Jon Lovitz

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Jon Lovitz
Jon Lovitz Mercedes-Benz Carousel of Hope Gala 2014 (cropped).jpg
Lovitz in 2014
Birth nameJonathan Michael Lovitz
Born (1957-07-21) July 21, 1957 (age 64)
Tarzana, California, U.S.
Medium
EducationUniversity of California, Irvine
Years active1984–present
Genres

Jonathan Michael Lovitz (/ˈlvɪts/; born July 21, 1957)[1] is an American actor, comedian, and singer. He is best known as a cast member of Saturday Night Live from 1985 to 1990. He starred as Jay Sherman in The Critic and has appeared in numerous other television series and films, including 20 episodes of The Simpsons.

His film credits include roles in An American Tail: Fievel Goes West, The Brave Little Toaster, Rat Race, Big, A League of Their Own, High School High, The Wedding Singer, Happiness, and The Benchwarmers.

Early life[edit]

Lovitz was born on July 21, 1957, in the Tarzana neighborhood of Los Angeles, to Dr. Harold and Barbara Lovitz.[2][1] His family is Jewish; they emigrated from Romania, Hungary, and Russia.[3]

His paternal grandfather, Feivel Ianculovici, left Romania around 1914. After arriving in the United States he Americanized his name to Phillip Lovitz.[2]

"When I was 13, I saw Woody Allen’s movie, Take The Money and Run and I wanted to be a comedian. Then when I was 16, I saw the movie Lenny, about Lenny Bruce, starring Dustin Hoffman. I thought the movie was so great and I’d never heard of Lenny, so I went to the record store, because I wanted to hear the real guy. Then I saw that Woody Allen had a record. I didn’t know he had been a standup. So I bought Woody Allen: The Nightclub Years, ‘64-’68. I learned their routines and performed them at my college dorm. That was at U.C. Irvine. I was a drama major there. In imitating their routines, I learned a lot about writing. You learn how to write a joke. I was influenced by them a lot, the way I say something, the timing or whatever. Or Jack Benny, sometimes, I’ll go, 'Well....'"[4]

In college, Lovitz was friends with David Kudrow, brother of Lisa Kudrow, and went on a backpacking trip across Europe and Israel with him in 1978.[2]

Lovitz graduated with a bachelor's degree in drama from the University of California, Irvine in 1979 and then studied acting with Tony Barr at the Film Actors Workshop.[5] He became a member of the Groundlings comedy troupe, where he befriended his future SNL castmate Phil Hartman.[4]

Career[edit]

Saturday Night Live[edit]

Lovitz was a cast member of Saturday Night Live from 1985 to 1990. He later said in an interview for the book Live From New York: An Uncensored History of Saturday Night Live that his time on SNL was the most memorable in his career. He went from having no money to being offered a $500,000 film contract. He was nominated for an Emmy Award his first two years on Saturday Night Live. One of his most notable SNL characters was "Tommy Flanagan, The Pathological Liar" who used an old Humphrey Bogart line "Yeah! That's the ticket!" as a catchphrase to punctuate painfully elaborated implausible lies. Other recurring characters and impersonations included Annoying Man, Master Thespian, Tonto, Mephistopheles, Harvey Fierstein, and Michael Dukakis. In a 1986 episode of Saturday Night Live, he portrayed a virgin Trekkie, who was scripted to hang his head when asked by William Shatner if he had ever kissed a girl.

Hanukkah Harry, one of Lovitz's most memorable roles, cast him in 1989 as a Jewish contemporary of Santa Claus who lives on Mount Sinai and travels the globe with a cart flown by three donkeys to give bland gifts to Jewish boys and girls. Harry is asked to fill in when Santa falls ill on Christmas Eve.

On February 15, 2015, on the Saturday Night Live 40th Anniversary Special, he was named by Steve Martin as one of the many SNL cast members who had died over the years, with the camera cutting to show Lovitz's reaction. Later, his image was seen in a montage of deceased SNL members, with the camera once again cutting to his now "outraged" reaction.[6]

Television series[edit]

Lovitz's first stint as a regular in a situation comedy was as Mole, an investigator for a New York City district attorney's office, in the short-lived 1985–86 series Foley Square, starring Margaret Colin.

Lovitz was a contestant on The New Celebrity Apprentice (also known as Celebrity Apprentice 8), playing for the charity St. Jude Children's Research Hospital. He was the sixth contestant fired, finishing in 11th place and raising $50,000 for his charity.

Voice work[edit]

Lovitz has lent his voice to several cartoons and films. In The Critic, he played the title character of Jay Sherman (using his regular speaking voice). He has made several appearances on The Simpsons, including as Marge's prom date Artie Ziff in "The Way We Was", the art teacher in "Brush with Greatness", theater director Llewellyn Sinclair and his sister who owned a daycare center in "A Streetcar Named Marge", Andre in "Homer's Triple Bypass", and numerous other appearances (including the character of Jay Sherman in the episode "A Star Is Burns", which was a crossover with The Critic). He was also the voice of Radio in the Hyperion-produced, Disney-distributed animated movie The Brave Little Toaster as well as T.R. Chula the tarantula in Amblimation's An American Tail: Fievel Goes West.

Music[edit]

Lovitz performed a duet with Robbie Williams on Williams' album Swing When You're Winning (2001), in the song "Well, Did You Evah". He also performed on the TV series Two and a Half Men singing "Save the Orphans" and beating Charlie (Charlie Sheen) out of the award for best jingle writer.

Broadway theatre[edit]

He has appeared on Broadway at the Music Box Theatre in Neil Simon's play The Dinner Party, taking over the lead role from Henry Winkler. He sang at Carnegie Hall three times (including Great Performances' Ira Gershwin at 100: A Celebration at Carnegie Hall) and sang the national anthem at Dodger Stadium and the U.S. Open.

On October 10, 2001, Lovitz sang a duet (with Robbie Williams) of the song "Well, Did You Evah!" at the Royal Albert Hall. The recording can be found on the Swing When You're Winning album.

Commercial work[edit]

Between 1999 and 2000 Lovitz appeared in a $33 million advertising campaign that featured a series of television commercials promoting the Yellow Pages. The comic premise was to present Lovitz as the Yellow Pages' author. One of them featured Lovitz saying, "The hardest thing to do is to come up with a simple idea that is also great. And I just thought, 'Oh, the alphabet!'"[7][8]

In 2006, he became the spokesman in an advertising campaign for the Subway restaurant chain.[9]

In 2020, Lovitz starred in ads for Playology, a brand of toys for aging dogs. These commercials featured him disparaging puppies and asking for senior dogs to get their due.[10]

Stand-up comedy[edit]

In 2003, Lovitz began his stand-up career at the Laugh Factory in Los Angeles.[11][12]

Feud with Andy Dick[edit]

Lovitz has had a long dispute with former NewsRadio costar Andy Dick concerning the death of their mutual friend Phil Hartman. According to Lovitz, Dick had given Hartman's wife Brynn cocaine at a Christmas party at Hartman's house in 1997. Brynn, a recovering addict, began using drugs again, culminating in her killing Hartman and herself on May 28, 1998. When Lovitz joined the cast of NewsRadio as Hartman's replacement, he and Dick got into a heated argument in which Lovitz reportedly shouted "I wouldn't be here if you hadn't given Brynn coke in the first place." Lovitz later apologized to Dick for the remark.[13]

In early 2007, Dick approached Lovitz at a restaurant and said "I put the Phil Hartman hex on you—you're the next to die."[14] On July 10, 2007, Lovitz got into a physical altercation with Dick at the Laugh Factory in Los Angeles. Lovitz demanded an apology from Dick, who refused and accused Lovitz of blaming him for Hartman's death. Lovitz then smashed Dick's head into the bar.[14]

The Jon Lovitz Comedy Club & Podcast Theatre[edit]

In 2009, The Jon Lovitz Comedy Club location on Universal CityWalk in Universal Studios Hollywood opened.[15] A comic short film starring Ken Davitian and featuring Lovitz was filmed there, directed by Brent Roske and written by Aaron Davitian.

The Jon Lovitz Comedy Club in Universal Studios Hollywood was home to the first MMA Roasted standup comedy show[16] in 2009.[citation needed]

On May 29, 2011, the name was changed to the Jon Lovitz Comedy Club & Podcast Theatre. A premiere event called Podammit was held, in which Kevin Smith hosted a variety of six podcasts, including Plus One 3D with his wife, Jennifer Schwalbach; Hollywood Babble-On with Ralph Garman; and Jay & Silent Bob Get Old with Jason Mewes; as well as The ABCs of SNL with Lovitz himself, a six-episode This Is Your Life-style biographical interview about Lovitz's life and career.[17] The Club periodically hosted other podcasts such as Rob Paulsen's Talkin' Toons (which subsequently left in October 2013). The Jon Lovitz Comedy Club & Podcast Theater closed on November 5, 2014.[18]

Personal life[edit]

Lovitz resides in Beverly Hills, California. He is friends with Sean Penn and Adam Sandler.[19][20] He was also friends with Penny Marshall and Phil Hartman. He has described Hartman as "the big brother I always wanted".[21]

Politically, Lovitz is a member of the Democratic Party. However, he was an outspoken critic of former President Barack Obama. He called Obama a "fucking asshole" and criticized him for claiming the rich did not pay their share of taxes. Lovitz saw this as an attack on the American Dream, opining "He had nothing … and the guy ends up being at Harvard. He’s the president of the United States. And now he’s like, fuck me and everyone who made it like me."[22]

In June 2021, Lovitz criticized cancel culture and compared it to McCarthyism.[23][24] He went on to say it has made comedians' jobs increasingly difficult and said "If you don't have the ability to laugh at yourself, don't go to a comedy club," and "If you're watching TV and you don't like the show, change the channel. It's very simple."[23]

Filmography[edit]

Film[edit]

Year Title Role Notes
1986 Hamburger: The Motion Picture Security guard
1986 Last Resort Bartender
1986 Jumpin' Jack Flash Doug
1986 Ratboy Party guest
1986 Three Amigos Morty
1987 The Brave Little Toaster Radio (voice)
1988 Big Scotty Brennen
1988 My Stepmother Is an Alien Ron Mills
1990 Mr. Destiny Clip Metzler
1991 An American Tail: Fievel Goes West T.R. Chula (voice)
1992 A League of Their Own Ernie Capadino
1992 Mom and Dad Save the World Emperor Tod Spengo
1992 The Buzz Unknown
1993 Loaded Weapon 1 Becker
1993 Coneheads Dr. Rudolph
1994 City Slickers II: The Legend of Curly's Gold Glen Robbins
1994 North Arthur Belt
1994 Trapped in Paradise Dave Firpo
1996 For Goodness Sake II Unknown
1996 The Great White Hype Sol
1996 Matilda Mickey Uncredited
1996 High School High Richard Clark
1998 The Wedding Singer Jimmie Moore Uncredited
1998 Happiness Andy Kornbluth
1999 Lost & Found Uncle Harry
2000 Small Time Crooks Benny
2000 Little Nicky Peeper
2000 Sand Kirby
2001 3000 Miles to Graceland Jay Peterson
2001 Cats & Dogs Calico (voice)
2001 Rat Race Randall "Randy" Pear
2001 Good Advice Barry Sherman
2002 Eight Crazy Nights Tom Blazer (voice)
2003 Dickie Roberts: Former Child Star Sidney Wernick
2004 The Stepford Wives Dave Markowitz
2005 Bailey's Billion$ Bailey (voice)
2005 Pancho's Pizza Unknown Short Film
2005 The Producers Mr. Marks
2006 The Benchwarmers Mel
2006 Southland Tales Bart Bookman
2006 Farce of the Penguins "My eyes are up here" Penguin (voice) Direct-to-DVD release
2007 I Could Never Be Your Woman Rob Direct-to-DVD release
2010 Casino Jack Adam Kidan
2012 Jewtopia Dennis Lipschitz
2012 Hotel Transylvania Quasimodo (voice)
2012 A Mouse Tale King of Mice (voice)
2013 Jungle Master Mulla (voice)
2013 Jay & Silent Bob's Super Groovy Cartoon Movie The Mad Scientist
2013 Bula Quo! Wilson
2013 Grown Ups 2 Squats Fitness Janitor
2013 Almost Sharkproof Max [25]
2014 Birds of Paradise Skeeter (voice)
2014 Coffee Shop Frank Miller
2015 Hotel Transylvania 2 The Phantom of the Opera (voice)
2015 The Ridiculous 6 Ezekiel Grant
2015 Bark Ranger Ranger (voice)
2016 Mother's Day Wally Burn
2017 Sandy Wexler Testimonial
2017 Killing Hasselhoff Barry

Television[edit]

Year Title Role Notes
1984 The Paper Chase Levitz Episode 2.18: "Billy Pierce"
1985–1986 Foley Square Mole Regular cast member
1985–92 Saturday Night Live Various characters Main cast member; appeared in 92 episodes
1991 Tales from the Crypt Barry Blye Episode 3.5: "Top Billing"
1991 Married... with Children Jeff Littlehead Episode 6.10: "Kelly Does Hollywood: Part 2"
1991–present The Simpsons Artie Ziff, Jay Sherman, Aristotle Amadopolis, Professor Lombardo, Llewellyn Sinclair, Enrico Irritazio, various characters (voices) Appeared in 20 episodes
1992, 1994 The Larry Sanders Show Himself Episode 1.03: "The Spiders Episode" and Episode 3.11: "Larry Loses a Friend"
1993 A League of Their Own Ernie Capadino Episode 1.1: "Dottie's Back"
1994–95 The Critic Jay Sherman (voice) Appeared in all 23 episodes
1995 Seinfeld Gary Fogel Episode 6.13: "The Scofflaw"
1995, 2003 Friends Steve Episodes 1.15: "The One with the Stoned Guy" and 9.14: "The One with the Blind Dates"
1997 The Naked Truth Acer Predburn Episode 2.8: "The Scoop"
1997–99 NewsRadio Ulysses S. Grant
Mike Johnson
Max Lewis
Episode 3.20: "Our Fiftieth Episode"
Episode 4.1: "Jumper"
Main cast member in fifth season
1997 Saturday Night Live Host Episode 23.5: "Jon Lovitz/Jane's Addiction"
2000 Bette Himself Episode 1.15: "Polterguest"
2002 Son of the Beach Father of B.J.'s Baby Episode 3.14: "Bad News, Mr. Johnson"
2003 Just Shoot Me! Roland Devereaux Episode 7.15: "A Simple Kiss of Fate"
2004–05 Las Vegas Fred Puterbaugh Appeared in three episodes
2006 Two and a Half Men Archie Baldwin Episode 3.17: "The Unfortunate Little Schnauzer"
2010 WWE Raw Himself Guest Host[26]
2011 Saturday Night Live Himself (cameo) Episode 36.14: "Dana Carvey/Linkin Park"
2011–12 Hot in Cleveland Homeless man/Artie 4 episodes
2012–15 Mr. Box Office Bobby Gold Main cast member
2013–14 New Girl Rabbi Feiglin Episode 3.05: "The Box"; Episode 3.16: "Sister"
2014 Sing Your Face Off Himself Contestant
2015 Randy Cunningham: 9th Grade Ninja Queen Gabnidine Episode: "To Smell and Back"
2015 Hawaii Five-O Barry Burns Episode 5.17 "Kuka'awale"; Episode 5.21 "Ua helele'i ka koku"
2016–18 Animals. Himself
Old Ben (voices)
Episode 1.09 "Squrriels Part I"; Episode 1.10 "Squrriels Part II"; Episode 2.04 "Squrriels"
2016, 2018 The $100,000 Pyramid Himself/Celebrity Guest Episode: "Jon Lovitz vs. Deion Sanders"; Episode: "Jon Lovitz vs. Bobby Moynihan"
2017 The New Celebrity Apprentice Himself/Contestant 11th place
2017 Justice League Action Sid Sharp (voice) Episode 1.35 "Superman's Pal, Sid Sharp"
2017–present Funny You Should Ask Himself/Celebrity Comic multiple episodes - present
2018 Insatiable Father Schwartz Episode 1.09 "Bad Kitty"
2019 The Goldbergs Jimmie Moore Episode 6.11 “The Wedding Singer“
2019 The Cool Kids Kip Samgood Episode 1.19 “Kip Samgood’s Biggest Fan”
2019 Jackie and the Next-Neighbor Girls Johnny Bodine 41 episodes
2019 Historical Roasts Franklin D. Roosevelt Episode 1.03 "Anne Frank"
2020 Saturday Night Live Alan Dershowitz Episode 45.11 "Adam Driver/Halsey"
2020 Holey Moley Himself/Captain Long Jon Lovitz Episode 2.01 "Literally Jumping the Shark"; 2.05 "Where the Herd At?": 2.06 "Don't Attempt This in Clogs"
2020 A.P. Bio Robin Schwonk Episode 3.02 "Disgraced"

Web[edit]

Year Title Role Notes
2013 Kevin Pollak's Chat Show Himself/Guest Episode: "178"

Other work[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b "Jon Lovitz Biography (1957-)". FilmReference.com. Archived from the original on March 4, 2016. Retrieved January 28, 2016.
  2. ^ a b c Reinhertz, Adam (June 18, 2021). "Getting serious for a change, Jon Lovitz reflects on childhood, faith and Israel". Israel Times. Retrieved June 18, 2021.
  3. ^ "Jon Lovitz". jewishbiography.com. Archived from the original on April 1, 2012. Retrieved February 3, 2012.
  4. ^ a b Freeman, Paul (October 15, 2011). "Jon Lovitz: Standing Up For Himself". PopCultureClassics.com. Archived from the original on October 15, 2011. Retrieved January 31, 2020.
  5. ^ "Master thespian". UCI News. November 8, 2013. Archived from the original on January 5, 2021. Retrieved February 1, 2021.
  6. ^ Zuckerman, Esther (February 15, 2015). "SNL includes still-living Jon Lovitz in its 'In Memoriam' segment". Entertainment Weekly. Archived from the original on February 16, 2015. Retrieved February 16, 2015.
  7. ^ Landwehr, Rebecca (February 13, 2000). "Lovitz returns as the face of the Yellow Pages". Denver Business Journal. Archived from the original on January 13, 2017. Retrieved January 10, 2017.
  8. ^ "Jon Lovitz's Yellow Pages". Youth'n Up!. Archived from the original on January 13, 2017. Retrieved January 10, 2017.
  9. ^ Gianatasio, David (March 31, 2006). "Lovitz Makes His Subway Debut in MMB Effort". Adweek. ISSN 0199-2864. Archived from the original on June 28, 2011. Retrieved February 12, 2011.
  10. ^ Neff, Jack (September 11, 2020). "Jon Lovitz is Getting Paid to Hate Puppies and Pitch Senior Dog Toys". Advertising Age. Archived from the original on November 24, 2020. Retrieved December 8, 2020.
  11. ^ Renner, Michael. "Jon Lovitz – Biography, Movies, Life Story". Archived from the original on April 13, 2021. Retrieved April 13, 2021.
  12. ^ Rotter, Joshua (July 6, 2015). "Jon Lovitz Loves Stand-Up, Acting, and Singing — But Not in That Order". SF Weekly. Archived from the original on October 18, 2016. Retrieved October 16, 2016.
  13. ^ Johnson, Caitlin (July 17, 2007). "Dick and Lovitz Fight Over the Dead". CBS News. Archived from the original on November 7, 2017. Retrieved November 2, 2017.
  14. ^ a b Faber, Judy (July 18, 2007). "Jon Lovitz Speaks Out on Dustup with Andy Dick". CBS News. Archived from the original on November 7, 2017. Retrieved November 2, 2017.
  15. ^ Siegemund-Broka, Austin (November 19, 2014). "Hollywood Docket: Jon Lovitz's Dispute With Comedy Club Manager Ends". The Hollywood Reporter. Archived from the original on October 19, 2016. Retrieved October 16, 2016.
  16. ^ Arredondo, Steven. "History". MMA Roast. Archived from the original on October 18, 2016. Retrieved October 16, 2016.
  17. ^ Smith, Kevin (April 15, 2011). "SModcastle Pulls Up The Drawbridge". silentbobspeaks.com. Archived from the original on June 21, 2011. Retrieved June 11, 2011.
  18. ^ Tillman, Christopher (November 5, 2014). "The Jon Lovitz Comedy Club Has Closed". Inside Universal. Archived from the original on November 6, 2014. Retrieved November 6, 2014.
  19. ^ "Jon Lovitz's House in Beverly Hills, CA". Virtual Globetrotting. December 3, 2009. Archived from the original on December 27, 2017. Retrieved February 1, 2021.
  20. ^ Ed, Condran (May 2, 2019). "Jon Lovitz on SNL, Adam Sandler, and why he hates TMZ". Philly Voice. Archived from the original on May 2, 2019. Retrieved February 1, 2021.
  21. ^ @realjonlovitz (September 24, 2018). "Phil Hartman was the big brother I always wanted..." (Tweet) – via Twitter.
  22. ^ McDevitt, Caitlin (April 24, 2012). "Jon Lovitz goes off on Obama". Politico. Archived from the original on April 3, 2021. Retrieved February 1, 2021.
  23. ^ a b Polus, Sarah (June 11, 2021). "Ex-SNL star Jon Lovitz compares cancel culture to Red Scare, McCarthyism". The Hill. Archived from the original on June 13, 2021. Retrieved June 13, 2021.
  24. ^ "'McCarthyism': Jon Lovitz rips 'cancel culture' and warns of negative impact on comedy". Washington Examiner. June 12, 2021. Archived from the original on June 13, 2021. Retrieved June 13, 2021.
  25. ^ "Almost Sharkproof". Alibris. Archived from the original on July 21, 2020. Retrieved July 21, 2020.
  26. ^ "World Wrestling Entertainment". Archived from the original on June 9, 2020. Retrieved December 5, 2010.

External links[edit]

Preceded by
MTV Movie Awards host
1995 (with Courteney Cox)
Succeeded by