Kevin Nealon Is A Man of Many Talents
Man With A Plan’s Kevin Nealon is more than just a stand-up guy.
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, in which he stars as Matt LeBlanc's older brother.
But what even his most fervent fans may not know is that he is also a passionate musician, frequent doodler and, as he tells it, an expert on all things One Direction. Watch! recently caught up with Nealon to find out more about his cultural leanings.
First, tell us about Man With A Plan. How did the role come your way?
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."
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.
Who are your favorite comedians?
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 together in person.
Speaking of funny, you wrote a memoir when your wife was pregnant with your now-10-year-old son, titled Yes, You're Pregnant, but What About Me? Any desire to write another book?
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.
Do you have formal art training?
No. In my bedroom growing up were two framed caricatures of my parents drawn by an artist in Paris and I would invariably lie in bed and study them.
Any other artists you admire?
I love the impressionists, especially Seurat and Monet.
Rumor has it you're also musically talented, playing the guitar and the banjo.
Before comedy I thought I would be a musician, but I just couldn't get comfortable on stage singing. I took up the guitar when I was 10, and after I saw Deliverance at 18 I was inspired to pick up the banjo. And recently I've started taking piano lessons.
Oh, and I play the ukulele. I do a lot of stuff but I'm not good at any of it; it's all for my own entertainment.
What musicians do you listen to?
I've been listening to a lot of One Direction because my kid loves it. We play it ad nauseam. He knows all the lyrics, and I'm afraid I pretty much do too.
By Sam Shelton | Originally published in Watch! Magazine, April 2017.
Photo Credits: Sonja Flemming/CBS (Episodic); Courtesy of Kevin Nealon (Banjo).
Watch Man With A Plan on Mondays at 8:30/7:30c on CBS and CBS All Access.