Kevin Pollak started as a stand-up comedian in San Francisco and became a touring pro by age twenty. Later, Pollak’s role in Rob Reiner’s A FEW GOOD MEN proved his ability to stand out on the big screen among cinematic heavyweights. The concept of comedian-turned-dramatic actor was further established two years later, when Kevin co-starred in THE USUAL SUSPECTS and Martin Scorsese’s CASINO in the same year.
Having co-starred in over 75 films to date, in 2016 Pollak was seen in 5 films, including alongside Jonah Hill and Miles Teller in Todd Phillips’ film WAR DOGS, as well as co-starring with Ricky Gervais and Eric Bana in the Netflix feature film SPECIAL CORRESPONDENTS, which Gervais also wrote and directed. Notably in 2016, Jerry Lewis came out of retirement to star in MAX ROSE, with Kevin portraying his estranged son.
Pollak’s first outing as a director, the comedy documentary MISERY LOVES COMEDY, premiered at the Sundance Film Festival 2015, where it was acquired by Tribeca Film Distribution. It also shot to #1 of all docs on iTunes in 2 days. Kevin’s next directing gig was the indie comedy feature THE LATE BLOOMER, based on the true story of a man who has a tumor removed from his pituitary gland, which finally allows his body to experience puberty for the first time… at age 30! The film co-stars Johnny Simmons, Brittany Snow, J.K. Simmons, Maria Bello, Jane Lynch, Kumail Nanjiani and Beck Bennett, and is now available exclusively on Netflix.
Kevin was named by Comedy Central as one of the Top 100 Comedians of all Time. In 2012, he released his third one-hour stand-up comedy special, “The Littlest Suspect.” That same year, Kevin released his comical autobiography, “How I Slept My Way To The Middle.”
Pollak was also a pioneer in the podcast world. His award-winning Kevin Pollak’s Chat Show (described as “Charlie Rose, but fun”) will celebrate its eighth anniversary in March of ’17. If the longest on-camera conversations that creative icons like Tom Hanks or Elon Musk have ever given interest you, there are now over 280 chats to choose from.
Neal Brennan is a director, writer, actor, and comedian. After graduating from the prestigious NYU Film School (Dropout Program), he began his writing career at the age of 20 on the MTV dating game show, “Singled Out,” (you’re welcome) and the Nickelodeon sketch show, “All That.” Three years later, he and his writing partner Dave Chappelle wrote the stoner cult classic, “Half Baked.” Though the script was good, neither of them liked the movie. They didn’t know as much about studio politics as most people in their early 20s do, and got bulldozed.
Between 1998 and 2002, Brennan wrote and sold three screenplays with Michael Schur, who went on to co-create ‘Parks and Rec’ on NBC.
Once the Half Baked stink had worn off, Chappelle and Brennan linked back up and created “Chappelle’s Show.” They wrote and produced virtually every sketch themselves. In the second season, Brennan was allowed to officially direct, and helmed such sketches as “Charlie Murphy/Rick James,” “The Racial Draft,” “Charlie Murphy/Prince,” and the “John Mayer Sketch.” Brennan received Three Emmy nominations for Chappelle’s Show; one for directing “Rick James,” the other two for writing and producing. The show ended all crazy. Google it.
As of this writing, “Chappelle’s Show” in the number one selling television show DVD of all time, selling nearly nine million units. Ask your parents what DVDs are.
In 2008, Brennan sold a screenplay called, “Split Decision” to The Montecito Picture Company. He also directed the woefully underappreciated feature film, “The Goods,” for producers Will Ferrell, Adam McKay and Paramount. The film starred Jeremy Piven, Ed Helms, Ken Jeong, Ving Rhames, and Ferrell. It opened against District 9 and was summarily pummeled. But it is funny. Brennan doesn’t read his own reviews (that’s what the help is for), but apparently the New York Times and Roger Ebert both liked it.
Neal has spent the past two years doing re-writes for Hollywood and focusing on stand-up comedy. He has appeared on “Late Night with Jimmy Fallon,” “Lopez Tonight,” and “Conan.”
In 2010, Brennan appeared in “Get Him to the Greek,” and a pilot for Showtime, “Seek and Destroy,” which Brennan co-wrote, directed and starred in. It didn’t get picked up, which almost never happens.
Most recently, he wrote with Seth Meyers at the White House Correspondents Dinner. He does stand-up virtually every night at the top clubs in New York and Los Angeles.
One of SNL’s most talented alumni, comedian Dana Carvey reigned supreme during his six-season run creating some of the show’s most memorable characters, including “Church Lady”, “Garth” of Wayne & Garth fame, Grumpy Old Man and bodybuilding “Hans” of Hans & Franz notoriety.
The slightly-built, slightly dorky-looking funny guy was born in 1955 in Missoula, Montana, to Billie Dahl (McDonald) and Bud Carvey. He is of Norwegian, and smaller amounts of English, German, Swedish, and Irish, ancestry. Carvey was raised in San Carlos, California in typical middle class surroundings. His father taught high school business law and his mother, who was also a schoolteacher, had creative outlets as a painter and musician that inspired the young Dana. His gift for inducing laughter arrived at any early age. As young as 9 or 10, Dana was already mimicking characters he saw on TV, with one of his early icons being Jonathan Winters. His musical gifts came in the form of drums and guitar.
While majoring in Communication Arts at San Francisco State, Dana sought out the comedy stage doing standard impressions of well-known personalities such as John Wayne, Howard Cosell and James Stewart. Within a few months he was beginning to win stand-up comedy awards. In time, however, he replaced his impersonations with self-created characterizations and such ripe forms as the Church (“Isn’t that special!”) Lady were the result.
After playing various Bay Area comedy venues, Dana decided to relocate to Los Angeles in 1981 and give Hollywood a try. He quickly landed a development deal with NBC. While playing a straight foil to Mickey Rooney wasn’t exactly his cup of tea, it did break him into series work as Rooney’s grandson in the short-lived sitcom One of the Boys (1982). Mickey played a hip, energetic grandpa who is invited to move out of his retirement home and into the cool pad of his college-student grandson and his roommate (played by another up-and-comer, Nathan Lane).
Dana joined the repertory company of Saturday Night Live (1975) in 1986, and the result was spectacular, helping to reverse the show’s decline in popularity at the time. With his sharp, quicksilver characters and uncanny ability to exaggerate dead-on impersonations of the rich and famous — from politicos George Bush and Ross Perot to entertainment’s Johnny Carson, Woody Allen and Regis Philbin, Dana became the darling of the SNL set for six solid seasons. He was nominated six times for an Emmy Award, finally winning in 1993 for “Outstanding Individual Performance in a Variety or Music Program”, and also won multiple American Comedy Awards.
In the meantime he also sought out comedy film vehicles to extend his stardom, following the pathway of other successful post-SNL comics, but came up surprisingly short. In his first comedy vehicle Opportunity Knocks (1990), he unleashed his typical bag of tricks (dialects, impressions, etc.) in a tale about a con artist who falls for the daughter of one of his wealthy dupes. Audience reception was mild. Clean Slate (1994) was a retread of Bill Murray‘s earlier Groundhog Day (1993) about a detective who awakens every morning without any recall. Again, mild. Given a thankless role in The Road to Wellville (1994), which was not even his vehicle, the film Trapped in Paradise (1994) had him joining former SNL Jon Lovitz in another dispiriting comedy.
Dana’s best results on film came in tandem with Mike Myers in which the duo recreated their memorable “party-on” dudes Wayne and Garth from the famous SNL sketches. Wayne’s World (1992) and its sequel Wayne’s World 2 (1993) were box-office smashes, but it did not further Dana’s film career. Other than guest cameos, his screen promise dematerialized, while his own self-titled TV comedy series, The Dana Carvey Show(1996), faltered as well. As its host, he reprised a number of his popular characters and introduced a slew of future comedians, including Steve Carell and Stephen Colbert, but the show was deemed too offensive and was canceled after only six airings. Dana’s last film to date was the comedy vehicle The Master of Disguise (2002), which was executive-produced by Adam Sandler. Like most of his others, it fell flat and exited early from the theaters.
Where Dana’s brilliance IS captured is on the live comedy stage and in his numerous TV cable specials and standup concert appearances. To see Dana perform live is to witness an ideal blend of wit, style, personality and unrestrained, racy humor, something he was not afforded to do on film. He lives with wife Paula in Southern California.
Dave Chappelle’s career started while he was in high school at Duke Ellington School of the Arts in Washington, DC where he studied theatre arts. At the age of 14, he began performing stand-up comedy in nightclubs. Shortly after graduation, he moved to New York City where he quickly established himself as a major young talent. At the age of 19, Chappelle made his film debut in Robin Hood: Men in Tights (1993). Chappelle then starred in the short-lived sitcom, Buddies (1996) and had a featured role in The Nutty Professor (1996). He’s best known for The Chappelle Show on Comedy Central.