Northeast Times

Nealon to headline at Helium

On stage: Kev­in Ne­alon, best known for his roles in Sat­urday Night Live, An­ger Man­age­ment, The Wed­ding Sing­er and Happy Gilmore, will ap­pear at He­li­um Com­edy Club from Aug. 14 to 16.

For any­one con­sid­er­ing a ca­reer in show busi­ness, Kev­in Ne­alon, about to take the stage at the He­li­um Com­edy Club for five shows Aug. 14-16, has a word of warn­ing: ”Care­ful what you wish for.“

“This is not an easy busi­ness to be in and es­pe­cially be suc­cess­ful in. For me, it got to the point where I wanted to see my kid play ball or gradu­ate from high school, and I didn’t want to miss any of that. I’ve seen that hap­pen. Too many per­formers lose touch with their fam­il­ies. So I say learn about writ­ing. Learn to do something that will keep you in town.”

Still, Ne­alon, 60, wouldn’t want to be do­ing any­thing oth­er than what he’s do­ing, so he’s learned what his pri­or­it­ies are.

“I’ve learned not to tour too much, but rather go out and do week­end dates and then come home and spend the week with my fam­ily.”

Ne­alon was born in St. Louis, Mo., but soon moved with his fam­ily to Bridge­port, Conn. Mem­or­iz­ing jokes from a trade magazine, Ne­alon said he would go to neigh­bor­hood parties and tell the jokes. which every­one seemed to like. In fact, they liked them so much that a friend sug­ges­ted Ne­alon go to New York and try his skills there.

“I took his ad­vice but I found New York fright­en­ing. The crowds were loud and brash and so were the oth­er com­ics. New York was tough so I went back to Con­necti­c­ut.”

After gradu­at­ing from Sac­red Heart Uni­versity with a de­gree in mar­ket­ing, and work­ing at a series of part-time jobs while con­tinu­ing to do stand-up com­edy, he even­tu­ally de­cided to move to Los Angeles to try hit­ting the big time once again.

And this time, he suc­ceeded, dis­play­ing his brand of com­edy on The To­night Show Star­ring Johnny Car­son in 1984. Not long after that, he put his stamp on sev­er­al char­ac­ters as a reg­u­lar for nine years on Sat­urday Night Live.

Ne­alon’s SNL char­ac­ters in­cluded Mr. Sub­lim­in­al (or Sub­lim­in­al Mes­sage Man); Franz (of Hans and Franz), along with his pal Dana Carvey; Mr. No Depth Per­cep­tion Man; and the an­chor of Week­end News, where his catch­phrase was. “That’s news to me.”

Later, he re­ceived crit­ic­al ac­claim for his role in the Show­time series, Weeds. Ne­alon was on that show for eight sea­sons, and was such a strong force that he said some people of­ten mis­took him for his char­ac­ter on the series — a stoned ac­count­ant and busi­ness ad­viser — and were un­able to sep­ar­ate the real man from the char­ac­ter he played.

“That was the nice thing about SNL,” he said. “We of­ten played dif­fer­ent char­ac­ters on the show so people didn’t mis­take me for someone else.”

Ne­alon also gradu­ated to the big screen, ap­pear­ing in many fine films, such as An­ger Man­age­ment with Jack Nich­olson, The Wed­ding Sing­er, Happy Gilmore and oth­ers. He con­tin­ues to do guest ap­pear­ances on many tele­vi­sion shows and even penned a book, but ad­mit­ted he still gets a thrill out of do­ing stand-up.

“Com­edy is my fa­vor­ite form of ex­pres­sion. It’s my forte. It’s my pas­sion. It’s all I ever wanted to do. And even after all these years, it nev­er gets old. It nev­er ceases to thrill me.” ••

He­li­um Com­edy Club is at 2031 Sansom St. For times and tick­et in­form­a­tion, vis­it ht­tps://cen­ter-stage.seaten­gine.com/ven­ues/he­li­um-com­edy-club/events/4780/shows

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