Michael McKean

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Michael McKean

Born

10/17/1947, New York, New York

Birth Name

Gender

Male
8.2
out of 10
User Rating
38 votes

Biography

EDIT
Michael's first popular role was playing the character of Lenny on the hit tv show Laverne and Shirley. Michael has had a long and interesting career in television, film and in the stage. Now he is best known for his work in the ensemble films created by Christopher…more

Credits

Trivia and Quotes

  • Trivia

    • Michael is of English, Irish and Scottish descent.

    • Michael is starring in a new Tracy Lett's play Superior Donuts in Chicago. He plays Arthur the owner of a rundown donut shop.

    • Michael is scheduled to appear on Broadway in a play by Harold Pinter, The
      Homecoming with Ian McShane of Tv's Lovejoy. The production, to be directed by Daniel Sullivan, will play the Cort Theatre beginning November 16, with an official opening set for December 4.

    • Michael, Christopher Guest and Harry Shearer are reunited to join a campaign to save the world from global warming. Spinal Tap will be playing July 7 at one of Live Earth London Concerts.

    • Michael is collaborating with wife Annette on an original musical. He's keeping the details to himself, but he says the show is proceeding nicely.

    • Michael is shooting a political-themed pilot directed by Christopher Guest called The Thick of It.

    • Michael is in the Christopher Guest film For Your Consideration. He is reunited with his Spinal Tap cohorts, Harry Shearer and Christopher Guest. Michael plays one of the screenwriters of Home for Purim, the fictional film within the film.

    • Michael played the role of Snow Miser in the live action version of the 1974 classic The Year Without Santa Claus. This made-for-TV movie aired Dec. 11 2006 on NBC.

    • The appearance of The Folksmen in A Mighty Wind was not their first performance.The Folksmen performed "Old Joe's Place" on the 3 November 1984 episode of Saturday Night Live, hosted by McKean. The same actors Harry Shearer, Christopher Guest and Michael appeared as the Folksmen on SNL and in The Mighty Wind. In 2001, the band "reunited" as the opening act for Spinal Tap's "Back from the Dead Tour". The Folksmen appeared in the video release, The Return of Spinal Tap. The Folksmen and the three main members of Spinal Tap are the same people, Harry Shearer, Christopher Guest and Michael.

    • In the late 1960s Harry Shearer, Richard Beebe, David Lander and Michael formed a comedy troupe called The Credibility Gap that performed satirical daily newscasts on Pasadena Rock station KRLA-AM. In 1975, Michael, David and Harry were hired as writers for the ABC sitcom, Laverne & Shirley. Penny Marshall, who starred as Laverne, suggested that Michael and David play recurring roles based on two characters they'd created with The Credibility Gap. That is how the characters, Lenny and Squiggy, became regulars on the show.

    • Michael won the November 21, 2006 Celebrity Version of the game show Jeopardy. He competed against Margaret Spellings, U.S. Secretary of Education, and actor Hill Harper of CSI NY. Michael was playing for his charities the National Multiple Sclerosis Society and the International Myeloma Foundation.

    • In 1999, Michael appeared with his wife Annette O'Toole on an episode of Boy Meets World entitled State of the Unions in season 6. However, they hardly appear on stage together.

      They also appeared as husband and wife in 2000 in a episode of Law & Order entitled Mega, season 10.

    • Michael McKean is one of only two people to appear as a cast member, a host, and as the musical guest on Saturday Night Live. The other is Dan Aykroyd.

    • Along with Billy Crystal, McKean is one of the only two people who have joined the cast of Saturday Night Live after having hosted the show.

    • He is married to actress Annette O'Toole.

  • Quotes

    • Audiences have morphed in a funny way. People who saw the movie were now coming to see the play, and they don't know how to shut up and watch a live show anymore. People were missing stuff because they were talking, translating things for each other, talking about how it was different than the movie. And I'm like, shut up until after the show. It's like people decide that a $110 ticket gives them permission to do what they want regardless of the fact that there's a live show up on that stage.

    • I used to love doughnuts. I can't do it anymore. If I ate every doughnut that looked good to me, I'd be 300 pounds.

    • Michael: We see a lot of musicals in the course of our lives: classics that aren't so classic, supposedly groundbreaking stuff that doesn't break more than wind. And we thought, 'We can do that,'" McKean says. We've written about a dozen songs, and we need to write a few more. Every day we get closer to putting it all together.

    • Michael: I think there's also a sense that people watching TV feel their lives are equal to the people — the characters — they see on these allegedly real shows. And these viewers are starting to live like they're on TV. Cell phones have a lot to do with it, and all the public conversations, the breakups, the settling hash with each other in full view. We now overhear what used to be private and secret. The line is sufficiently blurred.

    • Michael: the word reality has gone the way of genius as a completely devalued word. It doesn't mean what it's supposed to mean.

    • Michael : I know... I'm pretty smart, aren't I?

    • Michael : Well, the boys in Spinal Tap aren't quite as bright as the guys in The Folksmen.

    • Michael : That's a job that it makes a few friendships, but it probably breaks more.

    • (Talking about co-writing songs with his wife)

      Michael McKean: When we've done it - and this sounds like I'm talking about sex, doesn't it? - we've done it every way you can.

    • Michael: I love the Pythons. I love the various shows that they evolved from. And, Beyond the Fringe before that, and The Goons before that. I just have that English funny bone.

    • Michael: My character is very much the guy who was always in it for the money, and when the money ran out, he found something that paid him even less, but it was steady, for 30 years.

    • Michael: Hollywood is really all about cruelty disguised as friendliness. In a nutshell, that's it. And that's what guided us through the shoot.

    • Michael:It was pretty sickening, generally, so I think they probably kept us apart on purpose for that very reason, because we're so nauseating. We're not actually. We're precious."

    • Michael: A lot of them are fans of what I do in my day job," he says, "my silly movies with Christopher Guest and company, like 'Best in Show' and 'A Mighty Wind.' But they hadn't seen me do anything dramatic. I'm mostly comedy-ghetto guy, which is fine.

    • Michael: You know, I think it's one of those cases where the situation really does dictate your level of ridicule.

    • Michael: 'm kind of the town pump. I think I have a pretty good ear for what sounds good in this style.

    • Michael: Sometimes we have to look to other performers to kind of spark us, but there is something kind of "old home week" about us. So I've never really felt the battery run down on these shows.

    • Michael: The whole process was just so much fun. Also, watching people who weren't primarily instrumentalists - watching them pick up instruments... Parker Posey never played the mandolin before.

    • Michael: Some people stay in the academic world just to avoid becoming self-aware. You can quote me on that.

    • Michael: Even when there are banalities, they're usually kind of benign banalities.

    • Michael: Following Harvey [Fierstein] is a little like following the Beatles!

    • Michael: When we can figure out a way to really tour and make a profit, then we'll do it again.

SUBMIT REVIEW
  • empty

    8.0
    Michael McKean is a comedy genius. He's been in so many great movies.

    He's most famous, of course, as Lenny in Laverne & Shirley - where he was great, but his movies are great, too.

    He was great in Clue, but he was pure genius in This is Spinal Tap -- one of the funniest comedies ever.
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