in Brampton on April 28.
“Canada is always inspiring to me,” Nealon told the Review in an interview this past January, “getting outside the mold. Because I can just feel it in my bones.”
Whether it’s because he’s nice to a fault, or because he became famous on Saturday Night Live, a show known for making Canadian comedians famous, Nealon is often mistaken for being Canadian himself. A mistake that the 65 year-old comedian doesn’t mind at all.
Nealon is probably best known for his time on Saturday Night Live from the late 1986 til 1995. Working with one of the show’s most beloved casts, he created some of the show’s most memorable characters, including the Subliminal Man and Hans and Franz. HIs own persona, similar to his stand-up work, came to the fore while he took the coveted position as the anchor of Weekend Update for four years.
Since then, Nealon has found himself in demand. His film credits include Anger Management, which he starred in alongside Jack Nicholson and fellow Saturday Night Live comedian Adam Sandler. Also, he and Sandler teamed up in Eight Crazy Nights, The Wedding Singer, Happy Gilmore, You Don’t Mess with the Zohan, and Blended.
Additionally, Nealon received critical acclaim for his role as a stoned accountant and business advisor on the TV series Weeds, which was honoured with three Golden Globe Awards and with nominations for Best Television Series Comedy or Musical.
More recently, Nealon created an ongoing YouTube series called Hiking With Kevin where he hikes with his celebrity friends in California. He’s gone for tough walks with guests like Howie Mandel, Rob Lowe, Jeff Goldblum and Jack Black.
“The interesting thing about it is the people, when they are outside like that, they let down their guard a lot,” explained Nealon.
Nealon’s show joins the ranks of unorthodox interview shows on social media, with contemporaries Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee, hosted by Jerry Seinfeld, and Between Two Ferns with Zach Galifianakis.
The common thread through all of his projects though is Nealon’s instinctual sense of humour. An instinct that he cannot even repress when asked about how he creates the jokes he is known for
“Being on stage and riffing with the audience is one way,” he begins. “Another way is sitting down at a desk thinking up topics and writing them out, trying to formulate jokes. Another is being with friends – having a conversation in a restaurant or at a party and coming up with something. That’s pretty much the way. Also, stealing. I like to steal jokes too.”
No matter how busy and diverse his career gets, he still comes back to stand-up though. He tours theatres, clubs, and casinos across North America each year and shows little signs of stopping.
Kevin Nealon performs at the Rose Theatre April 28 at 8pm.
Tickets are available by calling (905) 874-2800 or online here.