TARRYTOWN, N.Y. -- Tarrytown's Kevin Meaney, a comedy star on his own sitcom "Uncle Buck" in the early 1990s and numerous appearances on "The Tonight Show" with Johnny Carson and Jay Leno and "Late Night With David Letterman," will be back home in Westchester at the Empire Casino in Yonkers on Wednesday, March 12.
Meaney, one of comedy's popular and familiar faces over the past 20 years known for his "that's not right" and "we're big pants people," and self-depreciating weight jokes, has dropped an astounding 70 pounds recently. But he is in his best comedy shape.
“I had a great childhood (in Westchester)," Meaney said. "I started working at 14 in Knollwood Country Club (Elmsford), working and growing up in front of celebrities. That is what fascinated me towards show biz."
Meaney will appear at the Casino’s Good Time Room, headlining with comedian Buddy Fitzpatrick, while Moody McCarthy will be emcee for the show.
Meaney said Johnny Carson's departure to Los Angeles with the Tonight Show in 1972 inspired a life-changing moment for the comedian.
"After Johnny Carson left from New York to Los Angeles, I was very upset," Meaney said. "I wrote a letter to him saying that I was the best pot washer on the East Coast and would challenge his pot washer on the West Coast. Fast forward 20 years and I was telling him this story during a break when I was on his show.”
Meaney said a professor in college was his inspiration.
"He told me that I had talent and there was something special about me. It was the incentive to keep me going and pursue this," Meaney said. “You have to constantly reinvent yourself. At one point I left stand-up and spent five years on Broadway for five years doing "Hairspray", but it was a good getaway from stand-up. It was good because afterwards I could go back.”
As for losing the weight, Meaney says he found a perfect exercise to help him sustain the lifestyle change.
"You have to find an exercise that you like to do. I like to swim," he said. "Since last April, I have been swimming every day. This coming April will mark one year of swimming every day. You have to lose weight for yourself. If I didn't want to do it, then I wouldn't have.”
And a hint for youngsters like himself who want to pursue a career in comedy: “Get on stage as much as you can," he said. "Go be an emcee because you can be on stage 10 times instead of one. Go to open mic nights."
Doors will open at 7 p.m., while performances get underway at 8 p.m. Admission is $5 for Empire Club members and $15 for all non-members; a free drink ticket will be given to all patrons.