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Kevin Nealon Talks About His Exit From ‘SNL’

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Kevin Nealon

For nine seasons, Kevin Nealon made audiences laugh on NBC’s hit series Saturday Night Live. Whether he was Franz or Mr. Subliminal, his on-screen presence was electric. Unfortunately, the St. Louis native knew exactly when his time with the show was ending.

It’s Time To Go

In an interview with The Daily Beast’s The Last Laugh podcast, Nealon discussed his tenure on SNL. As the show got popular, Nealon noticed the growing number of cast members. Nealon knew people had to be let go to prevent overcrowding. “I think the cast had gotten so big, and they were looking to clean house. I was kind of pushed out, too. I know [Chris] Farley was kind of fired and [Adam] Sandler that year was fired. I was essentially kind of forced out. I knew they probably wouldn’t bring me back if I wanted to,” he said on the podcast.

Like most SNL alumni from the early ’90s, Nealon has made rare appearances following his exit. In 1999, he portrayed Franz during an episode hosted by Heather Graham. Two years later, he appeared as himself in an episode hosted by Christopher Walken. In 2015, he showed up on Saturday Night Live: 40th Anniversary Special. During the special, he joined Norm Macdonald, Seth Meyers, and Colin Quinn in introducing a Chevy Chase tribute.

That’s News To Me

One of Nealon’s most beloved SNL roles is the Weekend Update anchor. Before Nealon, Chevy Chase, Jane Curtin, and Dennis Miller sat in the anchor chair. Taking the gig from Miller was a huge step in his SNL career. “Getting that job was almost another layer of fear of getting fired because, ‘Oh, you’ve got the Weekend Update spot. How long are you going to last in that spot? Are you going to get fired?’,” he told The Daily Beast’s The Last Laugh podcast.

From 1991 to 1994, Nealon delivered laughs during the Weekend Update segments. Nealon returned to the segment in his aforementioned 2001 appearance. During this sketch, Nealon joked about people being confused about him not being on the show anymore. “Some people still come up to me and say, ‘Mr. Nealon. It’s Saturday. Shouldn’t you be getting out to New York for the show?’ or ‘Hey, Mr. Nealon. You were funny on the show last night. Love that Mr. Subliminal.’ And then I have to explain that I’m not on the show anymore. What you’re watching are reruns on Comedy Central,” he said on the show. Nealon continued things by jokingly making fun of the cast and himself.

Not Slowing Down Yet

Since leaving SNL, Nealon has been keeping busy with a slew of movie and TV appearances. Outside of SNL, his most noticeable role was as Doug Wilson on Showtime’s Weeds. Since 2017, Nealon started hosting his own YouTube show titled Hiking With Kevin. The show was created following a hike with friend Matthew Modine. “It’s a big loop, and it’s pretty steep, and we’re almost to the top, and we’re both out of breath, and our sentences are fragmented, and I thought this would be funny if I was interviewing him, and I videotaped it, and you couldn’t understand what either of us were saying,” Nealon told The Daily Beast’s The Last Laugh podcast. David Spade, Adam Sandler, and Tiffany Haddish have appeared on the show.

Nealon is currently on the hit CBS sitcom Man With A Plan. Starring Matt LeBlanc, the sitcom follows a father trying to balance his family and work life. The show won People’s Choice Awards for Favorite New TV Comedy and Actor In A New TV Series. The fourth season of Man With A Plan will debut as a mid-season replacement in 2020.

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