Straight Man

Kevin Nealon visits the Addison Improv

Kevin Nealon is hardly an innovative stand-up comic, but he has a light, nonfussy style that evokes memories of Saturday Night Live's second golden age: During the late '80s and early '90s, SNL was stocked with future stars like Chris Farley, Adam Sandler and Mike Myers (Dana Carvey?, not so much) who, as funny as they could be, still relied on the steady presence of Phil Hartman and Kevin Nealon to keep each skit together. Much as Chris Parnell is now the straight-man genius of just about every SNL skit worth watching, both Nealon and Hartman knew how to play the pitch-perfect average Joe ("Change Bank," anyone?), the vain, clumsy celebrity (Larry King, Frank Sinatra) or the shocked foil to the crazed performances of Sandler and Farley. Nealon also starred in some memorable skits of his own, including his time as a "Weekend Update" anchor, Mr. No Depth Perception (my personal favorite) and Mr. Subliminal. But while Hartman went on to star in NewsRadio before his untimely death, Nealon never could parlay his straight-man skills into a steady gig on television. Still, there's something inherently likable about the man, despite how tame his humor is. He won't swear at you, lecture about politics or talk graphically about sex; I know that sounds like a formula for disaster, but in the hands of Nealon it works. Catch Kevin Nealon Thursday through Sunday at the Addison Improv, 4980 Belt Line Road. Tickets are $20 to $22. Call 972-404-8501 or visit improvclubs.com.
March 16-19

 
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