For the last twenty-five years, Jon Lovitz has been one of the best known comedians in the universe… well, according to his cats.
For the first ten years of his career, he did plays in high school, earned a B.A. in Drama at the University of California, Irvine and studied acting with Tony Barr at the Film Actors Workshop.
After an unfruitful year in New York, he returned to Los Angeles and at the advice of Tony Barr, he began concentrating solely on comedy. He began taking classes at the famous improv and comedy group, “The Groundlings” in 1982. A year later, after being accepted into “The Sunday Company”, Jon got his first job as an actor for two weeks on the television show “The Paper Chase: the Second Year”. Thinking he was on his way, he promptly quit his job at the clothing store… and became a messenger. The next three years – nothing!!! Then, in September of 1984, he was accepted into the main company at the Groundlings.
On March 28, 1985 the Groundlings appeared on “The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson”. It was here Jon premiered his character “Tommy Flanagan of Pathological Liars Anonymous”. This kicked off a series of events, including getting an agent, a movie (“Last Resort”) and a series (“Foley Square”) on the same day, a voice over for a cartoon (“The Brave Little Toaster”) and the big break of his career (with the recommendations of Larraine Newman and Charles Grodin) “Saturday Night Live”… all this by September of 1985.
He has not stopped working since. He was nominated for an Emmy his first two years on Saturday Night Live. He became known for many characters, including “Tommy Flanagan of Patholigical Liars Anonymous” (“Yeah, that’s the ticket!”), “Master Thespian”, “Hannukah Harry” and “the Devil”. He has appeared in over thirty movies, including “Big”, “A League of their Own”, “The Wedding Singer”, “High School High”, “Small Time Crooks” and “Rat Race”. He has worked with some of the best comedy directors, including Penny Marshall, Rob Reiner, Jerry Zucker and the man who influenced Jon to be a comedian in the first place(when Jon was 13), Woody Allen. He has also worked with such filmmakers as Todd Solonz (in “Happiness”) and Richard Kelly (in “Southland Tales”).
Jon has become well known for his distinctive voice. He was the lead voice of the character “Jay Sherman” in the acclaimed cult cartoon series, “The Critic” and has done voice overs for many other animated features (“American Tale: Fievel Goes West”, “Cats and Dogs”, “Eight Crazy Nights”, etc.) He has also worked on “The
Simpsons” many times, including creating the character of Marge Simpson’s boyfriend, “Artie Ziff” (which sounds suspiciously like Jay Sherman).
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 has sung (yes, he can sing!) at Carnegie Hall three times (including “Great Performances: Ira Gershwin at 100: A Celebration at Carnegie Hall) and sung the National Anthem at Dodger Stadium and the U.S. Open. And he sung with the English rock star, Robbie Williams at the Royal Albert Hall and appears on his album, “Swing while you’re Winning!”
He was the first famous guest star on the hit show “Friends” and guest starred on “Seinfeld” the same week. In 2005, he guest starred three times on the hit show “Las Vegas” in a recurring role. In 2006, he was offered (and accepted) a recurring role on the hit show “Two and a Half Men”, playing Charlie Sheen’s nemesis, Archie Baldwin. In 2014 Jon recurred on “New Girl” and “Hot in Cleveland.” He also has done 27 episodes on “Mr. Box Office.”
In 2004, he pursued his dream of becoming a stand up comedian. He is one of the few performers to start as an actor and then become a stand up and is now successfully headlining in nightclubs, theatres and casinos across the United States, Çanada and recently, Dubai. (a BIG THANK YOU TO DANA CARVEY!!!)
“I’ve had a great career. I’ve been very fortunate and I would be remiss not to give credit to my great teachers, Ashley Carr, Robert Cohen, Stuart Duckworth, Bill Needles, Tony Barr, Warren Robertson, Randy Bennett and Phyliss Katz.”
In 2006, he appeared in four feature films: Mel Brook’s “The Producers: The Musical”, Adam Sandler’s “The Benchwarmers”, Richard Kelly’s “Southland Tales” and Amy Heckerling’s “I Could Be Your Woman” ( where he plays Michelle Pfiefer’s ex-husband… and Jon left her, just so you know!)
In June of 2009, he starred opposite Kevin Spacey in the movie, “Casino Jack”, directed by George Hickenlooper. It will be released in the fall of 2010.
Also in June of 2009, he opened his own comedy club, aptly named the “Jon Lovitz Comedy Club” at Universal City Walk, in Los Angeles. Headliners at the club have already included Dana Carvey, Carlos Mencia, Gabriel Iglesias, the Legendary Guitarist Dick Dale and in the near future, Russell Peters (who is currently the biggest stand up comedian in the world) and David Spade. The club has a Hawaiian theme, complete with a set by top set designer, Bruce Ryan and paintings by the internationally famous Hawaiian artist, Wyland.