HARD KNOCKS HOLLYWOOD:
A comic’s comic who still performs in clubs despite his regular role on Showtime’s “Weeds” and his frequent supporting film roles, Kevin Nealon is perhaps still best known for his nine-season stretch on “Saturday Night Live,” which ended in 1997. But behind a lightning-quick comic mind lurks the heart of an incurable romantic. Nealon, who remarried in 2006 and has a two-year-old child, talked with Eric Estrin about why love and Hollywood are a difficult mix.
I remember when I was getting heavily into standup, which is what I moved out to California to do. I was dating this girl, and I was just about ready to book myself into this college convention, you know, where you kind of do your act and you have a booth set up and you get booked for a lot of gigs down the road. And she was on the verge of breaking up with me because I wasn’t home that much, you know?
So I was like stopped in Newark Airport for a layover and I was gonna be heading out to do this college thing, and I was on the phone with her and I just decided that the relationship was more important than these college gigs. So I cancelled the college event, and came home. And then she broke up with me like a week later.
For me, I think, love has always been my biggest obstacle in this business. I lost a considerable amount of weight after that. I was depressed, but I still went on and did standup no matter how gaunt I looked and sick I looked. People thought I had AIDS because I was so depressed.
But I would get up on stage, and I found that being onstage was kind of an escapism type of a thing. It’s like going to Disneyland. You kind of forget about your troubles and you’re just onstage, doing your act. And then once you step offstage again you’re back into real life. But the more I performed, the more I would get over my distraction of being heartbroken. That was how I handled it.