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Jon Lovitz

'SNL' comedian hits stand-up scene

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Jon Lovitz is not your prototypical Hollywood hunk, but he's sustained a long and diverse career in show business nonetheless. Best known for his years on "Saturday Night Live" (1985-1990), Lovitz has also taken on various character roles in film and performed voice-overs for a plethora of TV shows. Now, after recently becoming the face of a familiar fast-food franchise, Lovitz is touring as a stand-up comedian.

How much did your history with sketch comedy and your experience on "Saturday Night Live" prepare you for stand-up comedy, and how are they different?

My background in sketch comedy certainly helped. All of that experience was good in terms of just being comfortable in front of a crowd. Stand-up is different and was harder for me at first though, because you have to memorize so much more. Sketches only last for five minutes at a time; comedians need to memorize an hour's worth of material.

You've done a significant amount of voice-over work as an actor. Is that something you particularly enjoy or do you just get more offers because you have a noticeable voice?

I enjoy doing the voice-overs. It's fun for me, but in the end it really is just like acting. You know, they actually make you act out your lines when you deliver them, otherwise it won't sound realistic.

Out of all of the side roles you've taken on in movies, which was your favorite one?

I really liked my role as the scout in A League of Their Own. I like history, I've always loved baseball and I got to be around women all day; I mean, I was surrounded by Geena Davis and Madonna.

So how did you become the new spokesman for Subway?

The ad agency they hired just offered it to me. They thought I would be good for it so I thought I'd do it. You know, 20 or 30 years ago everybody thought doing commercials would kill your career in film and television but nowadays nobody cares. Everybody does so many different things.

So do you get free Subway for life?

Ha ha. No, I don't get free Subway but they've been more than generous to me.

Just like advertisements are a new venture for you, is stand-up as well or have you been doing it for a while?

It's new to me on this level. Back in the "SNL" days I would get out and host a show or do five minutes for one of my co-stars that were headlining, but I've only been doing longer sets myself for a little over a year.

And what does your set consist of? Is it similar to the characters you play or is it the real Jon Lovitz?

My stand-up is the real me. You know, I spend a lot of time making fun of myself. I talk about being Jewish, I talk a little bit about Hollywood and what's going on now; just observations and thoughts that I've had over the years.

How much does Judaism influence your comedy, being that historically there are so many great Jewish comedians?

Well, it influences me to the extent that most comedians' material is a product of the environment and culture they were brought up with, and I grew up Jewish. But back in the day all of the comedians were Jewish, now there are all kinds of different comedians.

And what influenced you to start doing stand-up in the first place?

Honestly it was a financial decision. The movie parts weren't coming in and things were slowing down so I knew I could make some extra money touring.

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