McGinnis: Farley brings stand-up act to ToledoWritten by Jeff McGinnis | | firstname.lastname@example.org
It’s impossible to not see his brother’s face when you look at his. Kevin Farley knows it. He is the spitting image of his late kin — Chris Farley, the famous screen comedian and “Saturday Night Live” star. So as Kevin works on his own budding stand-up act, he doesn’t shy away from the fact when he takes the stage.
“I think most people when they see me, they relate me to my brother. And so, they know something of my family,” Farley said in an interview with Toledo Free Press Star. “So, I start off just sort of addressing that — I look a lot like my brother. Just sort of get that out of the way, and then I talk a lot about growing up in the Midwest, growing up in a large family, and then some of the experiences of living out of Hollywood.
“It’s a lot of storytelling. Not so much a joke-oriented type of a show.”
Farley will be bringing his stories and memories to Connxtions Comedy Club in Toledo on April 29. Though he is relatively new to the world of stand-up, Farley already has a rich history behind him as an actor, writer and performer.
“I’ve been a performer for a long time. I was at the Second City for years. Early in the ’90s I was down at the Second City doing improv material, really a lot of improvisation. Stand-up is something that I’ve just started doing,” Farley said. “And it’s been going well, I’ve enjoyed it a lot.”
He first started performing in his hometown of Madison, Wis., in the early 1990s, right around the same time Chris was hitting it big on Saturday nights.
“I would perform onstage there at night, doing improvisation, plays, and this and that. And then I moved to Chicago, did a lot of plays, Second City, ImprovOlympic.”
His first big break in Hollywood came in 2000, when he was cast as a member of the satirical boy band “2gether,” first as a movie on MTV, then as a regular series.
“That was probably my biggest television show,” Farley said of “2gether.” “It was pretty surreal. We were a boy band, and the odd thing about 2gether is that it started to become more of a boy band, people started to think that we were a real band. So it was really funny and odd at the same time.”
But the joy of remembering the series comes tinged with sadness, as his co-star Michael Cuccione passed away during the production of the show’s second season.
“It affected me a great deal. I still think about Mike every day,” Farley said. “He was just a sweet kid, and loved life. I learned a lot from him, you know. Because he really loved life. So that’s something I always think about.”
He spoke highly of the lessons learned on the set of the film, “An American Carol,” 2008’s political satire directed by David Zucker of “Naked Gun” and “Airplane” fame. He said he couldn’t help but gain knowledge while on a set surrounded by the “heavy hitters” of acting.
“Certainly watching Jon Voight work is a treat because he’s just meticulous. And also the late Dennis Hopper, I got to do a few scenes with him and see how he worked. And Kelsey Grammer,” Farley said.
“Everybody attacks acting in their own way. So just being able to observe and see those guys, and how they attack a scene, it was invaluable for me to look at that. I was in awe most of the time.”
Farley has more movies coming up in the months to come — including a film set in the Civil War which he said he is particularly looking forward to — in addition to his continued stand-up tour. But as he continues to make strides in show business, how hard has it been to establish his own name, in the wake of the memories his brother left behind?
“It’s not up to me to think about that. That’s up to the audience. I’m not in the business to worry about that, because it’s out of my control.
“As far as making your own name in this business, I don’t know how to do it. I don’t think anyone does. Maybe Khloe Kardashian knows more about it than I do. Shocking! She maybe knows how to make a name for yourself, I don’t,” Farley said. “I just go about getting on stage and trying to be entertaining. I’m just trying to do the best job possible, and let the other stuff take care of itself.”
Email Jeff at PopGoesJeff@gmail.com.