When one door closes, another one opens. That saying can be applied to stand-up comedian, actor, and writer Steve Rannazzisi. Over the last 7 years, he’s portrayed Kevin, the first one of the group on The League to get married and have a kid. And unfortunately, that character is coming to an end along with the show that is now about to launch its final season. Not a bad run. 7 seasons for any show is fantastic. And we wish we could get more. But the pedigree of talent on the show has outgrown its roots. Reading the names that star in the show now versus when it first started is quite phenomenal and that includes our guest Steve Rannazzisi. Now back to the door closed / open analogy. Rannazzisi has a new special coming to Comedy Central later this month, is currently starring in a series of Buffalo Wild Wings commercials and he’s also been recruited for the next installment of the Fox hit New Girl. So I guess that’s three doors. I recently caught up with the comedian to discuss the final season, his new special Breaking Dad, and what he’s going to miss the most about the show.
It must be bitter sweet for you and your project The League right now, where you’ve played Kevin for seven seasons. What’s the vibe, knowing that the end is coming, but you’re still working on it?
You nailed it. Bittersweet is the best way to describe it because we are having a blast. We are having a really good time shooting this here, making each other laugh a lot, and the stories are really funny. So it’s bitter in the sense that we’re not going to get to do that again with the same people or the same vibe, but it’s sweetness because everyone’s really busy. We love being these guys, but it’s tough getting everyone together. It’s been really great run of seven years. Let’s end it the right way. That’s the sweet part.
When did you realize that this show was a success? When did you realize publicly that you really hit a chord with pop culture, and what’s going on in people’s lives?
Season 3 we went to Dallas to do a League live show. We were guests with Jerry Jones at the Cowboys/Giants game, and we went out to a bar after our show. It was amazing because it was right around Halloween, and there was a costume party. All six of us we’re hanging out at the bar. We were watching a karaoke and costume contest in the back. We were watching people come up and all of a sudden a dude walks up dress up as one of The League characters and everyone just turns and looks at us, then looked back at that dude. It was the most beautiful and magical thing. People we’re going crazy. They were going nuts. And I was like “oh man, somebody bought a costume of something that we put on television.” Then I realized this was a very popular thing now.
Yeah that’s amazing. You guys have definitely infiltrated pop culture. Lines and terms from the show that you guys use will be famously used forever. You’re basically responsible for this generations Who You Gonna Call?
I guess. The scary part is when people come over to us and are like “Hey, we’re just like you. You’re league is just like our league. You and Jenny are just like us.” I’m like, “We’re horrible f*cks.” “We’re bad people.” “You should not be acting the way we act at all. You’re going to go to jail.” So how much influence you have over people is crazy.
This is kind of a cheesy question, but I like asking because every once in a while you get a great story. Do you remember signing your first autograph and was that something that you had practiced until you actually got to do it?
I don’t remember my first one, but I remember in the beginning around Mall Cop time, people we’re like “wait a minute, I think I know that guy. Can I have your autograph?” I remember signing napkins. Like “To Marie, Happy Birthday” on a cocktail napkin, and I’m a lefty trying to do it in pen. Have you ever tried to write on a cocktail napkin in pen? I’m smearing the whole thing. No one knows what’s going on. So yeah, my first couple were disasters.
When you decided to move to LA and do comedy for the rest of your life, did you think for a moment you would wind up with a gold bust of your head in statue form? And how long did it take to decide what kind of haircut you were going to have when they made that mold for the final season of The League?
First of all, when they put the paint all over our faces to make the mold, it was disgusting. I remember it was end of the day and I had been rolling and jumping up and down. I remember my hair was kind of crappy and I was like “this is not going to look good.” Then when I saw it, I was like “Oh my god, this looks horrendous.” And there’s nothing I can do about it now. They’re out there. But yes, I had no idea when I moved to LA that one day I would have a bust made of my big head. I’m sure mine weighs the most if we put them all on a scale.