Actor Kevin Pollak (you know, A Few Good Men; Grumpy Old Men) knows standup — he started practicing at age 10. Famous for his spot-on impressions of intense talkers Christopher Walken, Jack Nicholson and William Shatner, Pollak knows “the funny.” And our own funny local friend Geoffrey Welchman of the hilarious Inverse Delirium podcast, well, he happens to know Kevin Pollak. And now you can, too.
Pollak performs at Magooby’s Joke House in Timonium March 8-10. He recently performed on a new Inverse Delirium podcast, too — you can play the episode right now.
Though he’d never met Pollak, Welchman wrote a sketch with the actor in mind, knowing he was due in town for the standup gig, then emailed Pollak an invitation to participate in the podcast. We asked Welchman for behind-the-sound-scene details.
How’d you entice Pollak to join the cool show you craft in your basement?
He emailed back, which was a thrill, and asked to see the script, which was an even bigger thrill. Luckily I tacked on a second idea at the bottom — about an audition for voice actors, really just a premise. It turned out he liked that better than my script, so I quickly fleshed that second idea out and sent it, and he liked it and agreed to record it. All this took place in few days, and by the end of the week I had his recording in my email.
How long have you followed Pollak’s work?
Like many people, I knew of him first from his movie roles, particularly in two of my favorites, The Usual Suspects and Grumpy Old Men. I didn’t realize he’d started as a standup comic — I only became aware of his incredible impressions from his Christopher Walken bit in the comedian documentary The Aristocrats in 2005, and I began to follow him more closely.
Then a couple years ago, I heard he had started a podcast and I was hooked within the first few shows. He does rapturously long interviews with great comedians and actors (Judd Apatow, Rob Reiner, Laraine Newman, Adam Carolla, etc.). The great thing about his show is he talks to his guests as a peer rather than an interviewer, which seems to enable a relaxed flow, full of great stories.
What has he meant to you as a comic?
I really respect his abiding love for the craft of standup, and his smart-alecky tone. And of course, his impressions… But I have to say he made an even bigger impact as a podcaster. Listening obsessively to his podcast (along with Marc Maron’s and Doug Benson’s) for three months in 2010 inspired me to start my own podcast! So even though I went in a sketch-comedy direction, Kevin is one of my podcast heroes.