Jamie Kennedy has had plenty of opportunities to shine on the big screen, but none are bigger than his stint as Randy Meeks in the Scream franchise. Fans have been hoping the character would return in Scream 5, but that may not happen.
Just before the COVID outbreak hit, Jamie returned to his other passion, stand-up comedy and was waiting for the release of a new special that airs exclusively on the free streaming app Tubi.
As we found out, his career began with a romp as an extra in the blockbuster film Dead Poets Society and it’s been filled with plenty of ups and downs ever since – the greatest being his affair with the Scream franchise.
Jamie sat down with 519 to chat about his comedy special and some of the choice moments in his career.
How have you made out during the pandemic?
I’m doing a lot of stuff that I normally don’t get to do and trying to stay productive. Finishing up a lot of projects and things that I normally wouldn’t get a chance to do. I’m attending to other parts of my life, so I’m doing okay
Comedians always try to find the funny side of things, so what can we say might still be funny with COVID 19?
Well, I heard that we’re going to get rid of buffets and is that so terrible?
Do you need to go and grab that lettuce and that egg salad under that glass, that sneeze guard? The sneeze guard was already suspect. So I’m saying, I think that it’s not terrible that we might want our food directly from the kitchen instead of after it’s been perused by a hundred people.
And you don’t know how long it’s been there.
Speaking of comedy, your new live comedy show is out. What made this a good time for the comedy special?
I don’t think there’s a bad time to do a comedy special. This is my third one and I’ve done them throughout my career. I think that it’s a time where people can consume comedy and content quicker and easier than ever. You can reach your fans or people that enjoy what you do easier now than ever. And so you got to keep them updated. I think in the way the world is, comedy has never been more important.
Does the title Stoopid Smart mean something to you?
Mm-hmm, Multiple things, it’s like my persona, sometimes people think I’m la little goofy because some of the roles I play, so I play on that. But people who really follow my comedy know I have more to say than just being totally funny. It’s also a nod to hip hop. How, if somebody says something like, “Yo man, he’s not just smart. He’s stupid smart.” Like he’s so smart, it’s stupid. You know? So it’s a play on those types of things. And the special gets a little deeper as it goes on. It starts light and airy and then goes deeper into things.
Which do you enjoy more stand-up or acting?
That’s hard. I think picking the difference between your girlfriend and your wife. That’s a joke. No, I love acting. I love being on set and being in movies, but it’s also usually other people’s stuff. I think what I love about comedy is that it’s just so yours and you live and die by it. So I love them both, but the thrill of comedy is pretty impressive. But they’re both my love.
How did you initially get into all of this – IMDB lists Dead Poets Society as one of your first gigs – that couldn’t have been easy to get involved that quickly.
Well, I wanted to be an actor and I literally got a weird break. My friend’s mom was being background on a movie. She’d been an actress for a long time and she said, “I think I can get you to be background.” And I’m like, “What’s that?” And she explained it to me. Then she took me down to meet the person that was in charge of the extras casting. I got interviewed and they said great, show up tomorrow. Next thing you know, I was on set for three days. Once I did that, I realized this is what I’m going to do. It was almost like divine intervention.
Do you remember what that first movie was that you were on set for?
Yeah, Dead Poets Society. That was my very first thing I ever did. I was background and they were shooting in Delaware, which is near Philadelphia and she drove down there. It was the greatest because it was being an extra and it wasn’t that hard to get. There wasn’t a lot of people that knew about it and she did. And I just happen to know her and bam, it was an incredible experience.
Randy Meeks has become a bit of an iconic character for you. Not many actors get the chance to develop a character over a couple of movies – that must have been exciting as an actor.
Oh yeah. Randy is one of my most iconic characters. I get shouted his lines more than almost anyone. B-Rad, B-Rad’s up there too. And it’s nice to be able to be a part of something that really has resonated with people and has staying power, has legs, not going away.
There were rumours that Scream 5 might have started filming in May, but with COVID that went down the tubes. There was a lot of talk about Randy making a return in this one. Is there any truth to that?
I don’t know. Right now, I don’t think I’m involved. Randy is pretty dead, unless he comes back in some crazy new way that I don’t know. I mean, he’s dead. They’re definitely doing one. I heard that for sure. But I believe that Randy has had a good life.
I think Randy’s return would give the franchise a good boost, almost like how they kept Jigsaw in all the Saw movies.
Oh, I think people would love it. I would love it. I think the audience would love it. I know it has to be done in a way that they feel is believable, but I think it’s great. But I mean, it’s not up to me. I’m Randy. The filmmakers and the people that make it and all that, but I think it would be cool.
How much time did you get to spend with the horror legend Wes Craven?
I got to spend a lot. He was just a beautiful man. He gave me my break. He was the person that gave me a career and I got to spend time with him on set a ton and Scream 2. And then, we had some dinner parties and then different events, a different festival here and there, and award shows. And so, there was a time when I was spending a lot of time, we all were. And it was a beautiful time, and he was kind of like our dad.
Seeing that Guelph, Ontario is in our coverage area, we have to ask how it was working with Guelph-born Neve Campbell.
Oh, she’s great. She was like a sister, sweetheart, just so sweet and so good, so soulful. I saw her a couple of months ago at a convention and it was awesome. True, true Canadian.
As an active actor, does having a memorable character like Randy hurt or help you?
Oh, I think it only helps. Even though Hollywood wants to pigeonhole you sometimes, I think it helps. You’re on people’s radar. You’re part of something iconic and I think it’s great. I’m very fortunate to be part of it. I can see how some people get pigeonholed. I think you get more pigeonholed if you’re on a show for eight years and people really see you as that character. And I get that. But it’s just a matter of changing it up. I love Randy and I’m fortunate enough to be him, but I’ve also played other characters too. So it helps you.
Is there a bit of a movie geek inside you, like Randy and his obsession with horror?
Yeah, I definitely love good movies. I really do like horror movies but I love all types of movies. I also love comedy. I’m not as cinefile like Randy, but I definitely can appreciate some good movies, for sure.
What do the Scream movies mean to you?
Something that kind of came and reinvented the horror movie and put a stamp on it. It’s something that became very meta, self-referential and meta commenting on it as it’s happening, but yet not breaking the fourth wall, a very inventive movie. Now a part of pop lexicon and became its own little universe. Scream is its own brand now. And when you see that mask, it’s up there with any type of movie. You know exactly what it is when you see it. It’s incredible.
My husband is a huge fan of the movie Enemy of the State. It’s a great action flick. What do you remember about being involved in that film?
Oh, I remember tons of stuff. I remember shooting in Baltimore, down at the harbor. I remember having dinner once with Lisa Bonet and Jon Voight. I thought this is a funny three top table.
I remember going to the Hooters in the harbor. They had the wings. It was one of the few places that was open in the hours that we would shoot late. I remember playing pickup basketball a couple of times with Will Smith’s group and I was lucky enough to play in that.
I remember running. There were a lot of times in that movie when I’d just run, run, run, run. We’re always running through the town chasing someone, running, running. I thought that was a lot. That movie was very physical always running. Those are some interesting memories you’re not going to hear from anyone else.
I enjoyed watching Son of The Mask, but many didn’t. What do you think made that film a target for criticism?
I think that it did have such a huge, huge debut, and Jim Carrey is a force of nature. The thing was when we were going into it, a lot of movies do sequels and in their own way. And so I think people really wanted to see Jim Carrey and then we were trying to make our own sequel, which is an offshoot of it.
So The Mask finds someone else and it really had one foot in and one foot out. It didn’t really want to do the Jim Carrey, because that was his thing. We were going to try to make it about this mask that kind of gets a hold of a family. And then the family has to figure it out. And the baby becomes a super baby and the dog is jealous of the baby, and then I have to go in to save it. It wasn’t a clear cut line of what was going on and there was a lot of things that didn’t work in the movie, but the director had a great vision. He just never got it executed because of a lot of politics involved.
He wanted to make a big kind of live action cartoon and slow and methodical. And it was awesome, the way he was doing it. I saw it and it just didn’t come out like that. People really didn’t like it. It became too much of a kids movie and people had high expectations. So, we missed the mark and sometimes it happens. But there’s a lot of things that go into making a movie. It’s not just one person’s fault, at least on that one, it wasn’t.
I still enjoy it.
A lot of little kids now who are growing up told me they liked it.
We cover a lot of music in our magazine, so I have to ask about the CSI episode you were in that also featured Gene Simmons and Michael Des Barres. Can you tell us about that experience?
Yeah, I remember Michael Des Barres, but I don’t think I worked with him in that scene. That was just five years ago, I think. I worked with Gene Simmons a lot and Kat McNamara who is now in the Maze Runner movies. Gene Simmons is just this icon of music and he was great. He’s funny. Got to hang around with him all day for three days and I just would listen to him tell amazing stories in between takes.
I met Gene a couple of times. So he’s always been cool. He’s a fascinating guy, self-made rockstar, never drank, never did drugs, wild man, a lot of great stories. A great businessman, a great musician. He just had great stories.
You’re also in Usher’s Don’t Waste My Time music video. How cool is that?
It’s great. My buddy Adam Rodness is Canadian – there’s a shout out for Canada and Toronto. Adam used to be one of my assistants back in the day in 2005. When me and another comedian, Stu Stone were rapping and we had our show on MTV, Adam would be our assistant. His big thing was going to the Coffee Bean. He was great going to Coffee Bean. And now he’s one of the biggest producers in all music videos. He just does music videos every two weeks and he was like, “Hey, I’m doing an Usher video. I’ll let you in it.” And I said, really? And he replied, yeah, here’s what you’ve got to do.
And I’m like, “Usher’s cool?” And he said, “Yeah, he loves you.” So he got Snoop in, Evan Ross, Jermaine Dupri, and then he put me in and it was great. So Adam went from getting me coffee to now becoming one of the biggest music video producers. And now he’s producing movies and TV. And then Stu Stone is doing their company, 5’7 Films. They’re great. It’s nice to work with people who love you, who you love back, and who excel. It’s nice. And he’s Canadian. You should be happy.
Now you have a couple of films that are currently in post production. What can you reveal about them?
Crabs in a Bucket is a movie I did. It’s a dramedy. Jeremy Pippin, Bruce Stern, Taryn Manning, Cathy Moriarty, Zach McGowan, and it’s a great cast. That was supposed to come out and go to festivals, but everything’s on hold right now. But, it’s a really good festival movie and I’m excited about it.
And then another movie I had, we’re about to start production. That hasn’t started yet. So that’s a movie about a comic on the road. It’s called Don’t Suck and it’s a really good drama. But we’re just waiting to see.
Right now, I’m just promoting my special, Coming to the Stage. That comes out today and my specials out now, To the End Pluto.
Will you actually sit down and watch your special?
I don’t think I will. I’ve seen it enough. I’ve made so many notes on it. You know what I mean? It’s like I did it. I’m good. It’s for you guys now. I’m done with it. I’m onto the next thing. I’m just trying to have enough sanitizer and rubber gloves and keep going. You know what I mean?