Acting Up

It's a shame for fans of stand-up comedy that actor/comedian Kevin Pollack decided to pursue an acting career. Acclaimed roles in films like A Few Good Men, Avalon and The Usual Suspects, to name but a few, drew the San Francisco native away from his stand-up roots. But he goes back from time to time. Pollack's strong point as a comic is his ability to do excellent impressions. In fact, he may be the most underrated impressionist in comedy. It was a talent he discovered accidentally, while joking around with his buddies as teenager.

Early in his career, Pollack turned down a chance to do stand-up on Johnny Carson’s Tonight Show, choosing instead to wait until he had something to promote before coming on the program. A year later he was on Johnny’s couch talking about his work in the film Willow before launching into a string of impressions. He then taught a captivated Johnny how to do Peter "Columbo" Falk. Carson became a fan and had him back many times, and not just to promote films, as acting became Pollack’s primary vocation. He has made almost 40 films in the past 35 years, many of them dramas, several critically acclaimed. His stand-up act still draws raves as well.

Pollack performs at The Improv Paradise Live (5700 Seminole Way, Hollywood) Thursday through Sunday. Tickets cost $21 to $23. Visit
Sat., April 22

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