Kevin Fitzgerald Corrigan is an American actor best known for his portrayal of "Uncle Eddie" on the sitcom Grounded For Life. He has appeared mostly in independent films and television since the 1990s. He played the role of best-friend Sal, against Patton Oswalt in the critically praised independent film, Big Fan.
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I'm Kevin Corrigan, actor, writer, talk show host, bassist, but mainly actor.
I was born and raised in New York City, specifically the Bronx.
I host THE CORRIGAN SHOW, a live talk show in New York City. The next installment will be TOMORROW, February 26th at 9pm. You can check out http://www.thecorriganshow.com for RSVP info (it’s free to attend) and to see who the guests are.
My latest feature, RESULTS, in which I have a lead role, premiered at the Sundance Film Festival a few weeks ago. Here’s a thoughtful review of the film: http://variety.com/2015/film/reviews/sundance-film-review-results-1201419560
And currently in theaters is a wonderfully charming film in which I co-star called WILD CANARIES (Find your local theater here: http://www.wildcanariesmovie.com/)
I studied at the Lee Strasberg Theater Institute during the mid-to-late 80's. In 1989, I was cast in the Martin Scorsese classic GOODFELLAS. I've been recognized for my work during the independent film boom of the 1990's, appearing in RHYTHM THIEF, LIVING IN OBLIVION, WALKING AND TALKING, BUFFALO '66, HENRY FOOL, SLUMS OF BEVERLY HILLS, plus TRUE ROMANCE, THE DEPARTED, PINEAPPLE EXPRESS, AMERICAN GANGSTER, and SUPERBAD.
On television, I played Uncle Eddie on GROUNDED FOR LIFE and had recurring roles on DAMAGES, COMMUNITY, FRINGE, and THE MENTALIST.
I have a part in Terrence Malick's next feature KNIGHT OF CUPS and I play a character named Smitty on the upcoming TNT drama PUBLIC MORALS from Edward Burns and Steven Spielberg.
I play bass in the NYC band CRYSTAL ROBOTS (We have a new album! http://crystalrobots.bandcamp.com/releases)
Here's proof I am in fact myself: http://imgur.com/ONbe1Z7
And my Twitter profile: http://twitter.com/KevinFCorrigan
Phhew! Now please friends, ask me anything!
I have to go to a premiere for WILD CANARIES now at IFC Center, but I will continue to answer your questions tomorrow around noon. Thank you for your questions and your interest in my work.
Hi Kevin. Thank you for doing this AMA.
You were great on Community, loved seeing your character show up in season 5.
How was it like working on this show? Any anecdotes?
See above answer.
I should say I really like the actors on COMMUNITY, Danny Pudi and Alison Brie. They are so wonderfully off beat, weird, original.
What was NYC like in the 80s? Did you get to know/see the Beastie Boys a lot? Were you a witness to the birth of hip hop and new wave and all the great things going on?
I saw people break dancing in the Bronx. I saw graffiti on the trains. I knew some writers. My friend Matt tried to get me to go bombing trains with him. He wrote "Deco". I wasn't good enough to paint at that level. That's large scale art work. Or vandalism. Depends on how you look at it. I didn't see much of what was going on in Manhattan. I went to the Lee Strasberg acting school in the 80's. I saw Robert De Niro in a play at the Public theater. I went backstage. I literally bumped into Madonna. She had just dyed her hair blond. I didn't experience the really cool stuff that went on. The clubs below 14th street. I saw metal shows at Madison Square Garden. I was into Iron Maiden, Judas Priest, Van Halen. But I remember when "Beat It" came out and Eddie Van Halen played on that. I remember the crossover as it happened. It was pretty amazing living through Michael Jackson's hey day. And Prince. And The Police. I regret not knowing who Dinasour Jr. and My Bloody Valentine were until the early 90's. They were 80's bands! I didn't know who Sonic Youth was, but I went to see the movie AFTER HOURS when that came out in 1985. THAT's what New York was like in the 80's. For me. That's what acting school was like. A total freak scene. Inside and outside of the school. Everywhere you went, it was kind of a freak scene. It was great. There was creativity in the air. A sense of possibility. I did end up working with Ad Rock in a movie in 1988. But what I remember of the 80's..it kind of filtered through my personal bubble. I remember seeing a movie called KOYANNISQATSI on TV in the 80's. And I would say that left a deep impression, anchored/awakened me to the times I was living through. THAT movie is what the 80's was like. Hard question.
What was it like working on Grounded for Life ?
Working on GFL was an epic time in my life. The job spanned five years. I learned a lot about putting on a show. Multi-camera, live audience. I had to pretend I hated it but, when I had stuff to do, I really enjoyed myself.
"Five years"..as if it were a lifetime..but it was a lifetime.
Thanks so much for doing this AMA! I loved you on Grounded for Life and you always made me wish my uncles weren't so lame.
That being said I think my favorite role of yours was in Superbad; my question is: after filming Superbad how often did people yell "The tiger got out of the cage bro"? Also, how hard does Joe Lo Truglio punch?
p.s. "We are blood brothers"
The line that gets repeated back to me from SUPERBAD is "Shut the fuck up, Scarlett" Certain people like that line.
What inspired you to start hosting The Corrigan Show? And why is this the first I'm hearing about it? Will begin watching immediately!
The Corrigan Show grew out of The Talk Show Series, which Billy Nord started at Over The Eight in Brooklyn. It is a live show. I was a guest and then Billy asked me if I'd be interested in hosting. It was supposed to be revolving hosts, but I became the main host. We've filmed it a few times, but it is mostly live, and I mostly still feel like a substitute host, even though it is my show now. I still think of it as Billy's thing. It's OUR thing. He books a lot of interesting people who I don't know about until he books them. And then I research them and become a huge fan. And then there are the people who I pull into it, like Steve Buscemi. He was my very first guest. The only reason we filmed that show was because Steve wanted to use part of of it for his own show, PARK BENCH. But now hopefully next Thursday, we are going to post the Buscemi interview on You Tube. It was Feb. 27, 2014, so exactly a year ago. I like doing the talk show. It's hard work, but it is also like getting a free education.
You were great in Community, and the conspiracy theory episode is one of the finest in the entire series. My question is meant to test your cultural sensitivity as an actor:
Can you name the traditional Latvian instrument that your character played during the chase scene in the blanket fort? I'll accept alternate spellings.
I'm sorry I can't name that instrument. I hardly "played" it..if I had, I would remember what it was called. I love musical instruments..but I didn't get a real opportunity to bond with that instrument because I was crawling around in a massive blanket fort...That was exhausting..We put in about 15 hours that day, which was typical for COMMUNITY. All the regulars were used to it. I was horrified. I couldn't wait til it was over. But that can be a good sign. I mean I was uncomfortable because I didn't know where it was all going, what it was about. Sometimes that kind of confusion on a job is a good indicator of how original the project is. Naturally, if a thing has never been done before, you don't know what to expect and there isn't a sense of closure or sensible outcome. Most good stuff I've worked on has been like that from BUFFALO '66 to COMMUNITY..many other projects
I would add NINTH AND JOANIE to that list. That was a play I worked on at the Labyrinth Theater. Written by Brett C. Reynolds. We went out on a limb with that piece. There was no net.
Hi Kevin, thanks so much for doing this. I loved GFL with Eddie being one of my favorite characters, and am excited when I see you pop up among other supporting roles that you've done (Community, Pineapple Express, etc.)
One of the things that makes you a great actor is the a unique style of delivering your lines.
Are there any specific influences that attribute your characters to, or are you taking from your own personality to make these memorable characters?
I take inspiration from the voices in my head, but a lot of those voices come from comedy records, scenes in random movies that play in my mind, or from people in my real life. Mainly, ultimately, the way I play a role comes from choices I make in my guts about how I would really act in a situation, and how I really feel about things. Sometimes when I'm acting is the only time I get to really make a point about something (or pretend to) and I try not to waste that opportunity. The idea is to be believable. Convincing. You have to fight through a lot of false choices and pretentious impulses to get to the real shit inside of you. I advise people who write that they should write about what pisses them off. That way, they will never have writer's block. It's the same with acting..even if it means throwing away the bullshit lines you've been given.
How was filming Goodfellas? How did you get that role?
I read about it in a magazine in 1989. Scorsese mentioned that he was getting ready to film the book WISEGUY. I called my newly acquired agent and said I have to be in this movie. A month later, I got an audition. I read for the casting director, and the next day she brought me back to meet Scorsese in the Brill Building. I played Henry Hill in a scene. It took all of five minutes. Before I left, I told Marty how much I loved him. I got very emotional. I couldn't help it. And he realized that. An hour later I got the offer.
Filming GOODFELLAS for me was like getting to be a bat boy for the Yankees during the World Series. I didn't feel like an actual player on the team, but I was given a job to do. And I was allowed to be on the field. It was the greatest feeling I had up to that point. I was 20.
Kevin, thanks so much for doing this AMA.
A few q’s for you:
One of my all-time favorite movies is Slums of Beverly Hills. In David Krumholtz’s AMA he talked a little bit about how difficult that movie was to make. How was your experience working on the film? Especially working with Tamara Jenkins and Alan Arkin?
Buffalo ‘66 also looked like it was a difficult film to make. It’s regarded as a cult favorite now. As hard as it may have been to make, are you happy with how it turned out?
Is there a project or character that you’d like to try/play that you haven’t gotten a chance to yet?
Tamara Jenkins and Vincent Gallo. You couldn't have picked two fussier people. They are both great, I love them both, would work with them on anything, and they are very fussy about their work, as they should be. They are very keen, perceptive artists. If things aren't just right, they will labor over something until it's right. It's not always easy to work with people like that, but usually it's a fantastic script and you just give them the benefit of the doubt and try to work just as hard yourself.
Who have you most enjoyed working alongside?
Off the top of my head: John Ventimiglia, among many others.. Donal Logue, David Krumholtz, Constance Zimmer
Where is your favorite pizza place?
That pizzeria right of the Bedford Street stop of the L train. Anna Maria. Oh, man. I love stopping in there. Delicious pizza.
I'll tell you another great place for pizza, but it's a bar. Tribeca Tavern on West Broadway. It's unbelievable. You wouldn't think, because it's a bar, but they make really excellent pizza there.
Hi Kevin! Big fan of your work. You've worked with the great Christopher Walken in at least two projects. Could you talk about what that experience is like? He seems like a fascinating man.
Yes, Walken is a fascinating person. I think, after the third time we worked together, he started to remember who I was, and that we'd worked together previously. Since I was 17, people have been telling me that I sound like Walken, that I should play his son. I couldn't help but consider this. I can imitate him pretty well because I already have that kind of voice naturally. It's a New York voice, kind of nasally. Alan Arkin has that kind of voice. Steve Buscemi, too. You feel like you know someone after a while because you have similar rhythms. I can't say I know Chris Walken as a person, because he is very guarded. With me, anyway. He thinks I'M weird. Anyway, I figured out a good way to talk to him without all the baggage of how legendary he is, and how much I love him, is to talk about food. He loves to cook. And so the last time we worked together I asked him about a You Tube video where he cooks chicken with pears. And we had a great conversation. In my mind, it's like we were discussing acting. He's a deep guy. He thinks and feels deeply about things. And I think he likes to laugh more than anything. You can see it in his crinkly eyes, and the laugh lines around his mouth. I hope I get to work with him at least once more.
How does it feel knowing you never got to have dinner with your wife?
All that stuff about Budlofsky wanting to get home to his wife came from me not feeling like I fit in on the set of PINEAPPLE EXPRESS. Everyone was joking around. I didn't think I was funny like everybody else. I sincerely wanted to get home to my wife (and my daughter)
Midnight Run or After Hours?
Oh, I can't answer. Tough call. They are both vital, both mean a lot to me. Charles Grodin, whoa. That scene where De Niro meets his daughter. The music in AFTER HOURS. Bad Brains. Howard Shore. Good stuff. I used to hang out in the bar where John Heard worked in AFTER HOURS. It's still there, The Emerald Inn, but it's no longer how it was in AFTER HOURS. They gutted the inside. It's pretty lame now.
How often does Trees Lounge come up? I really thought it was a cool film. Wondered if it lives on in people's minds.
TREES LOUNGE, yeah. It lives on in MY mind.
So yeah, you've been in some great movies. Pineapple Express, sure. The Departed, right. Maybe some people remember Seven Psychopaths, but we all know what we really remember you from... The Exorcist III!!! I ABSOLUTELY LOVED YOU AS ALTAR BOY!!!
Seriously though, if you could put five and only five of your roles on a resume, which five would they be?
I will name a few things that don't get mentioned enough. There's made a movie called SOME GUY WHO KILLS PEOPLE and I liked what I did in that. It was a lead role where Karen Black plays my mother. I played a Venezuelan character in a film called PONIES. That starred John Ventimiglia, Babs Olusanmokun, and me. I thought I was really good in that. There is BUFFALO '66, of course. The best work I've done has been in the past five years. In 2015, I have some films coming out that I'm very proud of, starting with WILD CANARIES, which is out now. You can stream it on i-tunes or see it projected on a big screen at the IFC Center in NYC. I'm in a movie called LAUGH KILLER LAUGH, which opens at the Cinema Village on April 24. It's written and directed by Kamal Ahmed, who was one of the Jerky Boys. It's a brilliant movie LAUGH KILLER LAUGH, his fourth feature film as a director, and by far, his best. William Forsythe is the lead character. He's a professional killer, a loner, who joins a creative writing class. It's hysterical. I play a guy in the class named Ackley. I gave myself that name. Ackley is really critical of everyone else's writing. It's a gangster genre movie, but really kind of a comedy/horror film at the same time. It's got Tom Sizemore in it. It's quite a personal film. There's a movie coming out in June called RESULTS, which is the fifth feature by Andrew Bujalski. I have a big part in that. Probably the best part I've had in a movie. Best part since WALKING AND TALKING. And I just saw some scenes from a TV show I worked on called PUBLIC MORALS, and that looks great. I like my character in that. I have some good scenes with Brian Dennehy in that show. I want people to see this stuff.
Any odds of you and Donal Logue reuniting for an episode of Gotham or two? I think you'd fit well on the show.
Donal was on my talk show a few weeks ago. It was great to see him again. We will post the audio of that interview in a few weeks.
What was it like working for Scorcese?
Working for Scorsese is a lot of fun if you can forget how high the stakes are, which I was able to do most of the time because he liked what I was doing, even when I was just bugging him with questions about movies and music. His answers would make me cry with laughter and just from the wonder of being in his presence and hearing that voice.
Okay, so what was your Terrence Malick experience like on Knight of Cups? Will you actually be in the finished film?
There were hundreds of good, watchable actors in KNIGHT OF CUPS. I believe I made the cut, but not positive. Terrance Malick is a gentle, contemplative man. I made him laugh. I had scenes with Frida Pinto and Teresa Palmer. We improvised. Malick, watching the video monitor, had to stifle his laughter. I wasn't mugging or anything, I'm not sure what was so funny, but it was kind of gratifying that I made him laugh so much. Maybe it was the sight of me struggling to make stuff up.
Hey Kevin, thanks for being here. You guest-starred in an episode of Homicide: Life on the Street (as a parolee who killed his girlfriend's father, his PO, and then nearly was killed by his associates). How was that role and what do you remember about with the Homicide crew?
P.S. Loved you on Community! Any chance you're coming back for the next season?
The episode of HOMICIDE: Life In the Street that I worked on...was directed by Kathryn Bigelow..I don't remember much about that experience except that I was terribly hungover, leaning against a wall, wishing I could just go home. I heard a dog barking. I looked across the street and there was a German shepherd on a porch, just barking at nothing. I started crying because it reminded me of my ex-girlfriend and I watching Jerry Seinfeld do stand-up on the Tonight Show. He described a dog barking and observed that they are really just like people, in that moment, shouting, "Hey! Hey!" Hey! and we laughed, my ex and me. We thought it was so funny. But then there I was, on the set of HOMICIDE, hungover, miserable, and a dog barking across the street made me cry. I must have seemed like a madman to that crew.
Hi! I am a huge fan of yours. One of my Favorite movies of all time is Bandwagon, which unfortunately it seems that not many people have seen. What was it like to work on that movie?
I had to do a Southern accent in BANDWAGON and that is why I kind of whisper throughout the film, because I was self conscious about it. It wasn't a very good accent. We became very close on that film, Matthew Hennessey as the drummer, Lee Holmes as the singer, Steve Parlavecchio (who passed away, sadly), John Scultz, the director, many other people. A lot of lives intersected on that movie--which we went to Sundance with. People forget that. Anyway, we really bonded. That was a beautiful autumn in Chapel Hill, NC. I loved working on that movie. I formed some very close relationships on that project. And it's a gem of a movie about a subject dear to me--music. Being in a band. Twenty years later, I am living that movie for real. I just toured with my band, Crystal Robots. It was like being in the movie BANDWAGON...which I was in.
What are your favorite TV shows?
My favorite TV characters, ever, are Dee from WHAT'S HAPPENING and Squiggy from LAVERNE AND SHIRLEY. Favorite shows..ALL IN THE FAMILY, HILL STREET BLUES. DEADWOOD. UPRIGHT CITIZENS BRIGADE, Season One. I know these are kind of random. I liked LUCKY LOUIE, when Pamela Adlon and Rick Shapiro were on the show. I liked the episode of LOUIE where Tom Noonan shows up as a forensics expert to tell the kids in Young Louie's class the precise way in which Jesus died.
Hi kevin luv ur work, what is ur biggest fear in life?
My biggest fear in life is that fear itself will fuck me up, that I will fall into despair, and not even have a sense of humor about anything. I try not to let things get me down. I know people who have massive issues with health and things like that. People who are in a lot of discomfort and living with a lot of uncertainty and they are the bravest people I know with the best sense of humor you could imagine.
What was it like working with Patton Oswalt on Big Fan?
Thanks for doing this AMA
I love Patton as a stand up comic. I think he is the best. And I felt that way before working on a BIG FAN. I was literally a big fan of Patton. When you watch the movie and he's doing his monologue on the Sports Dog radio show..and then I speak with him on the phone afterward and marvel at how he comes up with all that stuff..and how I wish I could do it..that was all in the script, but it was very true to life. It was very easy for me to play his worshipful friend because I love stand up comedy, and I envy people who do it, especially Patton, and I have to say that stand up comics, by and large, are self-centered, selfish, ball-busting pricks. But Patton is a sensitive, generous, and thoughtful man.