WITH A FACE LIKE THIS
Jon Lovitz’s father was obviously wrong when he said Lovitz would never make it as an actor because of his looks. Now the successful and popular Lovitz, who in recent years has been spending more time in Hawaii
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Saturday Night Live veteran Jon Lovitz, whose father once told him “you can’t be an actor with that face,” has sure proved his daddy wrong. Appearing in movies that include The Benchwarmers, Little Nicky, A League of Their Own and City Slickers II, as well as numerous TV shows, Lovitz has added stand-up comedy to his resume, with a weekly performance at the popular Laugh Factory on Sunset Strip in Hollywood. And following the opening of the Jon Lovitz Comedy Club at Aubergine in San Diego last year, he tells MidWeek that he plans to launch another comedy club - here in Honolulu later this year.
“I just love it here in Hawaii,” says Lovitz, who lives in L.A. and is working toward opening the new venue at the Ilikai in Waikiki. “It’s going to be the best comedy club with all the top comedians.”
Lovitz, who first visited Hawaii six years ago and has been coming at least once a year ever since, was on Oahu last week to celebrate the opening of The Wyland Waikiki hotel as a special guest of the renowned marine artist. The two met at a party at the Playboy Mansion a couple of years ago and became instant friends.
And with the opening of his Hawaii comedy club, Lovitz will most likely be spending more time in the Islands. Although his permanent residence will remain in L.A., he is thinking about buying a home here. He even has a joke about Hawaii:
“I met a girl in Hawaii, fell in love with her, and I told her I wanted to marry her,” says Lovitz. “But she said, ‘No, I can’t marry you.’ And I go, ‘Why?’ And she said, ‘I don’t want people to think I’m with you for your money.’ So, I said, ‘Fine, I won’t give you any.’
“So, we got married and after about a week people would say to me, ‘Jon, how are you doing?’ And I say, ‘Oh I’m great, I got married.’ And then they say, ‘Oh, how’s your wife?’ And I say, ‘She’s struggling.’”
Lovitz, 50, is a graduate of the University of California-Irvine, where he studied theater. He first began acting in plays in high school, but says he was actually quiet as a little boy.
“Growing up I was very shy,” he says. “I used to go to a camp, and when I was 13, I got lost for nine hours.
“I was in the woods, and I finally found my way to a road. I remember feeling bad for my counselor. And then when I got back to the camp, everybody was like are you OK? They all knew who I was.
“And then the prettiest girl at the camp kissed me on my cheek, and that just brought me out of my shell, and I ended up becoming the camp clown.”
While pursuing an acting career, Lovitz worked as a waiter and in a retail clothing store, among other jobs. The road to Hollywood was not a smooth one, but determination and talent took him there.
“I don’t think people realize, if they haven’t done it, how hard it is,” he says. “How much time you have to put into it and mentally how hard it is when your friends and family tell you that you are wasting your life.
“Or they would say to me, ‘Who do you think you are, Woody Allen?’”
Lovitz will always remember those harsh and painful words, but there were some who encouraged him.
“I was in high school and I asked Dana Elcar, who was an actor, what should I have to fall back on, my dad said I should have something to fall back on,” recalls Lovitz. “And he said, ‘I don’t think your father would like me to say this, but I don’t think you should have anything to fall back on because if you do, you won’t make it because it’s so hard to make it that if you have something to fall back on you will.’ And he was right.
“(For a lot of these top actors and comedians), it’s so hard to get to where they are today. It’s years and years of being broke, living month to month. It’s at least 10 years before you get to the level of being hirable.
“I think that’s what I’m most proud of, that I’ve kept it going. July 15 will be 23 years, and that’s tough. The fact that people still know me and still want to see me.”
Lovitz credits The Tonight
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