‘SNL’ alum Meadows mixes in stand-up with TV, film career


Tim Meadows

7:45 p.m. Thursday, July 23, $20. 7:45 p.m. and 10:15 p.m. Friday, July 24, and Saturday, July 25, $25. Atlanta Improv, 56 E. Andrews Drive N.W., Atlanta. www.theimprovatlanta.com.

Tim Meadows, best known for his decadelong run on “Saturday Night Live,” is a genial guy, a survivor who isn’t apt to make waves in the rough Hollywood waters. But as a veteran improv comic with Second City roots, he has a beef with the popular show “Whose Line Is It Anyway?” on the CW.

“I like the people on the show,” he said in a recent interview in advance of his July 23-25 stop at the Atlanta Improv. “I hate that show. I hate that show exists. It’s the worst example of improv. It’s not even improv! It’s like pretend makeup.”

Over a half-hour conversation, that’s as rough as he gets.

While Meadows has carved out a steady career in sketch comedy and acting in film and TV (“Mean Girls,” “Grown Ups,” “Marry Me”), he has also been working in recent years on his stand-up act. It’s not what people identify him with.

“I talk a lot about myself because I don’t think the audience knows much about me personally,” Meadows said. “I’ll talk about being a father, my divorce, dating after divorce. I talk about growing up in Detroit.”

Meadows will also do a bit of his “Ladies Man” act, his most famous sketch character from the show, where he plays a sex therapist and radio host who provides questionable romantic advice. He even leveraged that act into a film in 2000.

“It’s still fun for me to do the Ladies Man,” he said. “He makes me laugh. He’s an odd extension of me. I feel like the character can basically get away with saying things I can never say myself.”

Meadows has been on two shows with Atlanta-based TBS. The more notable one was “The Bill Engvall Show,” where he played Engvall’s best buddy from 2007 to 2009. Jennifer Lawrence, now an A-list actress, played Engvall’s daughter.

“I met her when she was 16,” Meadows said. “She was always very down to earth. We got along really well. We had running jokes while we were on set. She was always a really solid performer.” He said she deserves her success: “She’s a really good person at heart.”

Meadows is grateful for his decade on “SNL” in the 1990s, working alongside the likes of Chris Farley, Adam Sandler and Will Ferrell.

“I kept my nose to the grindstone,” he said. “I worked hard. I didn’t really get involved in politics or any relationship that would complicate my place on the show. I’d come in, write two sketches a week, contribute where I could. I worked hard to be a team player.”

He had a thrill attending the 40th anniversary special and after-party in February. “I think (creator Lorne Michaels) threw the greatest party in show business history,” Meadows said.

The most surreal moment for Meadows was having Derek Jeter tell him what a big fan he was. “Someone then tapped me on the back. It was Rihanna, who said, ‘I wanted to say hello!’ So then I said to her, ‘Have you met Derek Jeter?’ How often do you get to say that?”