Funny man Kevin Nealon gets serious about the heart

Kevin Nealon

I know somebody who would like to "pump, you up," and it's funny man Kevin Nealon.

Nealon is a man who played many hilarious characters for nearly 10 years during one of Saturday Night Live's golden age in the late 1980's and early 1990's. Nealon and other classic cast members such as Adam Sandler, Chris Rock, Dana Carvey, David Spade, Rob Schneider, Mike Myers and the great Chris Farley were just a few big names that brought hilarity to the nation every Saturday night.

Nealon playing the straight and serious anchor for one of SNL's staples in "Weekend Update" proved to be a huge success. The overwhelming chore to take over for the wildly popular Dennis Miller in that spot was a tough one, but Nealon came through with flying colors.

The way he could deliver a punchline without breaking face expression was a marvel to many.

Another area Nealon has wildly succeeded has surrounded his work with spreading awareness about the human heart.

February is American Heart Month and due to the importance surrounding the cause, Nealon has gone above and beyond the call of duty. He is currently working with Janssen in an effort to educate and spread awareness regarding heart health.

Nealon is well aware of the dangers too as he is an AFib (Atrial fibrillation) patient for more than a decade.

Not only is Nealon a funny man, but he's smart. He realizes because of his AFib history, he is five times at a greater risk of a stroke.

For every page view at, Janssen will make a donation to Mended Hearts, a non-profit organization that helps heart disease patients, their families and caregivers.

It is no doubt a worthy cause spearheaded by a worthy individual.

Luckily for, we were lucky enough to have a chat with Kevin about this and more.

Robby Sabo: For me personally, you were on cast during the golden age for Saturday Night Live in the early 90’s. Was "Weekend Update" truly your favorite segment, or did you prefer another character or type of sketch?

Kevin Nealon: Oh thank you. Yeah I mean being on the show for a little over nine years, there were so many different sketches and characters over time. Sometimes you forget about a few of them. You know, I took over for Dennis Miller who was one of the best at it. The role was sort of a reprieve for me - a little change of pace compared to the other characters.

RS: February is American Heart Month, and I know you’re working with Janssen to spread awareness about greater risks for AFib patients. Can you tell us a little about that?

KN: Well I’m an AFib patient myself. About 13 years ago I was in Mexico with my girlfriend at the time, now my wife, and I started to feel a little fluttering in my heart. Enough that I went to a Mexican hospital. They were doing all sorts of things to me but really didn't solve much - just told me to head to my doctor when I got home. My doctor put me on blood thinners. So yeah, it was a little scary but at the same time an interesting story.

RS: How can people learn more about heart awareness? What’s the website everybody can visit to help the cause?

KN: The website is When I first realized I suffered from AFib, learning that so many others suffered from the same thing (2.7 million Americans) really shocked me. You wouldn't think I'd have the same thing in common with a race-car driver (Brian Vickers) and Arnold Palmer (legendary golfer).

RS: Yeah, to be honest, I'm sort of a hypochondriac myself and worry when I get those little flutters in my chest. So when I started reading up on the site, it made me feel a little more comforting.

KN: (Laughing), yes it's better to know and be safe than not know and worry and get caught off guard. That's what we're trying to accomplish.

RS: How does the website work? For every view, Janssen will make a donation to Mended Hearts, a non-profit organization that helps heart disease patients, right?

KN: Yes. Janssen will make a donation to a non-profit organization that helps heart disease patients, their families and caregivers. Mended Hearts is the name of the organization.

RS: As it relates to movies, you were involved in so many comedy classics, over two-dozen to be exact. Which set behind the scenes was most enjoyable to be a part of?

KN: Oh well there were so many. Any of the (Adam) Sandler movies were great because I was fortunate enough to work with friends in the industry. Happy Gilmore and Roxanne were two of my favorites. Happy Gilmore especially because we had to get to the set by plane. It was shot in British Columbia, Canada, and traveling by plane to the set was a unique experience.

RS: I know this is an impossible question, but which character was most enjoyable in all your years of movies, TV and SNL?

KN: Definitely Hanz and Franz with Dana Carvey. Subliminal Man was also up there. I did enjoy playing Doug Wilson in Weeds too.

RS: One last one. Have you really pumped up Aaron Rodgers or is it all talk?

KN: I think he’s gradually getting pumped up…he was a nice guy. Kind of quiet but I think I can take him even after his transformation.

KN: Oh and don’t worry about the heart fluttering. You're going to be okay.

You can now buy Kevin Nealon's comedy special, "Whelmed, but not Overly," in DVD/CD through Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and iTunes.

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