Jon Lovitz has a resumé a mile long, with a five-year stint on Saturday Night Live and countless television and movie roles.
Yet about nine years ago, he started to see those roles dry up. He decided to try stand-up comedy and asked his agent and manager for help.
“They both said, ‘why don’t you sell your house?’,” Lovitz said.
Undeterred, Lovitz took to the stage at Laugh Factory and met comedians like Dane Cook who encouraged him to perform his own material and move away from doing characters from his Saturday Night Live days.
People liked when he shared his observations on politics and culture, so he ran with it. He’s touring his stand-up act, with a show at Nanaimo’s Port Theatre June 22.
“Now I’m enjoying it more than ever,” Lovitz said.
He grew up in California, attending University of California at Irvine to study acting. His work with Groundlings performance group landed a spot on The Tonight Show, which ultimately led to an audition for Saturday Night Live in 1985. He stayed there for five years.
“I never thought I’d be on Saturday Night Live ever,” Lovitz said. “It was just another world.”
It was Al Franken, SNL alumni and current U.S. senator, who told Lovitz, “you were everything we weren’t looking for in one person – but you were funny.”
Lovitz went on to craft characters like the Pathological Liar with his catch line “that’s the ticket!”, and Master Thespian with John Lithgow.
He also did voice-over work for animated shows like The Critic and The Simpsons, where he voiced Marge’s high-school sweetheart Artie Ziff.
Lovitz is also remembered for roles in movies such as Rat Race, The Wedding Singer and A League of Their Own.
He performed at celebrity roasts for Bob Saget and Charlie Sheen, and performed on Broadway and at Carnegie Hall.
“To me, it’s just all acting,” Lovitz said.
Lovitz opened a comedy club in San Diego, featuring some of his friends from SNL. Kevin Smith, director of the Jay and Silent Bob movies, hosts his popular podcast from the theatre.
“[The podcasts] became so popular they started doing them in clubs,” Lovitz said.
Politics is one thing he doesn’t plan to pursue, preferring to offer his observations on current events and anything else that makes him do a double take.
“A stand-up comedy act is not the time to be politically correct,” Lovitz said.
Opening Lovitz’s show at the Port Theatre is Nanaimo comedian Peter Hudson, who also opened for Nikki Payne earlier this year.
The show starts at 8 p.m. VIP tickets are $49.50; $39.50/general. Please call 250-754-8550.