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Whatever Happened To Kevin Nealon?

Comedian and actor Kevin Nealon made a name for himself as part of the "Saturday Night Live" cast between 1986 and 1995. He made audiences laugh with original characters and spot-on impressions of other celebrities and also served as an anchor for the popular "Weekend Update" segment, giving some of his most memorable comedic performances while delivering satirical news. After his successful run on "SNL," Nealon entered the film world with roles in multiple Adam Sandler-led projects including Gary Potter in "Happy Gilmore" and Stanley the Gatekeeper in "Little Nicky."

In addition to these film roles, Nealon also appeared in all eight seasons of the popular Showtime series "Weeds." In a 2012 interview with Rolling Stone, Nealon explained that he and his character, Doug Wilson, have very opposite personalities, but that he still enjoyed the experience of being on the show. Although it may seem as if Nealon's career slowed down after "Weeds" went off the air in 2012, the multi-talented performer has expanded his horizons and found new creative passions.

Instead of limiting himself to film roles, Nealon has spent several years immersing himself in various projects. For example, his resume now includes being a visual artist, a web series producer, and a charity fundraiser. Most notably, he has continued to do what he does best: stand-up comedy. Overall, Nealon appears to be living a full life and enjoying success on his terms.

He started a family

As "Weeds" kicked off in 2005, Nealon's personal life also entered a new chapter. That same year he married Susan Yeagley, an actress who has had roles in television and film projects since the '90s. Fans may recognize her from minor parts in films like "Coyote Ugly" and "Almost Famous," as well as a nine-episode appearance in the comedy series "Rules Of Engagement." According to People, the couple married in Bellagio, Italy, in a small ceremony. After just two years of marriage, the couple became parents. Nealon's son, Gable — his first and only child — was born when the comedian was 53 years old.

During an appearance on the "For The Love With Jen Hatmaker Podcast," Nealon and Yeagley opened up on their marriage and parenthood and Nealon explained that he was excited to have a child because he felt that fatherhood was always meant to be part of his life. The couple has been married for over 15 years and both continue to have successful acting careers while maintaining their small family.

He takes celebrities hiking

In recent years, many creators have turned to the web series format to share their unique content. In 2017, Nealon launched a YouTube series he calls "Hiking With Kevin." In the show, Nealon takes a different celebrity on a hike every week and interviews them about various subjects. Each episode is relaxed and conversational, and audiences see the beauty of the hiking trails outside Los Angeles and Malibu. In a September 2022 interview with The Los Angeles Times, Nealon shared that hiking is one of his passions. He also noted that many people feel more comfortable opening up to him in this informal style than they might in a traditional interview.

The series is now in its fourth season and has featured some big-name guests including Adam Sandler, Conan O'Brien, Courteney Cox, Martin Short, Kristen Bell, and Kumail Nanjiani. Although many of his guests are comedians, Nealon has also interviewed musicians, athletes, dramatic actors, and authors. As the show progressed, Nealon began to explore hiking in international locations. For example, a Season 4 promo on YouTube shows Nealon traversing a hiking trail in Ireland. As he wanders the route, Nealon explains the many sights he passes along the way. "Hiking With Kevin" has over 100 episodes and counting, and Nealon shows no signs of slowing down production.

He continued voice acting

Nealon frequently appears in live-action roles, but he also has some voice-acting credits to his name. For instance, he voices Gary Stein in a 2020 episode of the animated series "Mike Tyson Mysteries." In the episode ("The Stein Way), Nealon delivers a memorable and zany performance, which also allowed him to reunite with his former "SNL" castmate, the late Norm MacDonald.

Nealon also cameos in Season 18, Episode 14 ("The Movement") of "Family Guy" in which he accompanies Carter Pewterschmidt to a baseball game. In addition to these two roles, Nealon has also made voice cameos in a handful of other adult animated series such as "American Dad!" and "SuperMansion."

However, one of Nealon's most recognizable voice-acting roles is as Glenn Martin in "Glen Martin DDS." This irreverent family comedy ran for two seasons as part of Nickelodeon's late-night program block, Nick at Nite. It follows former dentist Glenn Martin and his family as they journey across America in a Winnebago. The series co-creator, Eric Fogel, the brains behind "Celebrity Deathmatch," uses similar stop-motion animation for the show. Although the series was ultimately canceled after two seasons, it represents Nealon's most significant voice-acting project to date.

He taught a new generation of comics

Although Nealon's comedy mostly appeals to adults, the performer shared his skills with a new audience in 2014. Nealon teamed with producer Ellen DeGeneres to launch a twelve-episode series on AOL, "Laugh Lessons with Kevin Nealon," that features a number of famous comedians teaching comedy to children. Nealon and DeGeneres appear in the series, and their guests include names like Adam Sandler, David Spade, and Chelsea Handler. Each episode features a different group of elementary school students in a classroom with one of the comedians.

Nealon serves as the series' host and interviews his guests about their lesson plans at the start of every episode. The comedy teachers focus their lessons on a particular aspect of their own comedy or practical advice for life as a comedian. In the first episode, Adam Sandler lets the children experiment with making funny noises and impressions. He shares some of his favorites and teaches his students to create a brief sketch around a particular noise. Each comedian brings their individual strengths to the series, and episodes last between five and ten minutes. The short-lived experimental series was one of Nealon's first web-based projects and paved the way for future web series endeavors for the comedian.

He appeared in Christmas movies

Many people enjoy watching feel-good movies during the holiday season, including Hallmark Christmas movies. In 2021, Nealon and his wife Susan appeared together as minor characters in two Hallmark films — "Sister Swap: A Hometown Holiday," and "Sister Swap: Christmas In The City." Each film focuses on one of the two Swift sisters, Meg (Ashley Williams) and Jennifer (Kimberly Williams-Paisley), but the movies tell an interconnected story. The sisters decide to swap cities for the two weeks leading up to Christmas and learn valuable lessons about the meaning of the holiday season. 

In both films, Nealon plays Uncle Dave, a deceased relative of the main characters who once operated a movie theater called The Madison. The movie theater becomes a central focus in "A Hometown Holiday" because the sisters decide to revive it in time for Christmas. Uncle Dave primarily appears in flashbacks, and his on-screen time is limited. Nevertheless, this role allows Nealon fans to see the actor play a different kind of character than he usually portrays. Whereas most of his prior movies were comedies, the pair of "Sister Swap" films are bittersweet but heartwarming tales about the importance of family.

He played for charity

Celebrities are often passionate about giving back to charitable causes, and Nealon is no exception. Over the years, Nealon has continuously lent his time and financial support to a non-profit organization that helped his family through difficult ordeals. An article on the Hope Healthcare website in 2020 explains that Nealon and his family have supported their Florida-based Hope Hospice program for decades. According to the article, the Nealon family relied on Hope Hospice for end-of-life care for several of their family members over the years and appreciated the service they received. Although he grew up in Connecticut and primarily lives in Los Angeles, California, Nealon has ties to the Southwest Florida region because of his family and remains active with this organization.

In 2020, Nealon took his Hope Hospice fundraising efforts public on an episode of "Celebrity Family Feud," where his family went up against fellow comedian Drew Carey and his own family and won $25,000 for the charity. The team also included Nealon's brother, his mother-in-law, and actress Cheryl Hines. Although the contestants only needed to score 200 points to win the final round of the game show, Nealon and his wife far surpassed that amount and secured an easy victory.

He became an author

Nealon's life as a published author began in 2008 when he released "Yes, You're Pregnant, But What About Me?" This autobiographical book reveals Nealon's triumphs and struggles as a first-time father in his fifties. However, his latest book, 2022's "I Exaggerate: My Brushes With Fame," takes the comedian-turned-author into a different genre and reveals yet another of the performer's many talents.

The book features hand-drawn caricatures, with each also featuring an accompanying personal essay about Nealon's connection to the subject of the drawing. Fellow comedians featured in the book include Jim Carrey, Robin Williams, Dave Chappelle, Steve Martin, and Dana Carvey, as well as other famous figures in sport and music such as athletes Eli and Peyton Manning, Freddie Mercury, Whitney Houston, Lady Gaga and Billie Eilish. To support the book release, Nealon took to Twitter in November 2022 to announce an art exhibit featuring some of his caricatures.

He live-streamed a comedy special

Although Nealon is often associated with "SNL" and other television and film appearances, the actor has been a stand-up comedian since the late '70s. In 2009, he took to the stage for his first full-length comedy special, "Now Hear Me Out!" and toured comedy clubs around the country. In 2012, he returned with his second special, "Whelmed... But Not Overly."

However, in 2020, Nealon's third special, "Behind The Mask," had a very different look. In an interview with KTLA 5, Nealon discussed the special that he live-streamed during the COVID-19 pandemic. Since comedy clubs around the country had closed their doors due to quarantine orders, Nealon saw an opportunity to allow comedy fans to enjoy stand-up from the comfort of their homes. 

In the interview, Nealon noted that the hour-long special also includes a virtual Q&A after-party to give fans a chance to talk with the comedian. According to Nealon, the most challenging part of creating a live-stream special is the lack of opportunities to perfect the material beforehand. He explained that touring comedy clubs traditionally give comedians a chance to rehearse their specials ahead of time and that "Behind The Mask" would therefore be less scripted. Nealon live-streamed the special from his home in Los Angeles, California, and featured musician Brad Paisley as a special guest.

He signed on for a new comedy film

Even with multiple projects in the works, Nealon still finds time to act in films. In July 2022, Deadline reported that Nealon will appear in the upcoming movie "Late Bloomers." This comedy is director Lisa Steen's first full-length feature, with an original screenplay by Anna Greenfield. Before this project, Steen directed several short films and served as a producer on the series "Epic Night." Screenwriter Greenfield has spent her career writing, producing, and acting, and among her many credits is a single-episode appearance in the long-running procedural drama, "Law & Order: Special Victims Unit."

According to Deadline, Greenfield and Steen worked together on short film projects before joining forces to create "Late Bloomers." The article also notes that Greenfield used her own experiences as a 20-something in Brooklyn, New York, as inspiration for the film.

Nealon plays Al, the father of the main character Louise (Karen Gillan), a young woman who finds herself in physical therapy after a drunken mishap. In addition, Al's wife, Dorothy (Talia Balsam), has early-onset Alzheimer's disease, which adds tragic weight to the otherwise comedic story. "Late Bloomers" entered the post-production stage of development in the summer of 2022.

He designed a banjo

Most Kevin Nealon fans love him for his comedic talents on stage and screen, but the actor has many other creative passions. In a 2017 interview with Watch! Magazine, Nealon explains that he has played the banjo since he was 18. He also notes that he can play the ukulele and has taken piano lessons. This should be no surprise to "Weeds" fans, who may remember Nealon playing the banjo and singing as his character, Doug Wilson, in the Season 3 episode "Go." Nealon also occasionally posts videos of himself playing the banjo on his Twitter page.

However, in 2020, Nealon took a break from playing and tried his hand at designing one of his own. He partnered with Deering Banjos to create what he calls a "Fireball." The performer created this one-of-a-kind instrument as part of a Giving Tuesday banjo auction, an annual event in which Deering Banjos offers custom creations for sale and donates the proceeds to charity. As he often does, Nealon named Hope Hospice of southwest Florida recipient of the auction proceeds. In a promo video for the auction, Nealon highlighted the best features of the banjo and showed off his signature on the front. As Nealon explains, he chose to sign the banjo with the quote, "Harness the good and block the bad," a reference to his beloved "Happy Gilmore" character, Gary Potter.

He went back on tour

After over four decades in show business, Nealon still gives his fans new comedic material to enjoy. In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, comedy clubs began to reopen their doors to patrons and comedians, and following the success of his live-streamed comedy special in 2020, he took the opportunity to launch a new live show in 2021. As reported by Susan Shultz of CTPost.com, Nealon performed at The Stress Factory comedy club in Bridgeport, Connecticut, as part of his national tour.

Shultz also notes that the comedian grew up in and attended high school in neighboring towns and was excited to reconnect with some of the locals in Bridgeport. In addition to Connecticut, this tour took Nealon to Florida, Oregon, and several other states. However, Nealon's 2021 tour was only the beginning of his return to stand-up comedy. According to Nealon's website, the comedian has live performances scheduled at multiple comedy clubs through the spring of 2023. The tour also includes some rescheduled events from 2021 and covers numerous regions of the U.S. and Canada. Nealon may be in his sixties, but the powerhouse performer's career is still as active as ever.