That’s the ticket! Or so actor Jon Lovitz hopes as he joins other Saturday Night Live alums Tim Meadows and Chris Kattan on the Veterans of SNL stand-up tour for an evening of singing, piano playing and, of course, joke-telling. A cast member from 1985 to 1990, Lovitz went on to roles in films like A League of Their Own and voicing the TV series The Critic. We chatted with the comedian ahead of his performance at the Chevalier Theatre on March 30.
How has it been touring with other SNL alums? It’s a lot of fun. They’re all really nice guys, and I’ve worked with them before. I like it better than just being alone. It’s just more fun to catch up and see old friends.
What can audiences expect from the show? I started doing stand-up and really getting an act together 15 years ago and I’ve been doing it ever since. I tried doing characters, and it didn’t work. It’s just me, and more of who I am. Whatever I think is funny, I’ll stick in the act. I play the piano, I sing songs, I tell jokes. I do political humor, social humor and, if there’s a theme, I guess it’s that we’re in a big social upheaval right now, I believe. Everything’s changing.
Who’s your favorite character you created on SNL? Master Thespian. Being an actor myself, he was kind of a celebration of actors and acting. That wasn’t my most popular character, and it didn’t always work, but that was my favorite.
What’s the highlight of your career? I don’t know if there’s one thing, but of course being on SNL was huge. The two times I was on The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson were probably almost bigger because that was the dream: “What are you going to do when you make it? What are you going to say on The Tonight Show?” I got to go on there once with the Groundlings when I was performing. It was such a giant jump and it was fantastic.
What would be your dream comedic role? Two of my favorite roles I’ve already done. One was A League of Their Own, and then I played Billy Crystal’s brother in City Slickers II. A League of Their Own was playing a character, and City Slickers II was me playing a character, but using myself, not doing a different voice or doing a different walk. Those are both great roles.
Do you prefer performing live or acting? I’m working on a sitcom right now called The Cool Kids. You’re acting in front of the camera, but there’s an audience there, so the combination is fun. I did a game show, Funny You Should Ask. That’s on camera, but it’s to an audience. I like the challenge of both. They both feel live. In a movie, there’s no audience. It’s between you and the other actors and you’re trying to create reality and a situation where there’s tension in the scene and you’re playing off each other—it’s a wave and you just ride it. When that happens, it’s very exciting. Stand-up is between you and the audience; acting is between you and the other actors.
Photo: Spencer Shefa
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