Yeah, that’s the ticket: Jon Lovitz

by LORI BASHEDA

One of UC Irvine’s most famously funny Anteaters will be back in town Nov. 19-21 at the Irvine Improv. Jon Lovitz graduated from UCI in 1979 before becoming a cast member on “Saturday Night Live” and later a film, TV and Broadway actor. We chat with him about his college days in the drama department and why he likes coming back to the place where it all began.

Q. What can fans expect at your stand-up show?

A. I play the piano, I sing silly songs about Bob Saget and I make fun of myself. There’s a huge social change right now, a lot of language you can and can’t say. A lot of my show is about trying to understand all the changes.

Q. How did you get to UC Irvine?

A. At first I wanted to go to Berkeley, but my father said, “No, you’ll turn into a hippie.” So I went to UCI.

Q. I read you used to do stand-up comedy in your dorm?

A. I was in the Prado Dorm. I memorized Woody Allen’s and Lenny Bruce’s stand-up routines from their albums and then performed them for other students in the common area. Later Woody cast me in his movie ‘Small Time Crooks.’ I got to work with him. I was just in heaven.

Q. Craziest college memory?

A. One time in ’78 the school had this event on the library steps. The drama department was looking for somebody to write and perform a funny sketch. I said I’d do it. I got a lot of laughs. Afterward a guy walked up to me and said, ‘I’m next, can you introduce me? Just say I’m a stand-up comedian from Russia.’ And, oh my God, this guy was so funny. People were like crying/laughing. And it was Robin Williams. ‘Mork & Mindy’ hadn’t aired yet. The school had hired him to perform.

Q. How instrumental was your UCI drama education to your later success?

A. It gave me a real foundation for my acting career. I got to do 21 plays there. Later, when I went to The Groundlings improv troupe in L.A., and they said ‘DoChekhov!’ or ‘Do Shakespeare!’ I knew what they were talking about. It was a huge advantage.

Q. Do you come back to Irvine often?

A. I try to go every year. Everything at Irvine Improv is first class. One time I got to perform at Barclay Theatre on campus. To be back performing where I first pursued my dream, that was a real thrill for me.

Jon Lovitz performs Nov. 19-21 at the Irvine Improv. For tickets, go to improv.com/irvine.


THREE MORE COMING ATTRACTIONS

39TH ANNUAL HOLIDAY FAIRE
Over 100 artists will showcase handmade crafts, clothing, jewelry, ceramics and more at the Irvine Fine Arts Center fair Nov. 6 at the Great Park. Admission is free, but reservations are required at yourirvine.org.

‘ONE-MAN STAR WARS TRILOGY’
Comedic actor Charles Ross plays all of the characters, sings the music, flies the ships, fights the battles and condenses the plots of the three films into one hilarious production. Nov. 13 at Irvine Barclay Theatre.

THE FEMALE MAKER MARKET
Southern California’s only all-female craft market creates a purposeful space that promotes inclusion, organizers say, with 5% of proceeds donated to nonprofits. 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Nov. 27 at Woodbury Town Center.