When it comes to comedy, Kevin Farley does a little bit of everything. In his career, Farley has starred in shows like MTV’s 2gether: The Series as well as appeared on episodes of HBO’s Curb Your Enthusiasm, and Netflix’s F Is for Family. At the same time, he has appeared in movies like The Waterboy, written and directed his own feature-length films, and performed stand-up across the country.
On Friday, Farley will bring his stand-up set to Club 337 inside the DoubleTree Hilton Hotel. The show starts at 8:30 p.m. Tickets are $15 online and can be purchased here.
Before hopping on a plane, Farley discussed some of his favorite roles, his experiences at The Second City in Chicago, and what he learned working with and watching his brothers, Chris and John.
The Current: Is this your first time in Louisiana since appearing in “The Waterboy”?
Well, actually, the scene I shot — I believe we shot that in Florida.
So you’ve never been down to Lafayette, to that part of Louisiana?
No, I’ve never been. This will be my first time. I was in Baton Rouge at one time at the casino there, but never to Lafayette.
I think you’ll enjoy it. You gotta try boudin.
All right, I’m in. I’d love to eat all that stuff. I’m ready to try anything.
Well, looking at your career, you do a bit of everything — writing, improv, stand-up, acting. I feel like that’s a necessity today, working in comedy. Is that accurate?
Yeah, you want to get yourself acquainted with all kinds of things and find out which area best suits you. I was of the school of thought that you just do and try everything. If you’re good at something, just do it. It depends on what you’re good at. You’ll find your thing. When I was coming up through Second City in Chicago, I was just discovering what I was good at.
Can you talk a little more about your time and experiences at Second City?
It was a very creative time, around ’94 or ’95. We did a lot of improv shows. With improv, it’s a highly creative art form. You got to know whether or not you were a good performer or a better writer. You got to understand your strengths and weaknesses.
At that time, was there a sense of what you can and can’t say on stage? Was it as present as it seems now?
There was always stuff you couldn’t say, but what’s different now is that you might lose your job. The punishment that’s being doled out is very severe. It’s not that those words or things aren’t offensive; it’s the retribution people seem to have. It’s this vengeance, this revenge, and it’s such an ugly emotion. It seems like there’s a lot of that going on, and it’s coming from such an angry place.
For those who are unfamiliar with your stand-up, what topics do you discuss?
A lot of times, I talk about my relationship with food, my relationships with the opposite sex. (Laughs) I talk about traveling, how I’m on different coasts a lot of the time and the dichotomy of that. I talk about the legalization of marijuana a little, too.
Are you for or against the legalization of pot?
Well, it remains to be seen on a lot of this stuff. It feels like legalizing marijuana is this giant national experiment we’re going through, and we’re going to find out if it’s good or bad. (Laughs) I know that the stuff that’s out now is certainly stronger. It’s not your grandpa’s weed, I’ll tell you that. But, I think it does help some people who are in pain, which is good.
On the acting side, is there a particular comic you’ve enjoyed performing alongside?
I loved working on Curb Your Enthusiasm. Even though I only had one episode, it was a favorite because of the creativity that’s involved with that show. It comes with a lot of that improv background. (Writer/actor) Jeff Garland and (writer/actor/creator) Larry David foster that environment on that show. That makes it so enjoyable. You don’t have the hierarchical boundaries of a scripted show. You have one guy you go to, and that’s Larry. He’s open to a lot of ideas, and he’s the king.
Does he say “roll the camera” and you start riffing?
Well, he and Jeff will just have conversations, and they’ll talk about stuff. Then, the next thing you know you’re shooting a scene.
When you were starting, was it important for you to differentiate your style from your brothers, John and Chris?
I always had my own, lighter style. I had my own thing, and I just kept doing it.
Did you learn anything in particular working with them or take anything away from watching them perform?
There are a lot of things that John does that I like. He and I work well together. I don’t get a chance to work with him as much as I want. When Chris was there, we did the same thing. We worked really well together. Chris was the king at the time. He was really rocketing up. We didn’t get a chance to work a ton together. But with Chris, it was about commitment to characters, to ideas and to living in the present. That’s really fun to work with — when people are down to do anything, and they go 100 percent.
There’s a particular feeling that comes in improv when you go for it.
Oh yeah. When you step off the back line, you don’t step off half way, you go full blower. If you’re going to make a mistake, make an aggressive mistake.
When did you know you wanted to go into comedy?
When I first saw Second City, I was enthralled by it. I couldn’t believe how cool that place was. It seemed to me to be theater that I could do, you know? The other theaters — the more polished, scripted theater — that didn’t fit my personality, but Second City was something I really enjoyed.
I know you have a plane to catch, but I have to ask — are we ever going to get a 2gether reunion?
(Laughs) I would love it. That would be big. That would be great. That was at a time when the boy bands were big, and we hit on it. I loved every moment of that show.
Do you still know the songs?
Oh yeah. (Singing) I know my calculus. U plus me equals us.