For people of a certain age, the Saturday Night Live era from 1990 through the turn-of-the-century is the best era. This was when Dana Carvey and Will Ferrell reigned supreme. And yes, this was the time that Adam Sandler‘s unique brand of dad humor was born, too. But, in that era, perhaps the greatest SNL actor of them all was The Ladies Man himself, Tim Meadows.
If you’re someone who grew up with ’90s SNL, you may have forgotten how much you’ve benefited from Meadows’ brand of humor. He’s both fantastic at over-the-top impressions but equally good at playing everyman characters who can anchor a sketch. Any new Adam Sandler movie without Tim Meadows would feel incomplete, in the same way that the ’90s would have sucked without him.
This October, Meadows appears in the new Netflix comedy, Hubie Halloween, a ridiculous over-the-top comedy starring Adam Sandler. Produced by Sandler’s Happy Madison production company, Hubie Halloween recalls an era of absurd SNL-ish movies; the kind of movies that don’t need to be smart or relevant to be good. And right now, Tim Meadows says a movie like this is exactly the brain medicine we all might need.
Fatherly caught up with the comedian to discuss his role in the film, acting with Maya Rudolph, and why his own son made him change his mind about the upcoming election.
I love seeing you in Hubie Halloween. This felt like another kind of SNL reunion movie. How did you feel about that? Would you call it an SNL reunion movie?
I don’t know if I would say SNL reunion movie as much as it was a Happy Madison reunion movie. Because there’s a lot of the actors that have been in other films that Adam has done. A lot of us did the movie Grownups, and we did some other movies with Adam. So yeah, I mean, I kind of feel like this is more of Adam Sandler Happy Madison reunion than SNL.
Does Sandler give you a lot of leeway with these kinds of bits, or did he like tell you and Maya Rudolph exactly what he wanted?
Having Maya as my partner in those scenes made it a lot easier because I knew we could bounce ideas off each other and just do things while cameras were rolling. It’s weird because as I watched the movie, it was like watching the scripted and the improv stuff — they mixed together really well. Like all the stuff with the hands was something that we discovered while we were rehearsing, that when I laugh, it would make the hands move. And so when we were doing it in the scene, Maya started laughing at the hands, I started laughing because she was laughing. And then me laughing made the things go higher. So yeah, he gives us a lot of room. But the script that we start with is already pretty set.
What’s quarantine been like for you and your family?
Well, the biggest challenge for me has been trying to be creative and trying to find some way to satisfy that part of my life. When this all started happening for me, I said, I was gonna learn something new, I wasn’t gonna let this time pass without having achieved something. I started doing yoga and meditating. And I actually kept a daily diary. Every day in this little calendar, I marked what I did and what movies I watched or what activity I did to like, take up my day.
But then you know, now it’s been six months or whatever. I’ve done yoga, almost every day. I’ve meditated almost every day. I feel like it’s been a nice tool for me to have in my life. But it’s also helped me make it through this very difficult time that we’re all going through. And I tell all my friend that’s what I’m doing. I highly suggest you do it. I highly suggest you meditate.
Have you attended any protests?
Yeah, I did in Chicago. I went out a couple of times with my kids. My son — who is 19 — he was going to a lot of them in Chicago. I wanted to go to show support and just to set an example for him too. I went out one other time and just handed out water as the people were walking by, but nobody like noticed it was me or anything.
Nobody was like, “The Ladies Man handed me water at the protest?”
Ha. No. They were happy to get the water.
Do you and your kids talk about politics a lot?
With my oldest, yes. Because he’s very much into politics and social issues. He wants to be a lawyer. And he’s interested in politics a little bit. But yeah, we do talk about stuff. He’s very opinionated. We don’t always agree sometimes, and I have to accept his point of view. I don’t try to convince him or win him over to my things that we disagree about. I love that he has his own opinion, you know, and he believes in what he believes.
Did you ever dread being a dad with teenagers who had strong political opinions?
Well, I didn’t dread it. But, I never expected it. I mean, for one thing, when I was younger I didn’t expect to have kids. But then I got married and had kids. And I was glad it happened.
And now that it has happened, I’m proud of him. And there’s been times when [my son] has made me rethink some things. We had this conversation where we were talking about the election coming up. And I said, you know, I’m sort of toying with the idea of voting by mail and then leaving the country until the end of January and February. And then I told him: “I’d like for you guys to come, you know, you and your brother, you know, and your mom too. What do you think about that?” And he said, “No, I want to stay here. I want to fight. I want to fight for our country.” And I was just like, “Yeah, you’re right.”
Because I want to fight for our democracy, too. You know what I mean, by that — not literally get in a fight — but, you know, it’s like, he wants to be here for like, whatever’s gonna happen. And, and so I was like, you know, what, that’s changed my mind. And the thing is amazing. That’s my baby. You know, he was my baby.
Why do we need to lose ourselves in comedy right now?
I think this stuff — comedy movies or whatever — serves us the same way that yoga or meditation serves me. And I think that a movie like this does add to all that. Like if — for an hour, 90 minutes you forget about this stuff is happening and you get a moment to sort of just laugh and have fun — I think it’s important, just as much as , I believe political humor is important. I see stuff like Colbert and The Daily Show and I think what those guys are doing is important. But I think this stuff is important, too. People need an escape.
Hubie Halloween featuring Tim Meadows and his hilarious hands is, streaming now on Netflix.