Meaney jokes about family even if it's not quite 'riiiight'


"Kevin Meaney In Concert"

When: 8:30 p.m. and 10:45 p.m. today and tomorrow

Where: The Comedy Cabaret, 723 S. Broadway

Cost: $15; 7 p.m. dinner available for additional $8

$ Call: (410) 327-8800

Kevin Meaney says the members of his family have a good sense of humor. They have to, for the comedian has made them part of his act.

"I base it around family, that insane, bizarre family I grew up with," says the comedian, who appears for four shows tonight and tomorrow at the Comedy Cabaret in Fells Point. "I bring all those characters to life. My mother, my Aunt Rose, my father, my brothers, my sister -- everybody is in the show now."

And sometimes they get recognized, such as when one of his three brothers recently suffered an automobile breakdown with his wife during a New York ski trip.

"A state trooper stopped to assist them, and reads the name on the license. 'Meaney. That's not Kevin Meaney, is it?' " the 37-year-old comic relates over the telephone from California.

"My brother says yes, so instantly you've got this huge state trooper saying: 'That's not right! What do you mean, breaking down in the cold?' And my brother's going: 'I don't believe this. We can't go anywhere,' " says Mr. Meaney.

"That's not riiiight," delivered in a whining crescendo, represents a trademark line for the comedian. He's said it frequently on television, including "The Tonight Show," "Late Night With David Letterman," "The Arsenio Hall Show," "Comic Relief" and in his own HBO special. Mr. Meaney also had a role in the Tom Hanks feature film "Big" and starred in 1990 in the short-lived CBS series "Uncle Buck."

The funny thing is, the Meaney family sounds pretty normal: a father who was a firefighter for 30 years, a mother who worked in the library, and three brothers and a sister who have grown up to be, respectively, an appraiser, police officer, carpenter and teacher.

All but Kevin still live in suburban New York. Raised in Valhalla, N.Y., he began performing in community theater while still in high school. He first did comedy in San Francisco, relocated to Boston and then on to New York, where he did guest appearances in 1986 on "Saturday Night Live" and the brief Lorne Michaels series "Sunday Night."

The comedian now lives in the Los Angeles area, in part because he has been trying to break into voice work for cartoon television shows.

"I'm doing pretty good at that," he says, noting that he recently taped several coming appearances as Aloysius the Pig on the Saturday morning animated show "Garfield and Friends." He has also done voice work for "Batman: The Animated Series" and does commercials.

The latter role has been aided by losing 40 pounds in a year-long weight-reduction program.

"I can be a spokesperson for things now. When I was 210 pounds they [sponsors] would say, 'Well, maybe we shouldn't ** have him sell beer,' " he says.

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