Jamie Kennedy: Making a comedy stop in Richland

Dori O'Neal, Herald staff writerNovember 23, 2012 

Comedian Jamie Kennedy admits he spent much of his youth tormenting his parents and the Catholic school nuns he jokingly claims were ruthless during his elementary school years.

He learned early on how to be resilient, creative, outrageous, cynical, zany and incredibly funny.

"Growing up in Catholic schools is mostly a sore subject," Kennedy said in a telephone interview with the Herald. "I don't think you ever get over the wrath of nuns."

Kennedy makes his first visit to the Tri-Cities on Nov. 30 and Dec. 1 at Jokers in Richland. Tickets cost $25 general, $35 VIP and are available at Jokers, 624 Wellsian Way, or at www.brownpapertickets.com.

Kennedy might be a smart-mouth cynic, but comedy isn't his only creative outlet. He's also an actor who has appeared on film, TV and internet. His latest web series, which kicked off on Halloween, is a 25-episode series with Kennedy portraying various versions of a TV judge who attempts to fool unsuspecting plaintiffs and defendants. The series is called Kennedy's Court, and it can be found at kennedycourtseries.com.

The Hollywood Reporter gave the show high marks for hilarity, but Kennedy took the compliment in stride.

"I try not to pay too much attention to what the media says about me, good or bad," he said. "The general public will believe what they want to believe, whether it's true or false."

Kennedy grew up in Pennsylvania, the youngest of six children. He says a guidance counselor in high school once told him that based on his grades, test scores and personality, the best job for him would be shoeing horses.

Hearing that assessment pushed him toward doing something a bit more fun after high school: comedy.

He honed his skills on the comedy circuit first, then caught a break with an acting gig in Baz Luhrmann's Romeo and Juliet with Leonardo DiCaprio and John Leguizamo. That led to a major role in Wes Craven's Scream and Scream II. He also was the creep who beat up Greg Kinnear in As Good as it Gets and had featured roles in The Three Kings with George Clooney, The Boiler Room with Vin Diesel, Bowfinger with Steve Martin and Enemy of the State with Will Smith.

He created a sketch comedy show, The Jamie Kennedy Experiment, in 2002, which for a time became the most popular show on the WB cable channel. It is best described as Candid Camera meets Saturday Night Live. He even joined forces with Oprah Winfrey on several occasions pulling pranks on unsuspecting people.

Kennedy admits he likes to constantly try new stuff, which is why his TV exploits come on the scene in a flurry of popularity, then he moves on to something else. He's played an arsenal of wacky characters since tackling Hollywood, but he believes the favorite among his fans is Brad Gluckman, the white, wannabe rapper from Malibu, which turned into another TV series in 2003 called Malibu's Most Wanted. He also created and produced the own special Unwashed in 2006 for Comedy Central.

When he portrayed a psychology professor on the CBS drama Ghost Whisperer, he started dating the show's star, Jennifer Love Hewitt. When asked if his time with Hewitt was a real love affair or a publicity stunt, Kennedy reacted in mock horror.

"What kind of a question is that? Of course it was real," he said. "We were very much in love."

The relationship lasted for more than a year before they parted ways, but the two remain friends, he said.

Kennedy's Tri-City show will be his usual mix of oddball humor and hilarious characters. Showtimes are 6:30 and 8:30 p.m. each day. The event is open to those 21 and older.

*Dori O'Neal: 582-1514; doneal@tricityherald.com

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