Sketch(ing) Comedy (with Kevin Nealon)
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I grew up watching Kevin Nealon on SNL, and now he’s on my podcast. Are you joking??? Along with being an incredible comedian, Kevin tells me about his lifelong passion for drawing. His new book “I Exaggerate: My Brushes with Fame” features stories about celebrities he’s met, accompanied by caricatures he’s drawn of them. Kevin even gives me a peek at what my caricature would look like. Plus, he shares the origins of Hans & Franz and why his current show might be the most “breathtaking” work he’s ever done.
Please note, Funny Cuz It’s True contains mature themes and may not be appropriate for all listeners.
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Elyse Myers, Kevin Nealon
Elyse Myers 00:00
What is the weirdest encounter I’ve ever had with a street artist? Great question, I would love to tell you. When I was in high school, I went on a road trip to San Francisco for like an entire week, a large group of my friends, my boyfriend and myself, slept in a very crowded hostel. And it actually allowed me to eat many chili bread bowls, more than like any human being has any business consuming in a seven day period. Now this trip was already rough to begin with, I started the week off telling a friend of mine that I would have been shocked if my boyfriend and I came out of this trip still dating. Let me just tell you right now, if that sentence comes out of your mouth, before you have left for a trip with your significant other, just don’t leave for the trip, or you leave for the trip and you leave them not on the trip. Just don’t take the trip together. But being 17 years old, I didn’t have the wisdom that I do now at 29. So we went on the trip. And let me tell you, it was exactly as bad as you would expect it to be. I spent the entire week having conversations about the impending breakup between me and my boyfriend with every single person except the person I was going to be breaking up with. So five days into this seven day road trip, all of us are taking this beautiful leisurely stroll along the water in the Fisherman’s Wharf. What I didn’t know about this evening was that my entire friend group had decided ahead of time that me and my boyfriend would be communicating this evening. Whether we liked it or not, we would be having the conversation that we needed to have the entire week. Suddenly, I found myself in the back of the pack standing next to Jason and being told to quote, Tell him what you told me. I take a deep breath. And then I quickly weigh the pros and cons of launching myself straight into the sea that’s conveniently to my left or I can sit down and strike up a conversation with the street artists that we’re going to pass just like right up here. I know one thing for sure though, I am going to avoid having this conversation at all costs. I am all flight, no fight. I ran up to that street artist as if I had been searching for him my entire life. I say I will give you $5 A kiss on the cheek and the remaining leftovers of my chili bread bowl. If you start painting a picture of me right now, what is this man do? He just starts painting no questions asked. No questions asked. By the grace of the Fisherman’s Wharf, I have like narrowly escaped this conversation. I thought, tell me why I thought getting a painting of my face would get me out of this conversation because all I’ve done now is secured a spot in the conversation for the entire duration of the painting. And I’ve purchased a keepsake of it. Someone’s painting the conversation happening in real time. This is my nightmare. This is my nightmare. So now I am trying to sit still enough for this man to paint me. I’m trying to break up with somebody I’m being broken up with. And strangers are passing us on the street watching it happen. Because I think that they think that it’s some type of street art. It is just not on purpose. I am so focused at this point on the breakup at hand that I don’t notice what the artist is actually painting until I catch a glimpse of a stranger looking at the canvas that I can’t see. I’m finally handed the picture. It’s the solar system. He painted planets. I don’t know what I was expecting. But it wasn’t that, I feel so uncomfortable. Both metaphorically and viscerally physically every possible way you can feel uncomfortable. I just hand my ex-boyfriend a picture of planets and say I got you this as a parting gift. And I walk away. Thank you.
Elyse Myers 04:05
Okay, actually, can you just pretend that you’re listening to a fully complete theme song here? I got really in my head. And I tried to make it perfect. And I couldn’t. So this is going to be the theme song right here. Hi, welcome back to funny because it’s true. I’m Elyse Meyers. Today I’m going to be talking to one of the legendary cast members of Saturday Night Live. Kevin Nealon. If you don’t know him from SNL, maybe you remember Hans and Franz. If that was before your time he played Doug Wilson on the hit show series Weeds. Recently Kevin has been producing and hosting the digital series Hiking with Kevin and tours his stand-up globally. He also just released his first book, I exaggerate my brushes with fame, a book of caricatures. He’s drawn of celebrities and the stories that go with them. Two things that are funny because they’re true. Number one, I still to this day, don’t think that I know how to correctly pronounce the word caricature. And number two, beyond my better judgment, I asked Kevin to describe what my caricature would look like. And I’m happy to report he talked his way out of hurting my feelings. And with that, let’s get into it. Kevin Nealon, thank you so much for joining me. Number one, I know that you have a new book coming out. And I would just love to kind of know how you started doing that when you started with that concept. Like, when did that start for you? What made you want to do that?
Kevin Nealon 05:30
Well, I never took art classes, but I just loved drawing. And when I was a kid, my parents had their characters drawn in there in my bedroom frame separately. So every night I would go into bed kind of looking at them and kind of subconsciously studying how they were drawn. You know, I think all maybe the nose fake on him and look at the ears, you know, so I kind of knew that.
Elyse Myers 05:55
Did you start with caricatures? That’s like how you started doing it.
Kevin Nealon 05:58
I grew up reading Mad Magazine. So I liked all those characters. And then I would just do portraits of people. But they weren’t that good. So they look kind of like caricatures. Right. But I am kind of just starting out in it. It’s like anything else. The more you do it, the better you get. So I’ve been doing that a lot. Have you seen me draw?
Elyse Myers 06:13
Yeah, kind of, it became something that I just do for fun. I think that when you’re a creative person, you just kind of find new hobbies to do. It’s interesting, because then you have those skills where people are like, why don’t you monetize it? And you’re like, because sometimes you just need a hobby, you know, especially when your whole world is monetizing your creativity. And I guess I would turn that question to you like it? Why didn’t you ever do art in that way? Because you loved it so much.
Kevin Nealon 06:38
Well, I’m really, I’m really hard on myself. I’m very critical. Yeah. Like, I can’t watch myself on television. Because I’m not as good looking as..
Elyse Myers 06:50
We are definitely our own worst critics. It’s painful, sometimes how much you can like not believe in yourself. When you’re watching yourself, perform something.
Kevin Nealon 06:59
Even hear my own voice. It’s like, really? That’s my sound like.
Elyse Myers 07:01
I relate so hard. I really do. Yeah. I need someone to explain to me why our brains just sabotage us. Why are we our worst critics? Like, there has to be a point where you just say thank you so much brain. That is not helpful. Because I don’t need you to protect me from anything. I’m not in danger. In fact, I’m having the time of my life. So maybe just be quiet for a little bit, and I will bring you back out when I need you. Do you think that there is any like comedy in caricature drawing? Do you think that having to find something to exaggerate helps with comedy or vice versa? Like your caricatures?
Kevin Nealon 07:40
It sounded like kind of so fun the way so.
Elyse Myers 07:46
Okay, really quick, I have always been very self-conscious of the way that I pronounce words, because I’ve always done it in like an exaggerated way like, button. And well, that’s the only one I can think of right now. But, yeah, there’s always been words that I’ve said wrong that people will like, repeat back to me when I say it. And as soon as they do that, I know that I have said something incorrectly. So this moment here, I was like, Oh, my God, it’s happening.
Kevin Nealon 08:11
It’s like when somebody says subliminal, they usually never get it.
Kevin Nealon 08:22
I think it’s gonna be February, it should be January to..
Elyse Myers 08:25
It’s funny, because I tried to imagine when I was like thinking about talking to you what it would be like to draw a caricature. Now, I’m gonna think about it the whole time. And I think that, like, my fear of exaggerating something of somebody would hold me back from doing it. And I think that there does have to be a confidence in your art or your comedy in some way. I really believe you have to be confident in that to make it and then present it to somebody. Because I would imagine you’ve made something for somebody and have they been offended? Like, what does that look like?
Kevin Nealon 09:03
You know, you’re asking about comedy and caricatures. I haven’t developed a style yet either. You know, it’s like, what stand-up comedy. You start off and you’re emulating somebody. And I’m just doing, you know, some kind of a style that a few of my friends do. But, but like I said, the more you do it, the better off you are. And I just I started really doing this. I get a little bit before the pandemic, but because I had nothing to do, none of us did. I started doing a lot of these during the pandemic, and I realized that so they can’t do stand-up comedy. This is more like it’s, it’s non-verbal comedy. It’s you traveese. And people look at him, they laugh. And so that was fulfilling me for comedy during the pandemic.
Elyse Myers 09:44
So you started writing this book during the pandemic?
Kevin Nealon 09:48
No, no, I was hiking with a friend of mine. He’s like a real motivator. Used to be the big trader that can be 80s and 90s. name is Jake Steinfeld and he had a program called body by Jake.
Elyse Myers 10:02
Oh my gosh, I know that. That’s very famous. That’s a very famous program.
Kevin Nealon 10:09
So this guy’s from Brooklyn. He talks like this, you know, let me tell you so, you know, I said, Jake, had you written any books? Oh, yeah, I wrote like 11 books, Ghost Rider. Do you know Ghost Rider? How about you? Have you read any books? I say, Well, I wrote one about 15 years ago was a kind of a memoir. It’s called yes, you’re pregnant. But what about me? Right. He says, you should write another book. You got any ideas? I said, Yeah, I kind of do. You know, I have, I’ve been drawing a lot. And I have stories to go with each character because I don’t even know them personally. Or if I don’t know them, like Freddie Mercury, or Whitney Houston. I’ll just use about going to my first concert. Yeah. So he goes, I’m gonna call Jen. You know, she’s this. She’s a publisher in in Texas. She does Oprah’s books, a lot of Christian books done. And they do well, they do well, on a trail there. He calls her because you know whether I tell him I do. She’ll call me when you get home. So I called her she was on board. She was an agent, not a publisher. So yeah, right on the spot. She said, let’s do this.
Elyse Myers 11:09
Do you like that kind of like interaction where you say something and someone’s like, do it right now or does that excite you? Or does that scare you?
Kevin Nealon 11:15
It does excite me. It does excite me. But I think you just have to be open to that. I like being around creative people. I like to go out to the clubs in Hollywood to do stand-up, but also to be around comedians, especially younger comedians, to see what’s going on in the world, because I want to stay engaged. And I don’t want to be that older guy who doesn’t really know. What TikTok is, or whatever, you know?
Elyse Myers 11:41
I think that with comedy, too, so much of it is what’s current. And I think that if you don’t know what’s going on, or what’s popular, or what people are talking about, then you’ll naturally fade out of that scene without even trying.
Kevin Nealon 11:53
The problem is if you don’t stay engaged, and you kind of fade away, you become a legend before you die. Sometimes […], and no, no, no, I’m still I’m still out there doing, I’m staying current.
Elyse Myers 12:06
Okay, right here, Kevin doesn’t want to become a legend. While he’s still working, that it’s not his time to be a legend yet, because he still wants to be like, relevant. And this is very interesting to me. I have thought a lot about my legacy and what I want that to be at the end of my career, everybody has a legacy, right? You don’t have to be well known to leave a legacy. I think that I want to be known as somebody that creates space for people that opens up myself in a way that people see their stories in my story, to work things out that they’ve never worked out in their life. And also allow them to kind of laugh about it once they’ve figured it out. Okay. Let’s take a break. And when we get back, Kevin goes back in time to his SNL days. So transitioning over to SNL and that whole world, like how long did you do stand-up before you got onto SNL?
Kevin Nealon 13:11
Well, I got into SNL in 1986. So I had been doing stand-up probably for about seven years. And then I got another big show called The Tonight Show, and at me before so that was five years after doing stand-up. And I didn’t know how to do sketches or anything. And my friend Dana Carvey recommended me for the show. And so I went for an audition. And I got really tired when I walked in there because I used to fall asleep watching that show. Plus the stress I get really tired when I’m stressed. Interesting. Somebody asked me wants to see your steak fry. I said I don’t think so. And then I realized I get really tired before I go on and yawning I want to lay down I think that’s a form of stage fright, because your body is shutting down and it’s kind of preparing for battle.
Elyse Myers 14:02
Okay, really quick, this form of stage fright that Kevin’s talking about where he’s like a sleepy nervous person. I don’t know why this is striking me is so funny. Because obviously when I get very nervous, I over talk, I sweat through my shirt. Sometimes I can have a panic attack, I will start to stutter like really bad. And I’ve never experienced stuttering so much in my life until this season of my life where I’m doing so many things I’m scared of pretty much every day. So the fact that he like goes on to stage and just starts yawning does not compute with my brain in any way. I just I couldn’t relate any less to this feeling that he is having with stage fright. Okay, glucose, rather it’s like all adrenaline. It’s like fight or flight but your flight is sleeping.
Kevin Nealon 14:48
Flight is kind of like waiting on the ground to take off. Yeah, so anyway, I auditioned for that show and I flew back to California, you know, that’s not gonna work. And then, you know, a week later they called me and said, come to New York.
Elyse Myers 15:01
Because for SNL when you audition, don’t you have to have characters kind of in your pocket ready to take out or no?
Kevin Nealon 15:08
back then it was still a little rough. You know what that is? And I think at the time wanted more of the chemistry. They were coming off a season that was really for ratings, and they were about to pull the plug on their show. So we all came in and I were friends. And I was dating Jan Hooks at the time. We’ve been friends for a long time. So we’re a lot of us were friends. And we knew kind of each other’s comedy. So I went there. I just started learning how to write sketches and how to do you know, characters?
Elyse Myers 15:36
Did you experience any I guess sleepy stage fright when you were actually on filming the show? Or was that more just for the stand up?
Kevin Nealon 15:44
Yeah, no, the first couple of years terrifying. I remember the first sketch I did it was called Mr. Subliminal, where I wouldn’t miss certain words. And which I learned from I have a marketing degree in BS. So I learned about subliminal advertising. So that was my first sketch ever. And I’m about to go on their way to commercial break to that coming back, like in 10 seconds. And this is kind of a complicated sketch, because you got two conversations going on at once. And I’ve never done a sketch before on TV. So I was kind of nervous. And then five seconds before we’re supposed to go on a Lorne Michaels comes up to me and he puts his hand on my shoulder and he looked at me, he goes, are you sure this is what you want? […] was kidding. Trying to make me feel less nervous.
Elyse Myers 16:28
It was a great impression of him, though, by the way, that was like he’s in the room with us. When you’re writing what I guess would your process have been to create a character from scratch?
Kevin Nealon 16:40
Well, Mr. Subliminal, I used to do my act. So I got to go with Al Franken. We wrote that up. And Hans […]. Dana and I were on the road together with Dennis Miller, like after the first season. And we’re in a hotel, a red line in Des Moines, Iowa. And I was watching Arnold Schwarzenegger, on a show on Showtime was called up close and personal. And they were interviewing Arnold, they said, I don’t know, what do you like to do? When you go to town? You’re kind of on the road, you know, you know, first I’d like to get in, you know, to like, kind of shirt or something like that, you know, and then I go out of town. And then, you know, when he come back to the hotel, I get into the nice light Carlton sheets, you know, things like that. And I call it Dana. So you gotta watch Schwarzenegger and his guys are right. And for the rest of the tour, we didn’t know we were talking like Arnold, you know. And we thought we had to come up with some characters like this before next season. So we got into a room and we just started spit balling ideas. And I used to live in Germany. And I knew the names here, the chairman’s like this Hans and it rhymes with Franz. That’s what you do as you arrive. And they ensure writing those two characters made us laugh more than anything else, because they were just too pathetic. The sense of pseudo bodybuilders who never lifted a weight in their life, and they felt like sexual losers, but they’re trying to cover it. If you think you’re so smart, you know, why don’t you come over you and your share us your belly flab where you took the belt off, you cause a flapper lens. That’s right, you know, and we just act, whatever it was, you know.
Kevin Nealon 18:14
If you think, you know, if you think it’s such a good guitar player, you know, let me see you put that on your lap. You know, the bare belly will keep it off your lap. I think two nice ones.
Elyse Myers 18:24
Hold on, hold on, hold on, hold on, hold on, hold on, hold on, hold on. Hold on. Kevin Nealon is telling me how he created the characters, Hans and Franz. Okay. I actually can’t believe this conversation is happening. This, I, oh my god, I can’t even form a sentence. My dad’s not even gonna believe that this conversation happened till he hears it with his own ear balls. These are the kinds of things that I would buy box DVD sets for. And like, try and find like, behind the scenes interviews about these characters that I grew up watching on Saturday Night Live, like, these are the kinds of things that I spent my whole day watching and the stories I would consume and like, look up to and want to write and think maybe one day I’ll get to do this. And now Kevin Nealon is just like telling me these things to my face, technically to a computer that is presenting his face to my computer. And then we’re talking through the technology, which is also a whole, a whole thing. That’s doesn’t make sense to my brain. Oh my gosh, oh my gosh, oh my gosh, I don’t Oh my gosh, okay. Okay, resume.
Kevin Nealon 19:30
And then we had this sweat suits that were so outdated. And then one day, you know, after like, they came kind of popped about Arnold wanted to come on and be in a sketch. You know, […]. So we couldn’t believe when we looked at each other. It’s it doesn’t mean we’re making fun. And then we realize he’s probably coming on the show to kill us. So that they arrived and they came in the Goddess. They said Arnold’s in his dressing room. He wants to see you guys and we were like two kids caught on to the principal. his office this is it’s over, man it’s over. So we get to his dressing room and his name is on the door, so long, it doesn’t fit went over onto the wall. To go onto the wall a little bit. And then remember we open up the door is full of cigar smoke. We could barely see him sitting across the room, you know, holding a big cigar. And he looks up to us. He goes hello, fellas. How am I supposed to do the accent? So right then we do we had a sense of humor.
Elyse Myers 20:29
I love when people are able to do that people are taking your voice and making it into a character. You could either get so angry at it that you like shit talk people about it, or you can just join in on it. That makes me happy. I’m so glad.
Kevin Nealon 20:43
Oh, yeah. People aren’t really flattered when you make fun of them on their show. You can’t believe it. You know, you can’t even Sarah Palin. She came on the show after Tina Fey makes so much fun of her. She came on the show was part of it. A lot of people have done that. And they love that it is pop culture and it brings a lot of attention to them and their cars or whatever.
Elyse Myers 21:02
Have you ever made a character of from somebody you know, in your real life and just never told them?
Kevin Nealon 21:07
Oh, yeah. Yeah, a couple times.
Elyse Myers 21:10
I guess I can’t really ask but.
Kevin Nealon 21:12
No, you know, I know a writer friend of mine I haven’t seen in a long time. But, you know, he was a very he used to be a stockbroker. And he would talk like this, you know? Like that. That’s funny, right? You think I’m funny, don’t you? Right. That was funny. Right? You know, he talked like that he’s wearing skirt. You like me, right? You think I’m funny? Funny. I was funny wasn’t. So I wrote. I wrote something like that. It didn’t get on. But for the for like a year or two. The writers would be using it to me. That’s funny, right? Like, that’s, that’s funny. Yeah. Another one was this Brooklyn guy that we knew. Dave and I knew this guy. He used to be a trainer at a gym in New York. He’s from Brooklyn. And you know, he had everything figured out. Like, you know, he goes he and let me tell you something. You know, you’re not 25, 26, 27, 28 years of age anymore. You gotta understand how many good summers you think you have left? This life? How many more sunsets are you going to see? So we like that guy.
Elyse Myers 22:10
That would be just like so overwhelming. So I think I would just get in my head and start spiraling like you’re actually you’re, you’re so right. I’m dying soon. Like, I have to live my life. So I heard a fun fact that Chris Farley was somebody who got you the closest to like, breaking character. When you were on SNL. Is that true?
Kevin Nealon 22:29
Yeah, I kind of like prided myself that I never broke character show because Lauren hated that. He said was kind of like The Carol Burnett Show.
Elyse Myers 22:37
And then they would break all the time.
Kevin Nealon 22:38
Yeah, always laughing and it’s fun for the audience, you know, but it gets to the point where, you know, it’s gonna get a laugh. So you kind of are open to it, and you start doing it. And, and it takes away from the sketch, too. I mean, the writers wrote really hard to make a good funny sketch. And then now it’s not about the sketch. It’s about, you know, original sans or whatever cracking up and so I never broke character. And I was proud of that. And then comes the Chippendale sketch with Chris Farley. Right. And I’m one of the judges. That’s me and Jan Hooks and Mike Meyers, who’s in charge with clipboards. But it’s like American Idol. Yeah, and we’re behind the desk, and he’s auditioning for Chippendale dancer against Patrick Swayze.
Elyse Myers 23:24
This is like one of my favorite sketches, by the way, just so you know.
Kevin Nealon 23:28
A lot of people like that one. I think it’s probably one of the best sketches ever. And Patrick Swayze is like, you know, he’s caught, he’s got six packs all over him, you know, the back, he’s got six packs of face, six pack, six pack, everywhere. So they’re dancing. And you know, obviously Chris probably just says belly sloshing back and forth, you know, dancing, get into it. And every time I looked out, I looked down again, because I would have started laughing. And I barely got through that, that sketch. But I did get through.
Elyse Myers 23:59
So you didn’t end up breaking. So you literally never broke on SNL?
Kevin Nealon 24:05
One time I think I do with Chevy Chase at the weekend update thing, but only because he couldn’t read the cue cards. And he kept stumbling over his lungs. And I you know; I was always a huge fan of Chevy Chase. I modeled my weekend update after the character he did. And so to see him like that, I just, it was funny to me.
Elyse Myers 24:24
Am I right in knowing that you kind of popularized the Weekend Update?
Kevin Nealon 24:28
I mean, there’s so many people that did it, Chevy Chase tried to popularize it. Hey, you want to go the brewery, now you already dropped.
Elyse Myers 24:47
And other one is edited it, it like if you did you edit it?
Kevin Nealon 24:51
Yeah, yeah. So yeah, so there was a lot of great we can update and longer title did a great job and Tina Fey of course So, I think Chevy Chase probably was the one that started at all. So it’s always been like the pivotal moment. And that show, you know, kind of like the middle of the show amazing. And it was interesting too, because they roll out the set right in the middle of front of the main stage. And then you’re awake commercial, hospital, and to get the backdrop up in the kids desk in there, and they bring you up there, you know, and you get ready to get your papers and to pencil and then you got like, another minute, where you’re ready, but the audience is just looking at you. So it’s just awkward. And you know, and you’re kind of looking down, like you’re doing work. And then my go to thing was, I have a piece of paper, and I’d be down on a, I’d be looking at an audience member, like I was sketching them. And then five seconds before they come back from the commercial, I would hold up the sketch. And it was like a stick figure, and then I get a laugh from that. It’s that laugh would carry over into me, you know, and they were in a good mood. They knew I was kidding around and stuff.
Elyse Myers 25:58
That’s really smart.
Kevin Nealon 26:00
That was my secret.
Elyse Myers 26:01
That’s really smart. I feel like that that minute silence and pause would completely shut me down. I’m like, very not good at crowds. And everyone asks me if I would ever do stand up and like, Absolutely not. That’s just like, No, I can’t I wish I was shut down in every way. So it’s smart. You used it. You were at the longest standing cast member. When you left right now, it’s been surpassed by, you were on for how many seasons? Or how many years?
Kevin Nealon 26:28
I was for nine seasons and you know, and as I got further along, I got more and more comfortable. To the point where, you know, I decided it was time to leave when I was going out and doing sketches. I still had food in my mouth from the craft service table.
Elyse Myers 26:40
You just make it a part of the character. You’re like, yeah, we I was supposed to be eating.
Kevin Nealon 26:44
But more than that, it was just that showed that I was kind of bored with the show.
Elyse Myers 26:49
We’re taking another break. And up next Kevin tells me about drawing celebrities like Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Buzz Aldrin. I just admire stand-up comics and people that perform because it scares the hell out of me. I just don’t know how I could do it.
Kevin Nealon 27:17
That is frightening. You know, you feel really good. Once you confront your fear, and you do it. It’s like I woke up. Let me know, like eight years ago, I just turned 60. And I thought, man, it’s going by fast, especially now I thought I wanted to do all the things that I talked about all my life, and things that scared me. Yeah. And enough already, you know, enough of the rehearsals, you know, let’s do things now. And one of them was like, being a guest on The Howard Stern Show, because he terrified. Yeah, his interviews, you know, and even make fun of SNL and all of a sudden there. So I did that. And it was just like, you know, I was flying high afterwards because it was like, so fun. And he was so respectful. And, you know, we had a great conversation. And Mike Bennett’s like four times since then, the other thing was Real Time with Bill Maher, because I’m not a political pundit. So I had to like, bone up on all that stuff. And then I went on there, and I did really well. I did three or four episodes. So and then that’s why I started doing all this other stuff, you know, like doing these caricatures, and putting them up and I’m having a gallery showing the summer so amazing. I got a book coming out now. I’m taking Spanish and I’m learning how to play with piano. Because you know, you know, you’re not 61-64 years of age and how much you think you have left.
Elyse Myers 28:39
I have a saying where I’ve everything I’m doing right now talking to you during this podcast. Everything is just made me so scared and I, it doesn’t get easier. You just do get more experienced that feeling those things and pushing through it. I did I had one more question for you. I was like looking through the, like the images that you’ve drawn. And I noticed that like most of them are people that you are like friends with and have personal relationships with. But then I saw there was Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Buzz Aldrin. How did that, how have you? Are you friends with them? How does?
Kevin Nealon 29:12
Well, I used to date Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Ruth Bader Ginsburg I did because she was so popular, and then she passed away. And so she had an interesting face. So that’s why I drew in her Buzz Aldrin I drew because I met him on a beach and in Mexico, hold on. I talked to him for a while. Wait. I went out some charity like thing. And there’s a bunch of like, celebrities, and I guess he was part of it. I didn’t know he’s part of it. But he was on a beach. This was in Puerto Vallarta. And all of a sudden I see him I was is that Buzz Aldrin, it can’t be. He’s there with his wife and I went up to him. I said, Oh my God, what an honor to meet you. And you work, man. Well, can I just ask you a question? What was it like, you know, walking on the moon? I mean, were you ever like scared you won’t get off the moon. He said, and he was serious. Were you a wise guy? I said, no, no. And I thought, why would he say that to me? And I said, No, I was just curious. Because if I was on the moon, I’d be scared that I wouldn’t be able to get off. He said, why wouldn’t I get off? See, he’s a rocket scientist. And everything’s figured out he doesn’t question anything. Right? Sorry, is it I don’t know. I thought maybe the lunar module wouldn’t start. I know sometimes I get into my car doesn’t start. He was well, we did get into the module and we noticed that one of the fuses was sticking out so we call Houston just push it back and we did just took off.
Elyse Myers 30:45
We just called Houston we just gave them a quick dial. Never meet your heroes kids. Just don’t do it. Just don’t meet them. And hearing the story of Kevin meeting buzz on the beach buzz on the beach. As if me and Buzz are like buddies. Like, what’s up buzz? Okay, anyways, also, Buzz Aldrin and Buzz Lightyear. Did anyone make that connection? It’s probably not a connection that needs to be made. But I got sidetracked. Okay, anyways.
Kevin Nealon 31:15
So that was that. So there’s a lot of stories in the book like that, you know, my interaction with those people like, you know, Eddie Vetter used to come and watch me do stand-up at the Improv in San Diego. He would be surfing during the day. And he told me he would come there and watch me like he was on one of the favorite comedians, but then I find out later, his girlfriend worked there as a server. So that’s really why he was going there. But anyway, so there’s a lot a lot of those stories in the book. It is called I exaggerate my brushes with fame. People can preorder now if they lie. And then the hiking show I do comes out. October 27. And I have a lot of great guests. It’s called hiking with Kevin, that’s on YouTube. Oh, my gosh, I’m so excited. And yeah, every week I hike with a different celebrity. And we hike in all the canyons of LA and Malibu, and everyone from, you know, Owen Wilson, to Adam Sandler are on there. And you this year, I’ve got my Paul Rudd, Julian Lennon and Norah Jones and Eugene Levy.
Elyse Myers 32:17
I, gosh, I like I just want to ask all the questions. I know that’s like, not what was asked, but I have like, has that always been a passion of yours to kind of interview people and chat? Is it Are these like friends that it started as friends? And then it grew into this like?
Kevin Nealon 32:30
Well, yeah, yeah, exactly. It started as friends. I was hiking with Matthew Modine from Stranger Things. we’re hiking just here in Canada and seeing him in a while. So we’re talking a lot. And we’re getting a pie and it’s getting really steep. And we’re both kind of out of breath. And you know, can barely understand each other. You know, and I thought this would be funny to videotape like a, like an interview show where we were both so tired. So I got my camera out. So Matthew, when you came to Hollywood, do you have an H? Okay. I just Yeah. So then I posted it on Twitter at the time. And people loved it. And I thought maybe I should hike with somebody different every week. So I got I went through all my friends. And then I ran out of friends. And I started you know, emailing publicists asking if I can go with their clients and got snow balled and it was like concert prawns, it became more and more popular. And people want to do it now. And I enjoy it. I
Elyse Myers 33:27
Congratulations. That’s so cool.
Kevin Nealon 33:29
thank you. Yeah, you can watch it on YouTube. And you can see like, over 100 hikes I’ve done so far.
Elyse Myers 33:35
I have one good question. I know we’re running out of time. But going back to the caricature, if in you, I feel free to not answer this, too. But if you were to draw one of me, what would be the characteristic of my face that you’re like? That’s what I’m going to hone in on.
Kevin Nealon 33:55
Well, it’s interesting, because when I started doing these, everybody, I walked by, I could see their would exaggerate. And it’s like, now I’m walking in a funhouse, with mirrors. Everybody I look at I see the caricature of their face. Yeah, yeah. But you I mean, it’s very, very, I have to really tread lightly.
Elyse Myers 34:19
I will cry about it later.
Kevin Nealon 34:21
Well, you know, your face, you know, there’s nothing that really stands out. And you very plain, very, very.
Elyse Myers 34:28
Normal face. Just nothing to write about. I love how kind you were and I know if you were to draw it, you would just find it. And so thank you so much, though, for being so flattering in that caricature.
Kevin Nealon 34:41
Oh, absolutely. I mean, it’s true.
Elyse Myers 34:46
Okay, hold on. I have never actually seen caricatures as comedy until this conversation with Kevin Nealon. Watching Kevin talk about this skill he has it is this form of nonverbal comedy. So yeah, I think this has kind of changed the way that I see these drawings and yeah, you just I, this is really, really fascinating. Okay, thank you so much for today. I can’t wait to read your book.
Kevin Nealon 35:09
The hiking show comes out October 27. But people can still see it on you. They can see the past season.
Elyse Myers 35:14
Yeah. Oh my gosh, okay, I can’t, I’m gonna get off this call and immediately go watch an episode because I think that’s so fun. I would love to chat all about all that stuff. I just have so many questions. Kevin, thank you so much and have a great rest of your day. If you would have told 10 year old Elyse that I would be having this conversation today with Kevin Nealon. I would have thought that you were out of your mind. Dad, if you’re listening. This episode is for you. I grew up watching SNL my entire life. I own like box sets like DVDs of the best of from every major comedian that has come through SNL. I definitely watched like Hans and Franz and the Chippendale skit that we talked about. And the fact that Kevin Nealon has made a book with this art that he at one point was very unsure of and very insecure about and is having a gallery showing of this art is beautiful. That’s a beautiful representation of doing something scared. Also the fact that there’s so much comedy laced into these drawings. There’s so much history with these stories that he’s telling with his friends and people that he’s had random encounters with on a beach like Buzz Aldrin. And yeah, it’s very inspiring to me. Thank you so much for listening to this episode. Make sure that you check out Kevin’s new book, I exaggerate my brushes with fame out now. If you haven’t already, rate and review the show to help more people find it. Thanks. be back next week. If you want more funny because it’s true. Just subscribe to Lemonada Premium on Apple podcasts for some exclusive bonus content.
Funny Cuz It’s True is a Lemonada Media and Powderkeg production. The show is produced by Claire Jones, Zoe Dennis and […], our associate producer is Tiffany Buoy. Rachel Neil is our senior director of new content and our VP of weekly production is Steve Nelson. Executive Producers are Stephanie Wittels Wachs, Jessica Cordova Kramer, Paul Feig, Laura Fisher, […] and me Elyse Myers. The show is mixed by Brian Castillo and Johnny Evans. Our theme song music was written by me and scored by Xander Singh.