Thursday, Sept. 14; 8 and 10:30 p.m.
Nobody wrings more fun from failure than Jamie Kennedy. His hilarious autobiography, Wannabe, chronicles his hard times in Hollywood, five years when he lived in his car or in squalid apartments and was turned down for a role playing an egg because he wasn’t “eggy” enough. His website, jamiekennedyworld.com, includes a biography recalling his hard times and a list of the movie roles he didn’t get.
What’s ironic is that Kennedy is a success. He’s starred in his own TV show (The Jamie Kennedy Experiment, arguably the best hidden-camera show ever) and movies (most notably Malibu’s Most Wanted, based on Brad “B-Rad” Gluckman, the white rapper character he created). His new DVD, Unwashed, features him performing standup comedy, and he just released a CD, Blowin’ Up.
On Thursday, Kennedy, 36, will be in Indianapolis for the first time, performing standup and maybe a little music at The Vogue. In a telephone interview, he talked about his ability to persevere.
NUVO: Were you ever going to give up?
Kennedy: I was discouraged a lot. It’s totally depressing at times when you had no money, no car, no job, no foothold at all into the business. But every time I would want to give up, I would say, “What else do I have to go to?” I would have nothing else. So I had to keep going. It was either this or nothing. I have nothing. I’ve already achieved that goal.
NUVO: But what made you persevere? Is it internal — are you the kind of person who’s going to keep on until you get what you want?
Kennedy: When I was doing it, I had nothing, but everybody told me I would have something. They said, “You’re so funny” or “you have something different, keep pursuing it.” Other people who were making money at it would say I was funny. Other people who came up with me were making it. So I was always right next to it.
It’s the same thing right now. I’m trying to get the lead in a good movie. People are always like, “Why aren’t you in more movies?” I’m like, “My name is middle. It’s not huge. It’s not small.” I’ve got to get the right movie. Until it happens, it’s frustrating. But it’s always the encouragement of people that pushed me on.
NUVO: That list of parts you didn’t get that you have posted on your website — are those all true?
Kennedy: That’s all true. But if you were to get 10 guys in Hollywood that are somewhat “names,” like Seth Green or Matt Lillard, everybody’s got that. I’m just the first guy to put it out there, and people love it. It just takes the mystery out of it.
NUVO: Out of all those parts, is there one you really wanted and were just mystified you didn’t get?
Kennedy: I really wanted Saving Silverman. I know it didn’t end up being a huge movie, but that script was so funny. There’s Something About Mary, I knew I was too young. I really wanted the Gigli part. Everybody in town wanted that part. It’s so funny how things turn out. Gigli was a fantastic script. Awesome. I don’t know what happened.
NUVO: You always strike me as a good-natured guy. Does that allow you to get away with things as a comedian?
Kennedy: Pretty much. Sometimes people take me the wrong way. About 2 percent of the time, they’re like, “You’re mean.” Most of the time, people know I’m tongue in cheek. I try not to be mean. I try to make the joke on me or somebody who’s fortunate. When I did my pranks (on The Jamie Kennedy Experiment), I never wanted to make the people look bad; I always wanted to make myself look bad and have them in a situation where they’re like, “What the hell?” I feel bad for people.