Kevin Nealon may be best known for his television work, but he sees himself as a stand-up comedian first.
Nealon, who is part of the KAABOO Cayman comedy lineup, has specialized in playing less-than-admirable characters, including Matt LeBlanc’s clueless brother in “Man With a Plan” and a morally and intellectually challenged city councilman in “Weeds.” He also spent nine seasons on “Saturday Night Live.”
His roots, however, are in stand-up and he’s currently working on a new comedy special. The Cayman audience will hear some of the material he’s developing for that show.
“They are my laugh gauge,” he says.
“I’m excited to be coming out there,” he adds. “I think I was there a long time ago.”
A veteran of the KAABOO Del Mar event, near San Diego, Nealon says he likes the fact that the festival’s comedy acts get their own separate venue.
“It’s not like you’re opening up for the band,” he says. “It’s really nice. I think the audience likes it too.”
Nealon characterizes his humor as subversive.
“It’s kind of a twisted take on life. As a stand-up, you’re kind of always looking at things in a skewed way.”
At KAABOO, he will be on the bill with two of his former “SNL” colleagues, Norm Macdonald and Darrell Hammond. It was “SNL” that gave Nealon his big break, but unlike so many cast members who saw making it on the show as fulfilling their ultimate dream, Nealon says he sort of fell into it.
“It wasn’t anything I was searching to do,” he says. “I was just a stand-up. But I had great chemistry with Dana (Carvey) and I was dating (cast member) Jan Hooks at the time.”
Nealon went on to play such characters as Subliminal Man and Franz, half of the bodybuilder duo Hans and Franz, which he created with Carvey. He recently said Franz was his favorite “SNL” character. He also lent his deadpan delivery to the news for three years as the anchor of the “Weekend Update” portion of the show.
“What a great opportunity,” he says of the iconic show.
Since that time, he has appeared in numerous movies, many headed by his former “SNL” pals, including “Happy Gilmore” and “Anger Management.”
In addition to his current television work, Nealon is also writing a film short that he hopes will garner interest for a feature length treatment. And he has an ongoing interview series on YouTube, where he talks with celebrity friends as they hike walking trails in Southern California. Hiking with Kevin has featured such stars as Conan O’Brien, Jack Black and David Spade.
He says the idea for the series came to him during one of his regular hikes.
“I was hiking with Matthew Modine,” he says, referring to the actor famous for such films as “Full Metal Jacket,” “The Dark Knight Rises,” and the recent television series “Stranger Things.”
On a rigorous climb, he says, the comic nature of their banter became evident.
“We were (talking) and trying to catch our breath,” he says. “And I thought, ‘This would be pretty funny.’”
As they headed downhill, he asked Modine, “Did you ever turn down a role you regretted?”
The actor spun off a list of blockbusters including “Back to the Future” and “Wall Street.”
“I said, ‘You’re an idiot,’” Nealon recalls.
The comment seems to run counter to his reputation in the industry. Nealon is known for being a nice guy.
“I have people that manage that for me and spread those rumors,” he says.
Comedian Alonzo Bodden has roots in Cayman. He just does not know where they are.
“It is the home of my family,” says Bodden, who is part of the comedy lineup at this weekend’s KAABOO festival. But he says he knows of no living relatives here on the island. “My father grew up in Honduras.”
His mother is a New Yorker.
“It’s a beautiful rich island with a town that has my family name, yet I have no connections,” he says via email.
At least no living connections.
There are, he adds, “far too many graves with my name on them. That’s never comfortable.”
Bodden may be best known for winning Season 3 of “Last Comic Standing” in 2003 and for his regular appearances on National Public Radio’s “Wait Wait … Don’t Tell Me.” He’s also famous as a car and motorcycle collector and appeared on Jay Leno’s “Leno’s Garage.”
While he’s on Cayman, however, he does not expect to be behind the wheel of any expensive sports cars.
“I’ve ridden scooters around the island, I doubt I’ll do any driving,” he says.
Bodden says he’s excited about being part of KAABOO.
“This is a big deal and a big party,” he says. “I love being part of it.”
Appearing at a festival, however, can be a challenge, he says.
“In a big outdoor festival setting, holding the crowd’s attention is the toughest part of the gig,” he says. “That and porta-potties.”
Fortunately for him, the restroom facilities at KAABOO will be plumbed.
Bodden says he has an hour-long stand-up special that will soon be released on an “unnamed streaming service.” He also has a regular podcast, “Who’s Paying Attention?” where he riffs and rants on the week’s news. Those issues, which include a lot of commenting on Donald Trump, inform much of the comedy he does on stage.
“Early in my career, I was doing more personal stuff,” he says of his stage show. “But once I started doing topical and social commentary I haven’t been able to stop. I find the world funnier than my life.”
And he finds the Cayman Islands a bit of a lost opportunity, at least in one sense.
It’s a “beautiful island,” he said. “Wish I had some money to hide there.”