Comedy in Reverse: Kevin Farley brings a big name from the screen to the stage

Kevin Farley // Photo courtesy of Kevin Farley

Kevin Farley // Photo courtesy of Kevin Farley

Getting on stage to perform comedy with the last name “Farley” can carry some pretty lofty expectations. Nobody knows this better than Kevin Farley, the younger brother of Chris.

This weekend, Farley will make his way to the Twin Cities metro for three nights of stand-up shows through the towns of Maple Grove, Loretto, and Hugo. While plenty of performers get started doing stand-up with dreams of making the leap to acting, Farley actually decided to go in reverse.

Originally an improviser with the famed Second City in Chicago, Farley has been a Hollywood mainstay for over 20 years with TV and film roles including parts in “The Waterboy,” “Blacksheep,” and “Joe Dirt. He also had a run on MTV’s “2gether” playing a member of a boy band (the role he was clearly born to play), as well as “An American Carol” where he starred as a parody of filmmaker Michael Moore. Oh, and he’s also been in a Nickelback video.

Then in 2012, Farley decided to try stand-up, making his way to open mic nights in Los Angeles at famed clubs like the Laugh Factory and The Comedy Store.

“It was kind of strange because I did everything totally backwards,” Farley laughs. “I love improv so much, but I really wanted to challenge myself to do stand-up. It was difficult at first but I’ve learned to respect it and enjoy it so much.”

His time as an improviser and an actor has made his transition to the lonely spotlight of stand-up much easier than other newbies, but Farley isn’t immune from getting the stray heckler.

“Some of them can actually be very funny,” he says. “But most of the time they’re just annoying. As an improviser, I’m used to just rolling with it. You either make it part of your show, or it becomes your show. It’s up to you how you want to deal with it.”

A graduate of Marquette University in Milwaukee, Farley says that despite living out West, he finds his comedy connects the best back home in the Midwest.

“I’m from there and it’s where I like to perform the most,” he says warmly. “People from the Midwest are my people. They get my style and my sense of humor. We can talk about buffets and football games and things I like, whereas you get out West and they want to talk about deserts and motorcycles or whatever.”

While his voice and overall happy-go-lucky demeanor will undoubtedly bring up memories of his brother, Kevin Farley is certainly his own man and very much his own kind of performer.

“I think people see my last name and expect me to throw myself on a chair when I get on stage,” Farley says. “They’re usually surprised to find out that I’m much more mild-mannered and reasonable than Chris was.”

Upcoming Shows

Oct. 11, 8pm: Pig On The Porch Tavern, Loretto
Oct. 12, 8 pm: Maple Tavern, Maple Grove
Oct. 13, 7:30 pm: Withrow Ballroom, Hugo
All shows $20–$25
Visit comedygallery.com for tickets