Actor Tim Meadows admits he’s not the biggest star in Hollywood, but he’s had some of the most memorable performances in television shows and movies over the past 20 years. The 56-year-old shined as The Ladies Man on “Saturday Night Live” and Mr. Duvall from “Mean Girls.” Meadows stars in CBS All Access’s first original comedy called “No Activity.” The show is being executive produced by Adam McKay and Will Ferrell and tells the story of the mundane in what should be a high stakes sting operation. The program premiered earlier this month and features cameos this season from Ferrell, J.K. Simmons and Jason Mantzoukas.
Meadows spoke with CBS Local’s DJ Sixsmith about “No Activity,” why he loves working with Ferrell and how this comedy will be different from other shows on television.
DJ Sixsmith: “No Activity” is CBS All Access’s first original comedy. Why did you want to get involved with this project?
Tim Meadows: I love working first of all. They sent me the pilot of the show and I just thought it was really funny. I just wanted to be a part of it.
DS: You play Detective Judd Tolbeck. How would you describe him?
TM: Tolbeck is a veteran police officer and he doesn’t like to cause any trouble. I just think he wants to retire. He’s proud of the fact that he hasn’t fired his gun in the entire time he’s been a policeman. He thinks that he’s in a wonderful marriage and a great relationship and he thinks that he should be able to give advice to his friends and his partner. You find out as the show goes on that the relationship that he’s in is not that great and it’s a little bit weird. I try to make all of my characters different.
DS: This show features Will Ferrell and Adam McKay as executive producers. You go way back with those guys to your days on Saturday Night Live. What do you remember about working with Ferrell and McKay on SNL?
TM: Will has always been one of my favorite performers. He is one of my favorite people to work with. We would do scenes together and try to make each other break and laugh. It was always fun doing scenes with him because he would get this look in his eyes and you knew what was coming. McKay I’ve known since Second City, he’s from Chicago. He’s one of the best improvisers I’ve ever worked with. He’s always really quick and very smart.
DS: You were at SNL during an incredible time in the 1990’s with guys like Adam Sandler, Mike Myers, Chris Farley and Dana Carvey. What stands out to you the most about that time in your career?
TM: The thing I enjoyed the most was rewrite meetings on Thursdays. I looked forward to it and I looked forward to helping other writers on the show make their sketches better. I looked forward to hanging out with 12 to 15 of the funniest people in the country.
DS: You’ve made a lot of different cameos on shows this year. What were some of your favorite experiences?
TM: They were all enjoyable. I really enjoyed doing “Brooklyn Nine-Nine,” this year because I love Andy Samberg and I love working with him. He’s funny and creative and he’s a nice guy. I love doing “The Goldbergs” because it is a great set to go work on. Everyone on the show is super nice and it is very relaxed. I did an episode of “Man With A Plan” on CBS with Matt LeBlanc, I’m going to do that some more. It’s the same thing, a veteran comedic actor who runs a very relaxed set.
DS: What’s it like to be identified as The Ladies Man from SNL by one generation and Mr. Duvall in “Mean Girls” by another generation?
TM: It’s always surprising. I’m always very touched when people appreciate the work. I’m not a big star, I’m just a comedic actor who’s been in a lot of different things. When people recognize me or tell me they appreciate something that I’ve done, it’s nice. It means that I stood out in a big project and made an impact on them.
DS: Finally, what do you hope people think about “No Activity” on CBS All Access?
TM: I hope people will watch and appreciate the fact that it’s a different type of comedy. When I started doing improv, we would do harolds, which is long form improv. It took a while for people to understand what the harold was because it wasn’t just a joke-fest sketch. It developed and took time and build. You always appreciated a good harold at the end of it because it would all come together and make sense. I think it’s the same thing with “No Activity.” You have to be patient and give the show a little bit of time and get used to the rhythm of the comedy. After that, I think you’ll really like it!
Catch the next episode of “No Activity” Sunday, November 26 on CBS All Access.