Part of Los Angeles radio comedy group The Credibility Gap, which produced comedy shows and albums from the late 1960s into the mid-'70s. Other members included Harry Shearer
, David L. Lander
and the late Richard Beebe
. They even appeared in nightclubs and on television. They did an episode of the "National Lampoon Radio Hour." Also, their voices were heard in an educational film titled "Statistics At A Glance." The surviving members have even reunited twice. One of those times was at the US Comedy Arts Festival in Aspen, Colorado.
1998: Hosted a "Laverne & Shirley"
(1976) marathon with David L. Lander
1996: TV commercial
for IBM, as David St. Hubbins.
2003: With David L. Lander
, a theatrical PSA for multiple sclerosis.
2004: Played Edna Turnblad in the Tony-winning Broadway
musical "Hairspray." The role was originated by Harvey Fierstein
in late 2002. The show was reviewed again by the critics after McKean took over for Fierstein. Michael even appeared with his fellow "Hairspray" cast members as part of a cabaret event at Joe's Pub in New York City before the end of his run as Edna. His "Hairspray" stint was his Broadway
2001: Host of audio commentary track for Little Nicky
2004: TV commercial
for Sierra Mist Free with Fred Willard
11/04: Plays Phil Wellman in "A Second Hand Memory" written and directed by Woody Allen
(Atlantic Theater Company, New York City).
5/24/05-6/4/05: Performed cabaret act "No Standards" with wife Annette O'Toole
and stepdaughter Nell Geisslinger
at the Feinstein's At the Regency nightclub in New York City.
8/05: Appeared as Zangler in the Tom Stoppard
play, "On the Razzle," at the Williamstown Theatre Festival, Williamstown, MA.
2/06: Plays Vernon Hines in the hit Broadway
musical revival of "The Pajama Game" by Richard Adler
, Jerry Ross
, George Abbott
and Richard Bissell
(American Airlines Theater, New York City).
Late 1970s: Was a music coordinator for "Laverne & Shirley"
(1976) Sing, an album that featured Penny Marshall
and Cindy Williams
singing. He even wrote two of the cuts on that LP. The two songs were titled "Oh Gee" and "Five Years On."
His singing and musicianship can be heard on the soundtracks for This Is Spinal Tap
(1984), The Producers
(2005), A Mighty Wind
(2003) and Light of Day
(1987). He plays the role of Hines, which is part of the new cast recording of "The Pajama Game" on the "Harry On Broadway
" two-CD set. He even recorded "Break Like The Wind," a new Spinal Tap
recording. When the heavy metal band went on tour in 2001, they released "Back From The Dead," a new song on the Internet. For Live Earth
(2007) (TV) and a short film directed by Rob Reiner
which features the band members and Reiner himself, the group wrote "Warmer Than Hell."
1985: McKean and Harry Shearer
, as their Spinal Tap
characters of David St. Hubbins and Derek Smalls, participated with other heavy metal stars as part of "Hear-N-Aid," a "We Are The World" recording session.
McKean and Harry Shearer
did a Spinal Tap
interview for "Live'N'Loud," a local cable access show in Dallas that focused on heavy metal bands.
His voice can be heard on audio books such as the novelization of The Paper
(1994), "Green Eggs And Ham," "Where The Truth Lies" and the first two volumes of R.L. Stine
's "Rotten School" series.
12/06: Plays Harry in the European premiere of John Kolvenbach's romantic comedy "Love Song" at the New Ambassadors Theatre in London's West End.
He has participated in charity events on behalf of such causes as Multiple Sclerosis, Myeloma, Autism, The Actors Fund, Planned Parenthood, New York's Second Stage Theatre, New York's MCC Theatre, The Children's Aid Society, Lou Gehrig
's Disease, National Corporate Theatre Fund, the Los Angeles AIDS Walk, Wendy Wasserstein
's Open Doors program, animal welfare and Broadway
Cares: Equity Fights AIDS by himself and with wife Annette O'Toole
and stepdaughter Nell Geisslinger
Has written jingles for TV commercial
s. He sang one of them in the style of Leon Russell
. It was for blue jeans.
(2013) He is the only one to win both "Celebrity Jeopardy" and "Celebrity Rock & Roll Jeopardy." He even has appeared as a clue giver on both versions.
2001: Wrote the introduction for This Is Spinal Tap
(1984): The Official Companion.TV commercial
(voiceover) for Magnavox.
Played several roles in "J. Edgar!," an original musical about the late FBI director J. Edgar Hoover
, written by Harry Shearer
and Tom Leopold
for National Public Radio Station KCRW in Santa Monica back in 1995. Later he performed in a staged reading of the play at the Aspen Opera House as part of the U.S. Comedy Arts Festival back in 2003. Annette O'Toole
, McKean's wife, was in the stage version also.
Can be seen on an Easter Egg on the DVD release of The Spirit of '76
(1990), a comedy directed by Lucas Reiner
. It's a clip from a TV special about the '70s. Originally, McKean was supposed to be in the film himself.
He was hired to do the voice of Mr. Bradley in "Doomsday," a UPN animated series about a family coping with the aftermath of a nuclear holocaust. The show, produced by Howard Stern
and created by Tracy Tormé
, never saw the light of day because they could not get good writers.
1970s: He was part of the Pitchell Players, a Los Angeles-based comedy improvisational group.
1990: Was a recipient of a Theatre World Award
for making his Broadway debut
in "Accomplice," which originated at the Pasadena Playhouse during the previous year. The comedy thriller had a short run in New York.
May 24, 2005: Was a guest programmer for Turner Classic Movies that night. Along with Robert Osborne
, film critic and TCM host, he presented four of his favorite films: Paths of Glory
(1957), North by Northwest
(1959), The Miracle of Morgan's Creek
(1944) and Seven Brides for Seven Brothers
Attended Carnegie-Mellon with David L. Lander
, where they created the Lenny and Squiggy characters. Both Michael and David have made appearances as themselves and their characters on award
s shows as well as doing charity benefits. One of those benefits was for California's Cabrillo Music Theatre. The twosome emceed a concert headlined by Polly Bergen
, Lander's mother-in-law. It raised money for the theatre. As far as award
shows are concerned, McKean and Lander did the Eddies which celebrates the best editing of movies and TV shows. That same night the comic duo and others saluted Garry Marshall
for his contributions to entertainment.Annette O'Toole
and him have written songs with Michael O'Keefe
, an actor and good friend of theirs. If you go to www.michaelokeefe.com, you can click the "Lyrics" link. You can read the words to "Emmeline" and "Looking For the Medicine." Also, you can download the McKeans singing these original works.
5/23/05: Annette O'Toole
and him did a celebrity roast of actor Fisher Stevens
. He was the roastmaster; she was one of the participants. The roast raised money for Naked Angels, a New York theater group that Stevens founded.
Can be heard as David St. Hubbins at the beginning and the end of "Little Worlds," a 2003 CD that featured Bela Fleck
and The Flecktones
He did promos in character for ESPN. The first one featured him as David St. Hubbins explaining how he wrote the theme for "SportsCenter"
(1979). The remaining ones had him playing the Queen of England talking about British soccer. He kept the dress that he wore. Christopher Guest
directed those spots.
He was a member of The Left Banke
, the 1960s musical group, for a while.
2001: Live broadcast for QVC. It was done in connection with the MusiCares charity dinner and concert that paid tribute to singer/songwriter Paul Simon
. McKean interviewed such artists as Stevie Wonder
and The Dixie Hummingbirds
. This was done prior to the Grammy Award
s. He even hosted MusiCares along with Steve Martin
and Chevy Chase
. The event raised funds to benefit the health and welfare of musicians.
Began singing with Annette O'Toole
before they were married. The couple have performed twice at The Hotel Cafe in Los Angeles as well as parties in their home and other events. Those other events have included the 2004 edition of "Miscast" to raise funds for New York's MCC Theater, Standing Ovations 2
(2004) (V) at Joe's Pub in New York City, an after hours cabaret hosted by Kelsey Grammer
during the 2003 US Comedy Arts Festival in Aspen, the 8th Annual Art Directors Guild Award
s held in Beverly Hills in 2004 and a Los Angeles school event that emphasized the importance of music education. The McKeans even performed at a English nightclub with Harry Shearer
and Judith Owen
after their Live Earth
(2007) (TV) appearance the same day.Christopher Guest
and him were part of a backup choir on "Play," a 1991 CD by Squeeze
, a British pop music group.
2000: Appeared on a Comedy Central behind-the-scenes special that was done in connection with the Friars Club Roast of Rob Reiner
in New York City.
4/05 and 6/05: Performed with Harry Shearer
and Christopher Guest
out of character for acoustic gigs at New York City's Museum Of Modern Art and the Newport Blues Cafe. Wife Annette O'Toole
joined him onstage for the latter. The first gig was part of a discussion/tribute to Guest that was part of a two-week event dedicated to his work. The latter was part of a discussion/question and answer session on the day Michael received his lifetime achievement award
from the Newport International Film Festival.
1995: Appeared on "E! Features" and "Q and E!," two E! Entertainment Television shows.
1999: Appeared as a guest on the WTBS cable network's "Movie Lounge." The show had a "Politically Incorrect"
Attended New York University with Christopher Guest
. Began writing songs with Guest. Guest and McKean were part of "Our Lady of Food and Maritime," a psychedelic rock and roll band, while they lived in Greenwich Village. The band was named after two churches.
The 2006 Independent Spirit Award
s Nominations Show on the Independent Film Channel had a brief archive clip of Michael performing the Kinsey
(2004) number with Annette O'Toole
and Jane Lynch
2002: McKean wrote, directed and starred in the Independent Film Channel's Image Campaign titled "Independent Film: A Documentary." Ed Begley Jr.
, Bijou Phillips
and Annette, his actress-wife, were featured in one of the vignettes. These spots, along with audio commentary, were featured on the IFC site also.
Played Lionel Cheese, a celebrity interviewer, in "I'm On Your Side," an award
-winning country music video starring country music singer Kathy Mattea
1992: Christopher Guest
and himself appeared as Nigel Tufnel and David St. Hubbins on "AM Northwest"
(1976) a morning talk show in Portland, Oregon, in connection with an album signing.
1979: David L. Lander
and himself put out an album recorded as Lenny and The Squigtones on the Casablanca label. It was done live at the Roxy in Los Angeles. The twosome appeared on television and toured across the country to promote the release.
Can be seen in three bits on the "Harry Shearer
: Now You See It" DVD. One of the bits is a never seen sketch from NBC's short-lived "Sunday Best"
(1991) program. The bit is titled "Astounding Innovations." The others are "Pledge-A-Bration" from "Saturday Night Live"
(1975) and "The Making Of You Wouldn't Believe Our World" from David Letterman's Holiday Film Festival
Was interviewed by DIRECTV at the 2004 Independent Spirit Award
2001: Was featured, along with Noah Baumbach
, Kenneth Bowser
and Christopher Guest
, on the audio commentary track for the Criterion DVD release of Sullivan's Travels
Did two different audio commentaries with Harry Shearer
and Christopher Guest
for the Criterion and MGM releases of the This Is Spinal Tap
(1984) DVD. The first one was done as themselves; the second was done as Spinal Tap
Has appeared and performed at a number of universities in the United States. The most recent appearance was An Evening With Michael McKean
: Reality At Arm's Length, a one-man show at Zellerbach Hall, on the campus of the University of Berkeley in Berkeley, California. It happened on April 15, 2007 as part of Cal Performances "Strictly Speaking" series.
Has appeared as his Spinal Tap
and Folksmen characters as part of public and private events ranging from concert tours to charity benefits.
Has been a guest, panelist and moderator as a part of public events to discuss such subjects as politics, reality television and the projects that he has done for film, TV and the stage.
1992: Appeared as part of Spinal Tap
on "MTV Spring Break."
Was one of several comedians who filmed comments about classic comedians for a festival of comedy movies that was put together for Turner Classic Movies back in April of 2005.
July 1, 1992: Appeared with Spinal Tap
on Canada's Much Music channel. The band played three live performances that day.
Did an unsold HBO pilot with Harry Shearer
which featured a Bill Clinton
bit done in the style of virtual reality.
Wrote a script with Allen Rucker
and Harry Shearer
that took a comic approach to the history of television. It has never been produced.
9/03: Was interviewed along with Harry Shearer
and Christopher Guest
on the NY1 News channel in New York about the DVD release of A Mighty Wind
Wrote "Just No Pictures," a "First Person" piece for Broadway
.com. The article talked about what happened when George Bush
and Barbara Bush
decided to see a matinée performance of "Hairspray" during the Republican convention of 2004.
August 3-5 2007: Played Luther Billis opposite Reba McEntire
and Brian Stokes Mitchell
in "South Pacific In Concert" at the Hollywood Bowl. It was his first appearance at the venue since Fred Willard
, Annette O'Toole
and himself inducted Tom Smothers
and Dick Smothers
into the Bowl's Hall Of Fame in 2003. Also, he participated in a September 16, 1980 benefit at the Bowl to help members of the Screen Actors Guild affected by an actors strike. The money raised was put into the Guild's emergency fund.
Performs "Corn Wine," a song from a deleted scene in A Mighty Wind
(2003) on "Songs Pointed And Pointless," a new Harry Shearer
CD. McKean sings the song with Shearer and Christopher Guest
8/8/07: Performed with Annette O'Toole
and Harry Shearer
at the House Of Blues in Los Angeles.
Before playing Perry White on "Smallville"
(2001), he played the same character in a sketch on "Saturday Night Live"
October 26-27 1991: Mary Kay Place
and him read fairy tales from the stage of the Pasadena Playhouse. They were a part of a series of celebrities introducing children to the joy of reading.
Wrote liner notes for record albums under the pseudonym of David Morpheus.
1969: Participated in the Eugene O'Neill
National Playwrights Conference.
August 27, 2007: Headlined "Concert For A Cause" with Harry Shearer
and Christopher Guest
at the Avalon Hollywood nightclub. The event raised funds for the International Myeloma Foundation. Two of the special guests were Annette O'Toole
and Nell Geisslinger
, his stepdaughter. Michael and Annette are even members of a celebrity committee connected with the foundation.
October 15, 2007: Annette O'Toole
and him were two of the celebrity readers at the fifth annual Acts Of Love benefit at the Geffen Playhouse in Westwood, California. The event raised funds for Cure Autism Now and Autism Speaks. Word Theatre, a local literary salon in Los Angeles, produced the event.
Participated with Annette O'Toole
as part of the Global Vision for Peace event, Artists for the United Nations, on February 26 of 2004 in Los Angeles, California.
Along with actress-singer wife Annette O'Toole
, he contributed songs to the charity CDs Walt Disney
's "A World Of Happiness" and "Broadway
's Greatest Gifts: Carols For A Cure 2004." Their voices can be heard on these recordings. Also, the second song features cast members from his Broadway
stint as Edna Turnblad in "Hairspray".
November 25, 2007: Did a free run-through of the upcoming Broadway
revival of "The Homecoming" with his fellow cast members at Off-Broadway
's New World Stages. It benefited Broadway
Cares: Equity Fights AIDS.
December 4, 2007: Began playing the role of Sam in the first preview performance of the Broadway
revival of Harold Pinter
's "The Homecoming" at the Cort Theatre in New York City. Due to the recent stagehands strike, the play will open on December 16, 2007. It closes on April 13, 2008.
September 20, 2004: Played the role of Claude's Dad in The Actors Fund benefit performance of "Hair," the 1960s rock musical. It took place at the New Amsterdam Theatre on Broadway
. He raised money for the Fund again by appearing as a guest reader in "Celebrity Autobiography: In Their Own Words," a comedy show held at New York's Triad Theater on February 25th and March 17th of 2008. Did another edition of "Celebrity Autobiography" at Cobb's Comedy Club in San Francisco on January 19, 2009.
Appeared on a local access cable show in California talking about the influence that teachers have on their students.
February 14, 2008: He participated in the Valentine's Day edition of "Don't Quit Your Night Job," a late-night comedy sketch/improvisation/music revue that takes place every month at the Zipper Factory in New York. The event raises funds for Wendy Wasserstein
's Open Doors program which introduces high school students to the enjoyment of theater.
April 6, 2008: Special performance of "The Homecoming" for The Actors Fund.
Was one of the hosts of the 20th Annual Easter Bonnet Competition on Broadway
to raise funds for Broadway
Cares/Equity Fights AIDS in April of 2006.
Played with The Bangles
during one of their concerts.
April 14, 2008: Hosted the annual National Corporate Theatre Fund's Chairman's Award
s Gala with Jerry Herman
, Theresa Rebeck
and Phylicia Rashad
in New York.
Did a pilot with David L. Lander
for a "Laverne & Shirley"
(1976) spinoff which featured the Lenny and Squiggy characters joining the Army.
Was one of the people interviewed for "The Chris Farley
Show: A Biography in Three Acts," a new book about the late "Saturday Night Live"
2008: Plays Arthur, the owner of a rundown donut shop, in "Superior Donuts," a new play by Tracy Letts
. The play is running at Chicago's Steppenwolf Theatre from June 19 to August 24.
1968: First professional acting job at the Loeb Drama Center in Cambridge, Massachusetts.
August 4, 2008: Sang "Take Me Out To The Ball Game" during the seventh inning stretch during the Chicago Cubs/Houston Astros game at Wrigley Field in Chicago, Illinois as part of "70s Night."
He and Annette O'Toole
participated in Harry Shearer
and Judith Owen
's annual holiday sing-a-long at the Steve Allen
Theater in Los Angeles. The event was held on December 5th and 6th of 2008.
(2009) Has recorded a CD featuring classic and new material with Christopher Guest
and Harry Shearer
2009: "Unwigged & Unplugged," a six-week tour which features acoustic versions of classic and obscure musical material.
He and David L. Lander
are working on a possible animated TV series involving their Lenny and Squiggy characters.
(2009) Is reprising his role as Arthur in the Broadway
production of "Superior Donuts." The play begins previews on September 16. It opens at the Music Box Theater on October 1, 2009.
September 21, 2009: Participated in the 125th anniversary of Playbill Magazine event in New York.
September 13, 2009: Hosted the annual Broadway
event which features performances from Broadway
(October 15, 2009) Gave a talk about working in the theatre in New York's Union Square as part of Free Night of Theatre Day.
(December 7-8, 2009) Participated in the 2009 Gypsy of the Year competition that was held at the Palace Theatre in New York City.
(April 12, 2010) Participated in an all-star charity production of "Much Ado About Nothing" to raise funds for the Los Angeles-based Shakespeare Center.
revival of "Our Town."
One of many comedians that were interviewed for "Satiristas!," a book about satire. The book was put together by comedian Paul Provenza
and photographer Dan Dion.
(June 7-18 2010) One of a number of mentors for a student actor boot camp that is sponsored by the American Theatre Wing in New York City.
Has done public readings of new and classic film and play scripts. Did a reading of a recent work by Terrence McNally
to benefit a political group that promotes equality on October 4, 2010.
(June 8, 2010) Was a presenter at this year's Theatre World Award
s held in New York.
November 10, 2010-December 22, 2010: Will be performing in a new Randy Newman
musical at the Mark Taper Forum in Los Angeles.
May 9, 2011: Did a private reading of "Child's Play" by Robert Marasco
(October 18-November 20 2011) Stage play: King Lear - playing Earl of Gloucester at the Public Theater in New York.
(March 6 2012-May 20 2012) Stage play: The Best Man - playing Dick Jensen on Broadway
in New York.
(October 24 2011) Live performance at Mercury Lounge in New York - Musician
(November 17 2011) Live performance with some of the cast members of King Lear at Joe's Pub in New York - Actor/musician
(1999) Music video for "David Duchovny" by Bree Sharp
(2012) Was interviewed by Chris Willman
for a book about the best advice for actors to maintain a career in show business.
(November 2013) Announced that he will play the supporting role of J. Edgar Hoover
in the biographical drama "All the Way", set to open in New York City at Broadway
's Neil Simon Theater in March 2014. Written by Robert Schenkkan
and directed by Bill Rauch
, the play's cast includes Bryan Cranston
and Brandon J. Dirden
(June 2016) Turner Classic Movies (TCM) Spotlight on Stage to Screen - Co-host (with Annette O'Toole
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