Kevin Nealon: "I Think a Lot of Comedians are Frustrated Musicians" | County Grind | South Florida | Broward Palm Beach New Times | The Leading Independent News Source in Broward-Palm Beach, Florida


Kevin Nealon: "I Think a Lot of Comedians are Frustrated Musicians"

You didn't have to be a total comedy nerd kid to revel in the jokes of Kevin Nealon and, arguably, the finest Saturday Night Live cast in the late eighties and early nineties. You just had to have cool parents. But it's likely that watching Nealon dressed as Franz or reading his version of the news on "Weekend Update" made you into a joke junkie. 

We were able to speak with Nealon, who indadvertedly raised us for about nine years from 11:30 to 1 o'clock each Saturday night. Nealon joked with us about fake pot, talked banjo, and even name-dropped a Fort Lauderdale vegetarian hotspot. 

New Times: I saw on Twitter that Danny Ferrington made a guitar for you. I know you play guitar and banjo. Can you tell me about this instrument?

Kevin Nealon: It's an acoustic guitar, six-string. It's a beautiful guitar. He's a real craftsman. He made guitars for a lot of my friends, including Eric Idle and Steve Martin. And I have a few other acoustic guitars, so this one I wanted really special. I designed the fretboard for the inlays, so I have my initial there, my wife's initial, and my son's initial, and a bunch of swans on the rest of it. 

Do you have an attachment to swans in anyway? 

No, I just think that they look nice, kind of elegant on the guitar. 

Did you learn to play guitar first or banjo first? 

Guitar first. And then I saw that movie Deliverance a long time ago, I liked that song in there. So, I wanted to get a banjo and learn to play that. 

You're an animal rights activist. How do you chose which orgs to support?

I'm not really an activist. I used to do more of that work back in the eighties or nineties. Now, I support more local groups. I help out when I can with PETA, mostly animal groups around LA, like the Amanda Foundation, Much Love, Best Friends, ASPCA. 

You're still a vegetarian. Do you have a favorite dish? 

There's actually a great vegetarian restaurant in Fort Lauderdale called Sublime that I love. Nanci Alexander runs it. It's one of my favorite vegetarian restaurants. 

Who's one of the most interesting people you've ever played golf with? 

Every year, I play up in Lake Tahoe at the American Century Celebrity Golf Championship. I've played with a lot of athletes up there. Wayne Gretzky, Michael Jordan, Charles Barkley. Probably the funniest time I went golfing was with Adam Sandler when we were filming Happy Gilmore, we went out on our day off to go golfing, and I hit a fairway iron, and he was about 150 yards ahead of me, and the ball went right at him and he tried to run away from it, but it smacked him right in the back. 

You have that role on Weeds. Weed is a hot topic. Do you have any thoughts on legalization? 

I think it should be legalized for only medicinal purposes and recreational purposes, nothing professional. 

What's going on with the show? 

We wrapped up this past August, eight seasons of it. And what we smoke on that show is honeyrose herb. It's not pot. But it still has a little kick, cause we get it from the honey rose herb cartel in Colombia. 

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Liz has her master’s degree in religion from Florida State University. She has since written for publications and outlets such as Miami New Times, Rolling Stone, Pitchfork, Ocean Drive, the Huffington Post, NBC Miami, Time Out Miami, Insomniac, the Daily Dot, and the Atlantic. Liz spent three years as New Times Broward-Palm Beach’s music editor, was the weekend news editor at Inverse, and is currently the managing editor at Tom Tom Magazine.
Contact: Liz Tracy

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