Interview Date: 11/03/2010
Run Date: 11/16/2010
It’s fair to say that not everyone who’s been part of the “Saturday Night Live” ensemble has managed to maintain career longevity, but Tim Meadows has rarely been out of work since departing “SNL” in 2000. Although “The Bill Engvall Show” wrapped up in 2009, Meadows has been fortunate enough to remain part of the TBS family, moving straight into a recurring role as Professor Haines in the new ‘80s-set comedy, “Glory Daze.” We chatted with the comedian about his new gig, his own college experiences, his favorite “SNL” sketch that never made it to air, and the chances of seeing him on “The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson” again
Bullz-Eye: Hey, Tim, how’s it going?
Tim Meadows: Fine. How are you, Will?
BE: I’m good. I checked out the first episode of “Glory Daze,” and it was pretty funny. Some really good stuff from you. Are you enjoying the chance to be a part of another TBS ensemble?
TM: Yeah, it’s nice. I mean, anytime you get to work is good in this business. TBS has been really cool to me, and so I just felt lucky that they put me into something that I was interested in doing, and then I think it turned out really well.
BE: So I’m sure you’ve been asked this before, given the premise of the show, but…where were you in 1986?
TM: ’86…? I was leaving Detroit and getting ready to move to Chicago. I’d been doing improv, I’d dropped out of college, and I’d been thinking about making some serious choices in my life, basically.
BE: What was your college experience like?
TM: I went to Wayne State University, in Detroit, Michigan, and it was a commuter school, so I lived at home for a bit with my mother, which I’m sure she wasn’t that happy about. Being 19 and still living at home, she was… (Hesitates) Well, I’m sure she wanted me to go to school. But then I lived with two friends of mine, and we shared a house. We had a normal sort of college life. I mean, we had fun, basically.
BE: Were your parties comparable to the ones on the show?
TM: Uh, no. (Laughs) Not that crazy. Our parties were still good. If those parties are a 10, then our parties were probably, like, a 7.
BE: Well, you’re still partying pretty hearty at a 7.
TM: Yeah, I remember we used to have a lot of parties based around boxing matches. ‘Cause we, like, had HBO, and we were the only ones of our friends who had HBO, so whenever there was a Tyson fight or a Hearns fight or something, we would have people over. And then we’d party from there.
BE: So tell me a little bit about your character, Professor Haines.
TM: Professor Haines is going through a divorce. He’s a political science teacher struggling to keep his job and get published and get tenure from the school, and as the episodes continue to be produced, we find out more about him and about his divorce. Eventually he develops a relationship with the fraternity and becomes their advisor, and they sort of help him get through his divorce.
BE: How much of an opportunity do you get to improv? Or is it entirely scripted?
TM: It’s entirely scripted, but they encourage improv, so if we have ideas, they’ve been very open to it, so it’s been a great mix, already having a very sharp script and the freedom to make it better. Or worse. (Laughs)
BE: How does it feel to be the elder on the cast?
TM: It’s a little bit depressing. And I try to ignore it and remind myself that we all age, and that one day these kids will be the old dude on a show. And, you know, I remind myself that I can still do a 60-minute cardiovascular workout, I can do yoga, I surf, I can ride a surfboard, and women still generally seem to flirt with me when I’m out and about. (Laughs) So that’s how I feel.
BE: Do they ever make you feel old, by, say, sitting Indian-style around you and asking you to tell stories about the old days?
TM: Well, sometimes when we’re talking or something, there’ll be some reference that they might not have heard of, and that’s awkward and a little bit disconcerting. (Laughs) Because it’ll be something like…well, one that was sort of a little bit odd that I remember offhand, we had an episode where there was a reference to the band General Public, with Dave Wakeling, and nobody in the cast had any idea who they were. They’d never heard of them.
TM: I was, like, “Wow…” So that made me feel old.
BE: A stock question I ask everyone from the “SNL” cast: do you have a favorite sketch that didn’t make it to air that you still remember fondly?
TM: Yes, I do, and it was called…oh, boy, it’s going to come to me. (Long pause, followed by a sigh) Man, what was it called? What do you call a half-man, half-horse?
BE: A centaur?
TM: Yes! It was something The Centaur. But the sketch was about a guy who was a centaur that was a high school football coach, and he couldn’t understand why the kids couldn’t run as fast as he could or jump as fast as he could, and they got tired too quick. And they were, like, “Because you’re a horse! Because the bottom half of your body is a horse!” And it was me in a half-horse costume. And then the other joke of the sketch was that while he was having these deep conversations…it was shot like an “Afterschool Special,” and during these scenes where he would have these deep conversations with one of the kids who needed his advice, you’d see his tail go up, and then he would poop. And you would hear a big splat on the floor. And the kids would look back, but he would go, “No, no, look at me. I’m talking to you about so-and-son.” So that was one of my favorite sketches that I wrote that didn’t make it to air. My own personal. That’s just one that I can think of offhand.
Publicist: Will, we have time for one more question.
TM: Oh, I was hoping we could end by talking about a centaur pooping.
BE: If only we could. But I just feel like I should make the most of my time by asking one more.
TM: (Laughs) Okay.
BE: You haven’t been on Craig Ferguson’s show in awhile. Do you anticipate a return to being one of his occasional contributors?
TM: Well, you know, there’s a lot of different things that happened. One was that I moved to Chicago, so I live there more and wasn’t available to be around to do it a lot. And then at a certain point, too, I think he was not doing comedy bits as much as he was doing just the stand-up and everything. So it’d been awhile. And then I got back (to L.A.), and now I’ve been working on this show, and I was shooting a movie and stuff. But I’m hoping that I will be doing more. I know I’m going to be appearing on his show in a couple of weeks just as a guest, to promote the show. But I’m really looking forward to seeing him again, because I like him a lot. I think he likes me, too. But, also, I read his book, and I’m looking forward to talking to him about it.
BE: Excellent. Well, thanks a lot, Tim. Good talking to you, and I look forward to seeing how the show goes.TM: Thank you very much! Good talking to you, too!