Before landing his breakthrough role as the geeky movie buff Randy in the Scream movies in 1996, Jamie Kennedy delivered pizza for Domino's. "I wasn't very good at it," says the 44-year-old. "My boss was always hollering at me saying, 'If you want to joke around and be funny, go be a comedian.' " His boss had good intuition. Kennedy has made a career out of making people laugh on the big and small screens, even creating a successful hidden camera show, The Jamie Kennedy Experiment. Before stopping by the new 310-seat Club Velvet at the Hard Rock Rocksino Northfield Park July 17-20, Kennedy chats with us.
Q. How do you feel about trying new material onstage?
A. I like to be experimental. But it can be scary, especially if these crowds are supposed to laugh. Dave Chappelle always says, "You don't always have to be funny, but you have to be entertaining." ... But for me, I just want to have your attention, and sometimes I'd be OK with people not laughing and that just comes with more confidence as you grow.
Q. Do people still quote your famous lines from movies such as Scream or Malibu's Most Wanted?
A. I seem to have the type of fame where people aren't quite sure what to say to me. I was on a plane once with Josh Duhamel [of Transformers], and the flight attendant almost threw up because she was so excited to meet him. But I have the kind of recognition where people look at me and just start laughing and will break out, "Ha-ha, oh my God, it's you!" It's like I'm everybody's neighbor or something. I'll be at like Olive Garden with my mom and just out of the blue someone will shout, "Hey, tell me the rules" from Scream.
Q. In the new Amazon Prime series The After, written and directed by The X Files creator Chris Carter, you play a clown. How did you get in that mindset?
A. Once you put on the nose and the shoes, I think from there you just let the costume do the work. But I'm really excited about the fact that it's on Amazon Prime. It's like their version of Netflix, and this format is on the forefront of what I think watching television will be.