Kevin Nealon has spent roughly half of his life, about 30 years, working in entertainment, covering comedy, television, and film. Notably, he was a regular cast member on Saturday Night Live for nine years and starred on the Showtime original comedy Weeds for eight seasons. Even with all of that time spent on television, Nealon isn’t naive when it comes to the importance of the internet as a medium to reach audiences, and that shouldn’t be news just to him.
While in studio with Scott Shannon, the actor/comedian discussed the resurgence of the Hans and Franz characters from Saturday Night Live for State Farm commercials with Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers. They shot numerous spots over two days, with just a few making it to air for television, and the rest for State Farm’s website. Regardless of where the videos would be hosted, Nealon knew his best had to be delivered for all of them.
“You never know who is going to see them and where they’re going to go or end up,” says Nealon. “The internet is so prevalent now… the younger generation doesn’t even watch TV anymore… you got to treat them equally.”
Nealon now has an AOL Origianal web series titled Laugh Lessons with Kevin Nealon. The premise is to have comedians teach children comedy and was inspired by a close friend and longtime comedian Garry Shandling.
“This originated when Garry Shandling… came over to my house. He was teaching my kid pratfalls. He was hitting him with a pillow and saying, ‘Pretend I’m hitting you hard and fall,'” explains Nealon. “So I thought this would be a great idea for a TV show, to have a different comic each week teaching, like, six-year-olds the art of comedy.”
Currently with 12 episodes, Laugh Lessons features comedians such as Adam Sandler, Dana Carvey, Ellen DeGeneres, and Sarah Silverman.
Expanding into television, movies, and now the internet was the natural progression for Nealon, but stand up comedy will always be his first love, and something he will never quit.
“It’s all I wanted to do and then SNL came along, and WEEDS, and those shows and movies,” explains Nealon. “But I never stopped doing the stand up… aside from loving the craft of it, it’s always been a great security blanket to have.”
“These actors that don’t have that, I feel bad for them,” says Nealon, adding, “Because when they’re not working they just watch their bank account dwindle.”
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