"Better Call Saul" star Michael McKean on his Long Island roots and Spinal Tap's future
Over the past 40 years, Michael McKean has been part of an unbelievable number of hit films and television shows. His first big break was as Lenny on Laverne & Shirley, who had also appeared on Happy Days. Just a few years later, McKean starred in the film This Is Spinal Tap, which he had co-written the script and music for. Between then and his run on Saturday Night Live, McKean appeared in Clue, Planes, Train & Automobiles, and Short Circuit 2. Nowadays, McKean seems to be best known for his portrayal of Chuck McGill on Better Call Saul. But as busy as McKean has been with film and TV projects, he has been part of a theatrical production almost every year since 2004.
When attended the gala of the non-profit Little Kids Rock at the Playstation Theater -- McKean served as host of the October event, which raised $1.3 million -- I had the pleasure of speaking to the Sea Cliff native. Thankfully he entertained a few questions about Long Island within our chat, in which he was more than gracious. Michael McKean can be followed on Twitter via @MJMcKean.
Is there anything at all you miss about living on Long Island?
Michael McKean: I love Long Island. I grew in a little town called Sea Cliff. I'm going there tomorrow because they're selling the house I grew up in and I need to get a couple of banker's boxes and be very selective. There's a big pile of stuff, going back to when I was seven, I've gotta weed through that. My nephew and I are going to work on that tomorrow.
You're not the first famous person to come from Sea Cliff. Are you aware of that?
Michael McKean: Who else?
The guitarist from Sonic Youth, Lee Ranaldo...
Michael McKean: No way.
Kate McKinnon from Saturday Night Live.
Michael McKean: She's from Sea Cliff? I thought she went to North Shore [High School].
If you believe Wikipedia, she's from Sea Cliff.
Michael McKean: That's cool. I saw her one time at the Emmys really briefly a couple of years ago, and I just said, "Go Vikings!" She was very cool, she got it. I think she's brilliant. Also a California Supreme Court Justice, Rose Bird. She was very anti-death penalty and she got voted out of office because people were bloodthirsty.
Yikes. Aside from that, is there any chance that we will see more recorded output from Spinal Tap?
Michael McKean: I would doubt it. But I will plug Derek Smalls' album, with some huge guest stars. One tune that I wrote with Harry [Shearer] and the rest was all Harry's stuff. C.J. Vanston, who was our keyboardist, he worked on it with Harry and it's gonna be amazing. That's something to look forward to.