King of Comedy: Tim Meadows on his time at SNL
by Scott King
The 1990s are well-represented in Chicago’s Museum of Broadcast Communications at the SNL: The Experience exhibit.
For Tim Meadows, who started on the show in 1991 and left in 2000, the years were meaningful ones in which he honed his craft and made lifelong friends.
“I [just] got a call from (Adam) Sandler about doing some stand up shows in Vegas in November,” the formed Second City Chicago cast member said. “It’s like people I’ve worked with on the show are still friends, are still people I work with, still important to me.”
Meadows thought the variety of performers in those years is what gave the casts the right stuff.
“I think it was a good combination of people from Second City, people from improv, people from the Groundlings,” Meadows said. “The thing about it, is it’s usually your first big job. So you come into it being very in awe of what you’re doing, and then once you get used to it, you sort of learn the game.”
Tim hit hardest with his character Leon Phelps, “the Ladies’ Man”, which led to a movie in 2000. The familiarity with the character had people coming up to him on the street asking him to do the voice, but for Meadows, it was only a blessing, not a curse.
“No, I love it,” Tim said. “That was part of the job. They didn’t hire me to not have recurring characters. Or to not create whatever. I wasn’t focused on that, I was just trying to write and get a sketch on every week. So I wasn’t like ‘Oh, I have to have a recurring character.’ I was just trying to write things that I thought were funny.”