Kevin Pollak is Wired For Comedy


From The San Francisco Examiner

February 1, 2011
By Robert Sokol

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Some people endure technology as a necessary part of modern life. Kevin Pollak embraces the opportunities in it. Since 2009 he has been hosting “Kevin Pollak’s Chat Show,” interviewing a prime list of film, television and comedy stars.

Usually the only place you can see KPCS at kevinpollakschatshow.com, because it is an Internet-only venture. This weekend, however, marks a first.

A live version will be recorded at Cobb’s Comedy Club on Saturday with guests Adam Savage and Samm Levine. (Pollak will also perform stand-up shows at Cobb’s Thursday through Saturday.)

It was a 20-year-old San Francisco-born Pollak who became the youngest competitor to date in the 1978 San Francisco International Comedy Competition.

“I was performing in these venues that were like Xanadu or Nirvana to me,” he recalls. “It was like, ‘Wow! People actually come just to hear comedians talk!’ Robin Williams was around and Dana Carvey was starting out. It was a whole new world.”

Film was also a goal, though the school-averse Pollak — who has more than 60 feature film credits to date — wasn’t sure how he would get there. “I hated the idea of taking an acting class from someone who wasn’t actually acting,” he says.

“I was a devoted movie fan when I was a kid. After every movie a ‘Zelig’ thing would happen,” he remembers, referring to the Woody Allen comedy. “I would become one of the characters in the film for a couple of days.“

“As a child, that could not be more charming to one’s mother,” he laughs, “though there was a shelf-life to cute and my mother would soon encourage me to snap out of it,” he adds, channeling Cher in “Moonstruck.”

Back at KPCS, the host says, “I purposely decided to do the show without an audience so that I could have a genuine conversation and remove the ‘performer’s ego’ in my guests. If there’s people to play to you won’t actually talk with them.”

The shows run around two hours with only one or two guests per show and streams live every Sunday.

“I’m really thrilled to be trying the live version out with Sketchfest,” he says. “It’s wonderful that San Francisco has nurtured this incredible celebration of creativity.”

Pollak continues to stretch his own creativity, once again on the Internet. He is the writer-producer-director and a star of “Vamped Out,” a Web series about real vampires too ordinary to cash in on the current entertainment blood lust.

“My directorial debut!” he says. “Once I got into the new media world I found a new frontier of abject creative control and freedom. It doesn’t exist in any other form of entertainment I know.”

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