Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.
Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.

Richard Kind gives Seth Meyers the key to a perfect Richard Kind impression

Seth Meyers, Richard Kind
Seth Meyers, Richard Kind
Screenshot: Late Night With Seth Meyers

Back in Mystery Science Theater 3000's Sci-Fi Channel days, then-host Mike Nelson and the ’bots once greeted the appearance onscreen of beloved character actor Richard Kind with an exhausted, “Here we go ...” And, sure, Kind was hamming it up as a bumbling wizard named Wamthool at the time, but the Satellite Of Love was being forced to sit through the turgid 1993 fantasy debacle Quest Of The Delta Knights, and at least Kind, as is his trouper’s way, was trying his damnedest to liven up the joint. That’s the sort of role you find when you dig into the IMDb page of a long-suffering, always in demand character guy like Kind. A Coen Brothers movie or a heart-destroyer of a voice acting gig here, an MST3k staple or the first feature directing credit of former Blink-182 frontman there.

Yes, Kind told Seth Meyers on Monday, he has grown his current “Mandy Patinkin fan club” grizzled beard in order to play a wilderness-hiding government scientist with secret UFO knowledge in the upcoming movie Monsters Of California, directed by none other than former skater, rocker, unwitting cake model, and longtime UFO enthusiast DeLonge. “You know, it was fun, it was hilarious,” assured Kind of his time under DeLonge’s enthusiastic direction, adding with a long-suffering actor’s resignation, “You never know if a movie’s gonna be seen.” Again, the guy’s got a long resumé.

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After some signature complaining about owning a pet menagerie in a New York City apartment, Kind and Meyers took a stroll through some of the Documentary Now! scene- and song-stealer’s past show biz experiences, including that time he and former SNL and SCTV star Robin Duke may or may not have been visited by a mischievous ghost while doing improv onstage at Second City. “Yes, but no,” Kind admitted when asked if he really thought that a perhaps critical specter was the one who did some backstage destruction of old improv performance tapes. Kind, currently (and actually) being seen alongside Maria Bamford on Everything’s Gonna Be Okay, among other places, also drew from some much older and more obscure acting experiences in order to give the curious Meyers the top secret pass-phrase for anyone struggling to find their perfect Richard Kind impression.

Noting that having legendary voice actors and impressionists like Dan Castellaneta and Hank Azaria as poker buddies means hearing his own distinctive cadence parroted back to him ad nauseam, Kind—who claims to be hopeless at doing a Richard Kind—gave Meyers the all-important vocal key. It comes in the form of a phrase only able to be uttered by an actor with a long and very specific backlog of roles on long-defunct, Michael Chiklis-starring network dramas, as Kind told the taking-notes Meyers, offering would-be impersonators all the necessary vowel sounds in one, never-t0-be-repeated excuse for missing poker night. Meyers reciprocated with his own in-kind Kind, recalling the two-word Kind-ism the Big Mouth star once uttered after bombing particularly hard at an awards show, showing how we’ve all got a little Richard Kind lurking inside us, somewhere.

Contributor, The A.V. Club. Danny Peary's Cult Movies books are mostly to blame.