Despite movie and TV success, Kevin James still likes taking the stage
Comedian Kevin James is best known as his television character Doug Heffernan from the CBS comedy “King of Queens,” or on the big screen as “Paul Blart: Mall Cop.” Like many funny actors, though, James started out in stand-up.
“I love it. ... I’ve always done it. I just haven’t been able to do it as much (lately),” James says.
He says the film he’s working on now — a 3D live action/computer-animated film called “Pixels,” in which James plays the president — allows him some time off, and he’s using that to work on his stage material.
“I can kind of just take off and have a little break,” he says. “We’ve been working on the stand-up a while and getting back to it more full time.”
Like his movie characters, James’ stand-up material, which is largely without vulgarity, involves a lot of physical comedy.
“I’ve always been a physical guy growing up in sports. ... It’s always been a way I express myself,” says James, who takes the stage at the Michigan Theater in Ann Arbor on Friday night. “I’ve always done (material) that, really, people can relate to, I think, and see themselves in what I’m talking about. I certainly rant about it and have fun and get upset about little things in life that annoy me. I bring that under a microscope.”
James is not afraid to revisit a good thing, either. He’s been a part of sequels for two of his most popular films: “Grown Ups” and “Paul Blart: Mall Cop.” The second edition of the latter is due out in the spring. He says the timing of sequels is delicate.
“You don’t want to do one too soon or too late,” he says. “(Paul Blart) has always been a fun character, and it was a matter of finding the time to do the sequel ... if we could fit it in. We had a very funny idea for the movie, and we’re excited about that.”
As for his “King of Queens” character, though, James, says he likely won’t bring him back.
“I think it’s kind of done; it had a shelf life,” says James, who added that his “King of Queens” co-star Leah Remini is “still one of the funniest people I’ve worked with.” The sitcom lasted nine seasons and earned James an Emmy nod.
“You never say never, though. A great idea could come up in a cool special way, who knows?”
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