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Funnyman Jon Lovitz Endures Our Annoying Questions

Last updated: March 12, 2012 at 4:15 pm. Posted by in Celebrities, Flamingo Las Vegas, Las Vegas Casinos, Las Vegas Shows. Comments Off on Funnyman Jon Lovitz Endures Our Annoying Questions.

Comedian and actor Jon Lovitz brings his unique comedic flair to Flamingo Vegas, Mar. 16-17, 2012.

We asked the TV and film veteran some probing questions, which, in blog parlance tends to mean “softball,” which is O.K. in this instance because Lovitz lists “A League of Their Own,” a movie about baseball, among his credits. Let’s slide right into the interview.

POV Blog: Most people know you from “Saturday Night Live” or your films. How do they react when they hear you do stand-up, which you’ll be doing at the Flamingo?

Lovitz: Most people assume I started my career as a stand-up and am going back to it. I used to do Woody Allen and Lenny Bruce’s routines in my college dorm. I started doing my own material nine years ago and have been touring the United States and Canada the last seven years.

Jon Lovitz

Bonus fact: Jon Lovitz's father was once the family doctor for the Jackson family. You know, Tito and Jermaine. That Jackson family.

POV Blog: What’s your stand-up show like? Do you do your classic SNL characters?

Lovitz: I do all new material in my act. I don’t do any of my characters from “Saturday Night Live.” It’s just my own personality. I make fun of myself, religions, celebrities, men, women and play the piano and sing funny songs.

POV Blog: What do you think of the new crop of SNL writers and performers? Do you think there was a golden age of SNL?

Lovitz: I think the group on now is terrific. I did a cameo on the show when Dana Carvey hosted about a year ago. I thought, “I’m meeting all the new guys on the show.” Turned out, they’d been there eight years! They were all very nice and, I thought, extremely talented!

Jon Lovitz Saturday Night Live

The SNL crew in the late '80s, including Dana Carvey, Phil Hartman, Jan Hooks and Jon Lovitz (far right).

POV Blog: Why does The Groundlings (an L.A.-based improv company) produce so many comedy superstars, and does it involve some kind of brainwashing?

Lovitz: Larraine Newman was hired from The Groundlings by Lorne Michaels in 1975 for the original cast. Lorne came back to the show in 1985 and hired me. So, it’s really Lorne who keeps going back to The Groundlings for the show. The Groundlings have a great school and comedy group. They really know how to teach improv, writing sketches and creating characters. It’s the perfect training for “Saturday Night Live,” although that’s not why the group exists. Once you’re lucky enough to be chosen for “Saturday Night Live,” you have to work your butt off. The show is very competitive and you have to come up with new and great ideas every week. So, if anyone succeeds off that show, it’s because of their talent and hard work. But without The Groundlings, I never would have gotten “SNL.”

POV Blog: You were in “Big.” We love that movie. Not really a question, per se, but we thought you should know. Care to share any memories?

Lovitz: “Big” was fun. I only worked on it a week. Penny Marshall had befriended me and hired me for “Jumping Jack Flash,” and then “Big.” I had become friends with Tom Hanks, so it was great working with him. And I was excited to work with him as an actor. He really is so real, it makes you better. And I kept trying to make him laugh, which I did. So, it was working with friends on a great movie.

Big movie Jon Lovitz

Jon Lovitz was pitch-perfect as Tom Hanks' co-worker in "Big."

POV Blog: Is stand-up more pressure than performing as part of an ensemble?

Lovitz: It took me 20 years to get the guts to start doing stand-up. It’s very hard, being up there by yourself. My heart would be pounding through my chest. But now, I have a lot of fun. I asked Dana Carvey, who’s a great stand-up, “How do I get over the fear of being onstage alone?” He said, “Just keep getting up there and eventually it goes away.” He was right. But there’s always a tiny bit there, right before you go on. Once I’m out there and the audience is cheering, it goes away.

POV Blog: You guest-starred on “Seinfeld” and “Friends” in the same week. What the hell?

Lovitz: Lisa Kudrow and Courtney Cox had just gotten “Friends.” They called me up to ask if I’d be on their show. “Friends” was just starting. I was the first famous guest star on the show. It was their eighth show. I’ve known Lisa since she was five. Her brother is my best friend and I grew up with her family. I had met Courtney in 1988 on a movie, “Mr. Destiny,” and we became friends. So, six years later, there I was on “Friends.” I was in rehearsal for “Friends,” and that weekend, on a Sunday, Larry David called me up and asked me to be on “Seinfeld.” I said I was shooting “Friends,” so he said he’d work around their schedule. I ended up shooting “Friends” and “Seinfeld” the same week. I did “Friends” as a favor to Lisa and Courtney. You have to remember, it wasn’t a big hit when I shot it, it was just starting. I thought it would be fun to work with Lisa and Courtney, and also, to have Lisa’s parents see us working together. “Seinfeld” was a huge hit at the time, but by the time my “Friends” episode aired, “Friends” was huge and I thought, “Well, they did me the favor by having me on it.”


POV Blog: Charlie Sheen. And, begin…

Lovitz: Charlie Sheen is a great guy. I met him years ago and worked with him on a movie, “Good Advice,” and also on “Two and a Half Men.” Everyone who knows him, loves him. He’s very smart, charming and funny. And he’s very professional. On “Good Advice,” I was extremely impressed by how prepared he was and how great an actor he was. He’s very, very talented and hard-working. And I was just as impressed by his professionalism on “Two and a Half Men.” We’ve become friends and I have nothing but nice things to say about him. He’s very, very funny!

POV Blog: We’ll give you a pass on that one. We’re a blog, not a “TMZ.” Although, people might enjoy your roast of Charlie Sheen on the YouTubes. What’s more fun and/or challenging, acting or stand-up? What do they have in common, and what’s different?

Lovitz: To me, stand-up is acting. Acting is performing. But there are different requirements. In a movie, you are doing a scene with another person and are reacting off of them. In stand-up, your scene partner is the audience. They are both very difficult to learn to do well and take years of practice. The whole art of stand-up and acting is to make it look like you are just talking off the top of your head. But you’re not, and it’s a lot of work to make it look easy and fun. Just like a ballet dancer, they look effortless dancing. And it’s literally years of practice and tremendous strength, coordination, timing, stamina and using your brain. Although, in stand-up and acting, you can be fat and still do it. Otherwise, it’s ballet.

Another surprising Lovitz fact: He’s a talented singer. We know this because it takes a great singer to sound like a bad one, as he exhibited with his take on “Ladies Night” in “The Wedding Singer.”


POV Blog: What are your impressions of Las Vegas? What restaurants do you hit when you’re in town?

Lovitz: I love Las Vegas. The quality of the food at the restaurants is the best in the world. It’s unbelievable, the best fish is in the desert! Joe’s Stone Crab (at the Forum Shops at Caesars Palace) is a favorite of mine. Just get their salad. You’d swear they just picked the lettuce from the ground and washed it off and served it. It’s so fresh and crispy, it’s amazing. I’m not joking, it’s literally amazingly delicious! And the stone crabs there are so sweet and fresh, like it just came out of the ocean. Amazing. SW at the Wynn. Fantastic food. Rao’s at Caesars Palace is also incredible. The scrambled eggs at Mr. Lucky’s at the Hard Rock, amazing, the best ever! How the desert has the best food in the world is a feat in itself. The shows in Las Vegas are great, the hotels are great, the pools are great. People should come here. It’s the best deal in the country!

Thanks to Jon Lovitz for indulging our annoying questions, and see the comedian and actor live at Flamingo Las Vegas. Learn more and get tickets.

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