CUYAHOGA FALLS — Fans of Kenny Bania on "Seinfeld" will want to visit the Funny Stop Comedy Club this weekend.
Steve Hytner will be making his debut appearance at 7:30 and 9:30 p.m. Friday and at 7:30 and 9:30 p.m. Saturday at the Funny Stop Comedy Club, 1757 State Road. Hytner headlines comedy clubs nationally and has appeared on television and in movies.
Hytner received critical acclaim for his portrayal of Kenny Bania on the long running hit "Seinfeld." His other works include "Modern Family," "Hung," "Mike and Molly," "Two and a Half Men," "Curb your Enthusiasm" and many more.
He started his feature career in the film "Ski Patrol" and went on to co-star in such films as "In the Line of Fire" with Clint Eastwood, "Forces of Nature" with Ben Affleck and Sandra Bullock, and "The Marrying Man" with Alec Baldwin, to name a few.
Hytner, 58, was born in Brooklyn, New York and grew up on Long Island and now lives in the Reno-Tahoe area, but he spent 25 years in Los Angeles to build his career.
"I enjoy the fact that I’m challenging myself as an artist and enjoying myself," Hytner said. "At some point I’ll pack it in, but not anytime soon."
Hytner wanted to be an actor, and at the age of 18 began studying with top teachers in Manhattan.
"I waited tables for seven to eight years," Hytner said. "Some acting work came in but stand-up allowed me to give up waiting on tables."
When he went out to LA, he gave up stand-up and has returned to it only recently. Stand-up comedy, which he does one or two times a month all over the country, allows him to spend more time with his 12-year-old son, Jack. In addition, he has a radio feature, "Please Don’t Hit Send," in which he makes fun of celebrity tweets.
"Going back to stand-up has been a pleasure and a challenge," Hytner said. "Stand-up has its own life, like a gladiator existence. It feels more artistic to me."
Acting and stand-up are very different art forms, he said. Acting is collaborative with other actors, directors, set designers and costumer makers.
"But in stand-up, it’s all you, baby," Hytner said. "You pull whatever you can out of your magic bag."
Hytner’s road to acting began when he was a member of the high school bowling team.
"I had a friend one year older than me in a play in high school, and everyone said he was hilarious," Hytner said. "And I said ‘I’m funnier than him.’"
No girls were following Hytner on the school bowling team so he tried acting. In Manhattan he was able to be on the stage for stand-up, but he wanted to act so he moved to LA. He dropped stand-up for 20 years and focused on acting, which was successful.
"It was rocking and rolling," Hytner said. "But when I got to this point in my life, stand-up would give me more time with my son, and I fell in love with it."
Actor Jack Lemmon was a big influence on Hytner. When he was auditioning for "The Marrying Man" by Neil Simon, Simon chose him because Hytner reminded him of Jack Lemmon.
"I don’t think you can get a better compliment than that," Hytner said.
His comedy act is made of bits true to him and what the audience can relate to. Hytner sometimes breaks the fourth wall and involves the audience in the subject matter.
Hytner tells those who want to break into stand-up or acting, to "jump into the pool" and don’t pick and choose.
"Interview the business as much as they interview you," Hytner said. "Figure out if it’s the pool you want to be in. Do you want to do the stuff to be successful?"
The entertainment business has changed, Hytner said. In the past an actor hired an agent and went on auditions. Now entertainers need content with ideas and a social media presence with followers.
To learn more about Steve Hytner, visit his website at SteveHytner.com.
For tickets to the Funny Stop show, call the box office at 330-923-4700.
Reporter Laura Freeman can be reached at 330-541-9434 or email@example.com