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Kevin Pollak: Stand Up Comedian, Actor, Impressionist

KEVIN POLLAK
Stand Up Comedian, Actor, Impressionist


Self-described as “insanely lucky”and “the happiest guy in town,” Kevin Pollak is having the time of his life on stage and on film. Veteran stand-up comic, impressionist and actor, Pollak admits that even though he loves making films, “there is just nothing like getting up on a stage and taking an audience for a ride.” A native of the San Francisco Bay area (b. October 30, 1957), Pollak discovered his love for stand-up performance at the age of 10 with the comedy albums of Bill Cosby. He then hit the stage of any local school assembly or father daughter dance that would have him during those awkward teen years. Pollak credits his stand up career to the good fortune of being part of the 1970's San Francisco comedy gene pool that gave birth to Dana Carvey and Robins Williams and further back in the '50s, Bob Newhart, Jonathan Winters and the Smothers Brothers.

In 1982, Pollak won the International Comedy Competition in San Francisco. Wildly popular on the comedy circuit, Pollak became happily known for his wicked spot-on takes of the big boys in entertainment like Jack Nicholson, Robert De Niro, Christopher Walken, Alan Arkin and most notably to generations of die-hard trekkies headed for strange new worlds, Captain Kirk, aka William Shatner. (In one send-up, multiple-personality Kevin Pollak imagines Star Trek if everyone BUT William Shatner was replaced by other actors.)

Like other naturally gifted comics have done, Pollak transitioned from stand-up to his first film, Barry Levinson's Avalon, where he got on the job training as a dramatic actor. Starting with his break-out role in Rob Reiner's A Few Good Men, Pollak began not mimicking, but actually playing with the big boys: Tom Cruise, Nicholson, Keifer Sutherland and Demi Moore; followed by films with industry veterans such as Gabriel Byrne and Kevin Spacey in The Usual Suspects; Robert De Niro, Joe Pesci, and James Woods in Martin Scorsese's Casino; Jack Lemmon and Walter Matthau in Grumpy Old Men and Grumpier Old Men; Arnold Schwarzenegger in End of Days; Matthew McConaughey in The Wedding Planner; Bruce Willis in The Whole Nine Yards and The Whole Ten Yards; Tim Allen in The Santa Clause 2 & 3. His first decade in film he worked non-stop, shooting 32 movies.

Notable stints on television included guest performances in hit comedy series such as The Drew Carey Show, Ed and Entourage, Tom Hank's dramatic series, From the Earth to the Moon, crime drama Shark, and as host of Bravo's Celebrity Poker Showdown.

Having now appeared in over 50 films (including a voice-over for animated films like Shark's Tale), the hard-working actor has never left his first love - stand up and live performance, " behind. Pollak produced and starred in two HBO specials , "both Cable Ace Award nominated, " One Night Stand and Stop with the Kicking: Kevin Pollak in Concert. Truth is Pollak never intends to stop with the stand-up because it is “too important of an art form. Stand up is such a solo endeavor while acting is completely collaborative. I have too much love and appreciation for stand up and the joy of performing on stage.” Besides, this versatile comic at heart finds it hard to say, “I'm a movie star. It feels like I'm a big schmot.” Take it from a man who takes very little seriously except his craft, the secret to a good time is to “celebrate and embrace the success you are having while you are having it, instead of looking beyond to the next thing.”