Tim Meadows became a household name during his 1990s tenure on NBC-TV's “Saturday Night Live” thanks largely to the Ladies Man, his character who gave salacious love tips no one would follow unless they'd just downed a bottle of Corvoisier.
Since then, Meadows has popped up in a variety of films and TV shows, from “Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story” to ABC-TV's “The Goldbergs.” Next week, though, local fans can see him in person as he headlines five sets at Tacoma Comedy Club, from May 25 to 27; www.tacomacomedyclub.com for ticket info. Recently, we asked him to revisit some of his favorite roles.
Tacoma Weekly: The word on the street is that you used to show up in Tacoma from time to time. Do you have ties up here?
Tim Meadows: I'm familiar with the area, and I liked going up there. I had some friends that I would go up to see quite a bit. But I haven't been up there a few years now.
TW: Part of the reason I was really excited to talk to you is I've long felt you're one of the most underrated “SNL” cast members of all time. In that context, what are some of your most underrated bits that you thought might take off in a different way?
Meadows: One of my favorite things that I loved doing that never took off was this thing I did with Adam Sandler called Captain Jim and Pedro. I was watching late-night television one night, and I saw this movie on the Spanish-language station. There was a captain of this ship, and he was like the Spanish version of a Carey Grant. Then all of a sudden in came this other character that had on your stereotypical sombrero hat, a guy that you would find hanging out in Mexico in the '30s or something. I just thought, “How did these two characters get together in this movie?”
We started riffing about the possibilities of those guys and their lives together. The first time we did it, we did it with Kelsey Grammar. The story was that Captain Jim and Pedro were trying to fit into normal life after having been shipwrecked on an island, and they were applying for a job at Foot Locker.
TW: It's been a while, but I'm starting to remember that one, actually.
Meadows: If you get a chance, look it up. It was the weirdest, craziest sketch, and me and Sandler could hardly keep a straight face because we loved doing it so much.
TW: How surprised were you when Ladies Man caught on?
Meadows: I knew from the very moment we did it in read-through that it was gonna be, if not a popular character, a character that people would imitate. I wrote it with two other guys, Andrew Steele and Dennis McNicholas; and it was just a fun thing for three of us to do every three or four weeks. We tried not to burn out on it because we genuinely liked laughing at the character when we wrote it.
TW: More recently, people see you on “Son of Zorn,” which is obviously one of the weirder shows on TV. Take me back to when you heard the pitch and how you got involved.
Meadows: Two of the producers were on the set of a movie I was shooting. They called my manager and asked if I'd be interested in doing this pilot presentation, which means that we would shoot a few scenes just to show what the animation and real life character would look like together. So I said sure I would do it.
I read the script and I thought it was pretty weird and interesting. It was fun to do it. In the beginning I felt like, as an actor, I didn't have a good grasp on what I was doing. Then I saw the pilot, and I realized that the more real we were, the funnier it was. Once we got that, we were good.
TW: What's your favorite aspect of making that show?
Meadows: My favorite aspect of that show was going into work every day and working with Cheryl Hines and Johnny Pemberton and this guy named Dan Lippert who is the stand-in for Zorn; and just working with the writers and the directors. I look forward to going into work every day – every day. I love Cheryl Hines especially.
TW: What else is coming up that you can tell fans about?
Meadows: I just shot a pilot for ABC for another TV show that's a spinoff of “The Goldbergs.” I'm waiting to see if there's gonna be another seasons for “Zorn.” I've got my fingers crossed on that. The pilot's called “Schooled,” and it's about the school where the Goldbergs' kids go to school. I play the principal, the same character from “The Goldbergs.”