When Tim Meadlows left "Saturday Night Live" in 2000 after a decade of service, he had the honor of being the longest-running cast member of that seminal sketch comedy show in its history.
His post-"SNL" history has been comparable to his time at "SNL." He's always a funny, steady performer but never quite a standout.
Meadows' latest gig, as Bill Engvall's best friend on TBS's "The Bill Engvall Show," fits that mold. He's amusing as a newly single, mildly neurotic sidekick to family man Engvall. But he isn't the star.
His role has been expanded this second season and he'll appear in eight of the first 10 episodes. (He won't be in Thursday night's episode.)
"My character is a little envious of Bill," said Meadows last week, before a screening of the Engvall show at the Dave & Busters in Marietta. "He's a little frustrated and lonely."
Besides the sitcom, Meadows keeps busy doing improv with the Upright Citizens Brigade in Los Angeles, doing occasional gigs for "The Colbert Report" and "The Late Late Show With Craig Ferguson" and taking small roles in shows such as "The Office." He just finished a film shot in New Zealand co-starring Kevin Nealon, Doris Roberts and Ashley Tisdale.
But for a younger generation, his most memorable role was principal in the Lindsay Lohan breakthrough hit "Mean Girls" in 2004, written by fellow SNLer Tina Fey. "I wanted him to be really frustrated with his job so he never smiled," he said. "They convinced me to make him smile for one scene. It worked. It was really funny."
And while many fellow alums such as Will Ferrell and Fey have become bigger stars, he's not angry he hasn't reached those heights.
"I have no power over the success or failure of whatever projects I do," Meadows said, picking over the remains of his barbecue chicken. "I'm not jealous of people more successful than me. I'm happy for people who are successful. This is my rule for myself: If I had a career that made me $20 million a movie, I'd make five movies and you'd never hear from me again!"
During a Q&A session at Dave & Busters with fans, the 47 year old Michigan native got his biggest laughs when he fell into his suave "Ladies Man" role, his most memorable character from "SNL," which became a film in 2000. Here are some highlights from the Q&A:
On Lohan: "She's like Dr. Jeckll and Mr. Hyde. She's completely different now than she was then. She was 17 and I don't think she was drinking. She was really talented and nice. When I see stories about her now, it's not the same person."
On the stress of "SNL:" "I had an ulcer for 10 years. It was high pressure competing with your friends trying to do comedy on a national live TV show. I ended up doing meditation instead of taking medication. And it worked. In three months, the ulcer went away."
Worst guest host: "Steven Seagal. He wasn't nice. He wasn't funny. He didn't take constructive criticisism. He beat everyone down. He'd get upset and you'd be afraid he'd punch you out."
Best guest hosts: "It's the guys who come back a lot like Alec Baldwin and John Goodman. I loved working with Christopher Walken. He's so strange. We did a scene together... he never looked at me one time. He always looks at the cue cards. It's like talking to a blind person with no glasses on. Can he see me cos I'm right here! If I punch him, will he duck?"
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