Kevin Pollak talks stand up, poker, Twitter, and Breaking Bad.
You’ve seen this guy before, but maybe you can’t quite place where. Was it in a movie, on a comedy special, in Vegas at a poker table, on the Internet, or maybe creeping out around the women’s restroom? You could’ve seen him in all of those places (especially the creepy one) because he’s Kevin Pollak, a jack-of-all-trades. Pollak has starred in movies (The Usual Suspects, A Few Good Men), had his own stand-up comedy shows (The Littlest Suspect), played in World Series of Poker tournaments on ESPN and hosted his own Internet talk show, creatively titled Kevin Pollak’s Chat Show. Pollak recently finished his first book, How I Slept My Way to the Middle: Secrets and Stories from Stage, Screen and Interwebs. It hit shelves this November, albeit with a cover that is slightly different than the original design (Pollak thought the first cover made him look “like a gay Asian,” apparently). Although he’s all over the place, there’s still a lot you probably wouldn’t guess about Pollak.
Doing stand-up is like playing doctor.
“I learned pretty early on you have about a minute to relax the audience’s sphincter. At first, they’re wondering, ‘Does this guy know what the fuck he’s doing?’ So I try to come onstage and relieve that question in the first ten seconds.”
His backstage rider has changed over the years.
“For years I requested things like vodka, the makings of a martini, bottles of water and menus from steak joints. I found out they are going to fuck this stuff up anyway. Now my backstage rider asks for guys with no shirts and girls with no pants. It’s all pretty standard.”
He tried to get the future host of the Oscars drunk on his Internet show.
“I found out Seth Macfarlane liked Jack Daniels, so I got a bottle. He drank half of it while we talked. It was fucking awesome.”
Photo: Gramercy Pictures / Everett Collection | Licensed to Alpha Media Group 2012
He’s got some strong opinions about Breaking Bad.
“They have a tradition of killing the bad guy at the end of every season and Vince Gilligan has gone way out of his way to make Walter White the villain. If I’m going to stick with this theory, Walter White has got to go. I think his brother-in-law catches up to him and forces him into a shootout or he goes out in a hail of bullets. The show’s brilliant beyond belief.”
Twitter’s mascot is his bluebird of happiness.
“I’ve had some great success and fun on Twitter and actually launched my chat show on there. I’ve seen the power of real time communication between fans and celebrities - it’s pretty cool shit. I’m also on there because I’m a narcissist and I clearly need the attention of total strangers.”
Facebook? Not so much.
“I don’t spend too much time on Facebook because my friends are stupid and dicks and take shitty photos. Also I don’t have anyone to stalk and I didn’t really enjoy high school all that much.”
Playing poker runs in his family.
I got into poker at the age of ten because my cousin would come home from playing with his friends, and he’d not only taken their money but their possessions as well. I was more than curious how the hell he was doing it.
Photo: Jason LaVeris / FilmMagic | Licensed to Alpha Media Group 2012
His beat at the 2012 World Series of Poker (finished 134th) was a bad one.
“I had pocket queens and my opponent had pocket queens. The board came out and four of the five cards were hearts. He had the queen of hearts and got a flush. It was the perfect way to go out because everyone instantly felt bad for me. You can’t lose with queens against queens. Even Hitler would say that’s a bad beat.”
A true gambler, he doesn’t always muck two – seven.
“I learned by playing with some pros early on that you play your position and your opponent much more than your actual cards, you have to. If you just wait for good cards, you’ll never play any hands.”
During the course of the interview, we went heads up in Texas Hold’em using the new Hollywood Poker app from Plaor. Suffice to say, Pollak won big. Pollak is currently involved with the Hollywood Poker Celebrity Shootout, the biggest celebrity poker event ever, in which the winner gets a trip to Hollywood to attend a star-studded celebrity party.
Take me to the entertainment section.
Take me to the hot girls.