Photo courtesy of Jon Lovitz
Jon Lovitz is HILARIOUS! As a comedic actor for over 30 years, he has a created a body of work that serves as a testament to his capacity. As a fan, one can easily take for granted the challenge of transitioning from a comedy actor into a stand-up comedian.
“It takes 10 years usually to learn how to do it,” Lovitz noted.
For its first-ever comedy residency, The Foundry inside the SLS Las Vegas booked Lovitz and Dana Carvey in “Reunited.” Both met and became friends through Saturday Night Live. Lovitz explains, “I started doing stand-up about 13 years ago and [Carvey] gave me some great tips on how to do it. I’m grateful to him… to be doing a show with him, for me is a real honor. He’s really one of the best stand-ups I’ve ever seen. So, to co-headline with him is pretty amazing.”
Since childhood, Lovitz desired to be a stand-up comic after being exposed to Woody Allen and Lenny Bruce’s works. “I used to think I wanted to be in musicals, but then I wanted to be a comedian like Allen [after] I went and saw his first [comedy] movie: Take the Money Run, when I was 13. Then I saw the movie: Lenny, with Dustin Hoffman, when I was 16,” says Lovitz. These movies inspired him to go and buy their albums from the record stores. “I used to do Allen and Bruce’s comedy routine in my college dorm,” he continues.
After Lovitz graduated college, he attended stand-up workshops on Saturday nights at The Comedy Store. Despite the folly, and as serendipitous as life would have it, someone told Lovitz they weren’t hiring stand-ups. That’s when he decided to focus on acting. Lovitz says, “I thought: ‘I guess I’d just skip that step.’ I thought it was a good way to get into showbiz but I’ll just do acting.”
After spending almost, a year in New York and still being unable to get work, he returned to Los Angeles and decided to refocus on comedy. He began classes at the Groundlings. Then a friend told him to learn camera at the Film Actors’ Workshop. Lovitz confirms, “He’d go: ‘Well, everything in LA is on camera.’ Thank God he told me that because the camera was much different.”
“So now it’s 30 years later and I’m here with Dana Carvey from Saturday Night Live and I feel very grateful.” Jon Lovitz
“I never in a million years thought I’d be on Saturday Night Live.” Jon Lovitz
Lovitz’s performance on The Tonight Show led to getting booked on SNL. Lovitz details, “I was the last person they expected to hit [and] hire. Al Franken said to me, “You were everything we weren’t looking for in one person, but you were funny.” While performing on SNL, Eddie Murphy, Dana Carvey, and Robin Williams all told him he could be a stand-up. He recalls, “The first person that said I can be a stand-up was Dennis Miller!” Despite their encouragement and his college days of practice, “The challenge was overcoming my fear. It’s always something I wanted to do. I would get up on stage and I was so nervous, that my heart was just pounding in my chest.”
Lovitz admits, “I am much better now,” and knows that it takes time to go to the max. He is very excited to be on the Las Vegas Strip at the SLS. He adds, “You know the hotel used to be the Sahara. We are in the same room where all these great performers performed: like Dean Martin, the Rat Pack, Frank Sinatra, and Sammy Davis. I saw a picture in the Cosmopolitan of Louis Prima, Elvis Presley, and Keely Smith. The three of them performed on the same stage that we’re performing on. It’s pretty amazing!”
The art and act of bravery to stand in front of a room of strangers that have not paid to just listen to you speak, but are commanding you to make them laugh is an incredible feat that most have never done and certainly would not dare to do. Lovitz has excitedly taken on the challenge alongside one of his longest and closest friends.
Remaining 2017 Show Dates: June 30, July 1, September 1 & 2, October 6 & 7, 27 & 28, and November 3 & 4. Tickets on sale at FoundryLV.com.
Contact K. Alex Shaw at [email protected]. Find more of her stories at www.highriselife.com, and follow @kalexshaw on Instagram and Twitter.