KEVIN NEALON SETS himself apart from other comedic performers with his unique sense of humor, dry wit and likeable demeanor. Nealon is best known for his nine-year stint as a cast member on NBC’s “Saturday Night Live,” and has received critical acclaim for his role in the Showtime series “Weeds.” Kevin is currently seen as one of the stars on the CBS-TV comedy series “Man With A Plan.” A sought-after guest star on television, Kevin has made a number of appearances on “Hot In Cleveland,” “Franklin & Bash,” “Monk,” “Fat Actress,” “Curb Your Enthusiasm,” and “Still Standing.”
In 1986 Nealon got the chance of a lifetime: He joined the cast of “Saturday Night Live” as a supporting player, and became a full-time cast member of the show the following season. During his first years on “Saturday Night Live,” Nealon worked with the likes of Dana Carvey, Dennis Miller and Phil Hartman. He and Carvey created a humorous duo of extremely muscular fitness experts known as “Hans and Franz,” which proved to be a very popular bit with SNL fans. Nealon also played “Subliminal Man” and served as an anchor for the “Weekend Update” faux news sketch for several years, after the departure of Dennis Miller. As part of the show’s writing staff, Nealon received an Emmy Award nomination.
He has published a comedic memoir that chronicles his life, and his experience with going through his wife’s pregnancy called, “Yes, You’re Pregnant, But What About Me?”
Kevin currently has a web series on AOL that he is co-producing with Ellen DeGeneres called, “Laugh Lessons with Kevin Nealon.” Kevin Nealon’s comedy chops have been well-known for years thanks to his gigs on “Saturday Night Live,” ”Weeds,” and now “Man With A Plan.”
I recently had the chance to speak with the funny man himself in between gigs and shooting his hit TV series.
When did you realize you were funny? When I was 13-14 years old I was always playing practical jokes and memorizing jokes. I loved the response I would get –my mom and dad were such good laughers. I was a real “kibitzer.”
Who were some of your comedy influences growing up? When I first started, I was influenced by Albert Brooks, Andy Kaufman, and Steve Martin. Now there are so many different styles of comedy. I like Dave Chappelle, Chris Rock, Sarah Silverman… Matt LeBlanc has really amazed me with his knowledge of comedy and timing. He gets so many laughs out of one joke. And Dana Carvey is always good for a laugh, whether we’re talking on the phone or getting together in person.
Speaking of Dana Carvey, he was the headliner at the Solomon Society Late Night event last year … do you still keep in touch? Do you think you will get some advice from him? I talk to Dana quite often. We hang out and talk on the phone all the time so I will be sure to run it by him as the event gets get closer, maybe even get a few pointers.
You wrote a memoir – “Yes, You’re Pregnant, But What About Me?” Great title by the way. Any desire to write another book? I do actually –I’m gearing up to do another one called “Slightly Off.” I like to doodle and draw sketches, but I’m not real good, so the pictures never really look quite like the person. I’m thinking I’ll have a collection of 30 people’s sketches and next to them I’ll write a paragraph about why I think that person is slightly off.
You were a bartender at the Improv on Melrose in Hollywood, a real hot spot at the time, with incredible performances from some very up and coming comedians. What was that like? I got the chance to meet lot of comics I grew up watching on television. It was surreal. Andy Kaufman and I had a conversation outside The Improv for about 30 minutes. It also afforded me the opportunity to get on stage when someone didn’t show up. Stage time is crucial for a comic starting out.
What’s one of your favorite memories from your days on SNL? Well I was on it for nine years so there is a lot more than one! Probably getting the chance to work with Steve Martin. Also getting to watch the musical performances every week from backstage. I got to see everyone from James Taylor to Paul Simon.
Your web series on AOL, Laugh Lessons with Kevin Nealon, is so funny – where did that idea come from? That’s a great question. Teaching comedy to kids came from one afternoon of hanging with my good friend, who sadly passed away, comedian Garry Shandling. He came over to my house and he was teaching my 4-year-old son how to do a prat fall. He kept saying, “I’m going to hit you with this pillow softly but you have to pretend it’s really hard and fall on the floor!” It was so funny to watch my son—both of them were having a ball!
I have some of my comedian friends come on each episode and teach everything from sarcasm to heckler tips to comedic timing. Teaching these kids comedy helps them tremendously with their confidence and I said to one kid that it even helps with the ladies. Everyone loves a guy with a sense of humor.
I read somewhere that you almost landed one of the most famous roles in sitcom history can you tell us which one? Yeah, it was Ted Danson’s character Sam Molone on “Cheers.”
Speaking of sitcoms…You are on a hit CBS-TV series, “Man With A Plan” – can you tell us about it? Sure, it’s a lot of fun. I play Matt LeBlanc’s older brother who is just constantly giving him bad advice. I was asked if I could do a “chemistry read” with Matt, which is just a nice way of saying “audition.” The morning before, I had a dental appointment that was more involved than expected so they really had to numb me up.
I remember saying to the dentist, “Is this going to wear off in time for my audition?” and he said, “I can’t say it will.” After Matt and I read, I found out he said to the producers, “His timing is amazing, but I think he’s had a stroke.”
That’s amazing. Is it nice to have a regular gig, or do you miss being on the road doing stand-up? My son and wife were so excited that I was going to be home for three months, but after a week or two my wife was saying, “When’s your next gig?” I love the stand-up, but it’s really a young man’s game.
When I first started I would practically live at the Improv in Hollywood. You dedicate your life to it and do two to three sets a night. Now I’m married, with a kid, and live 35 minutes from Hollywood.
I conclude all my interviews with this question…what’s the best advice you ever received? In comedy be as original as possible and get up as often as you can.
Late Night with Solomon Society
Mr. Nealon will be performing as part of Solomon Society’s Late Night event on September 14, 2017 at the City National Grove of Anaheim.
Solomon Society of Jewish Federation & Family Services (JFFS) is Orange County’s fellowship of dynamic Jewish men—brothers, fathers, sons and friends—who today inspire each other through Jewish values and commitment to community. Through business and social networking, leadership, philanthropy, and leveraging its collective power, Solomon Society provides our community with assistance when needed and support for Jews in Orange County, Israel and around the world. The annual men’s events include: Guys’ Night Out, Supper Clubs (with great food and conversation), Mitzvah Matters (events with Second Harvest, Heritage Pointe, Mandel House), Career Mentoring with Jewish college students, topical speakers and Late Night.
This year’s Mensch of the Year is awarded to Stuart Wolfe. Just a little about Stuart…He is the co-founder of Wolfe & Wyman, a respected regional law firm based in Irvine. Stuart chairs the firm’s Banking, Lending & Finance practice group which represents national banks, Fortune 500 companies, and other businesses in complex civil litigation. He is also 2017 Chair of the Banking & Lending Section of the Orange County Bar Association.
Stuart is active in numerous community efforts, including Jewish Federation & Family Services and the ADL (Anti-Defamation League). He has twice chaired JFFS’ Late Night with Solomon Society and is currently responsible for significant efforts in raising corporate sponsorships for this event. Stuart has been on the board of Temple Beth El and the Orange County School of the Arts. He also helped to found the JFFS Milton and Doris Chasin Micro-Enterprise Loan program which offers interest-free loans for startups or existing small businesses. Stuart, his wife Susanna, and their 2 daughters live in Newport Beach and are members of Congregation Shir Ha-Ma’alot.
“I got involved with Solomon Society about 9 years ago and it has changed my life. Many of my closest friends, clients and colleagues are members or are involved in one capacity or another. Being amongst such charitable members and sponsors is not only nourishing, its emboldening and energizing. Throughout the year, we socialize, we fund raise, we host interesting events, we eat and drink … and our families meet for Shabbat and other dinners together. For me, Solomon Society has provided the glue that solidifies a community. Probably the most impactful Solomon Society opportunities for me have been our international trips. The itineraries dive deep into a country’s culture and history, as well as its relationship with the United States, Israel and Jews. You can learn a lot by reading newspapers and books, but there is really no substitute for experiential opportunities.”
Stuart joins a distinguished group of previous mensches: David Stoll – 2010, Michael Stoll – 2010, Sam Wyman – 2011, Frank Ellis – 2012, Phil Waldman – 2013, Gideon Bernstein – 2014, Howard Mirowitz – 2015, and Kenny Beard – 2016.
For more information on Solomon Society of JFFS and sponsorship opportunities, contact Doris Jacobson at (949) 435-3484 or email
Tanya Schwied graduated from New York University, studied abroad in Israel, and currently works as the Coordinator of Outreach and Engagement for the NextGen Department at Jewish Federation & Family Services, Orange County.
WHEN: THURSDAY, SEPT. 14
5:00 PM: VIP Reception
6:30 PM: General Reception 7:15 PM: Dinner & Comedy Show
9:30 PM: After-party & Dessert with Kevin Nealon & Elon Gold
WHERE: City National
Grove of Anaheim
For more information and to purchase tickets please visit
For questions and information about sponsorship opportunities, please contact JFFS’ Doris Jacobson at (949) 435-3483 or SolomonSociety@JFFS.org.