That Time Kevin James Hilariously Ripped Off His Shirt For A TV Audition

kevin can wait

Many of us have been through points where finding a job was all but impossible, and it's not much different for some TV stars. Long before heading up CBS' Kevin Can Wait, for instance, comedian Kevin James had a point when he was getting extremely bummed out with not getting any gigs from the cattle call auditions he was going out for. But thanks to some key advice and a shirt that wasn't permanently attached to his torso, James came away with both a job and a great story. In his words:

I got a call from my agent saying, 'Could you come in and do a pizza commercial?' I said, 'I don't wanna do it. I'm not gonna do it.' So [Chris] Rock said, 'Why don't you just go in there and go crazy? Literally just have fun that way and not get it; and go crazy, though, and scare the people.' And I did. So I went in, I ripped my shirt off. I called the guy Kenny Rogers because he had gray hair. I was yelling. I was going crazy. And I just went, 'You know what? Fax the contracts to my agent. We'll take care of it there, because I got it,' and I left and slammed the door. I just stormed out. So I got it. So that just tells you to take your shirt off.

It isn't so hard to argue with that last bit of advice that James shared (humorously, of course), but in that particular instance, there may very well have been nothing better the actor could have done. Sometimes frustrating tasks need to be tackled from completely different angles in order for everything to work out properly, and sometimes those different angles also include the bare skin of Kevin James' chest and stomach. Much weirder things have happened in Hollywood. (Since you started reading this, even.)

Kevin James shared this excellent audition story with TV Guide, and it should serve as a fable of sorts for any discouraged actors and actresses out there who are looking for a way to pep things up. Not that I'm saying everyone should do what he did, but the basic concept of not giving up and conquering problems is one to keep close to the heart. Plus, as evidenced by James' contract demand, one can occasionally come off so blindly confident in absolute bullshit that others will fall in line with similar beliefs. A performance gets you more performances.

This is also a good instance where listening to your good friends can often be a good thing, even when what they're saying sounds ridiculous. These days, Kevin James doesn't have to worry about auditioning for jobs much, as his projects are either formed around him, or they're ensemble comedies (like this one) from Adam Sandler and his production company. Speaking of Sandler, the comedian stopped by Kevin Can Wait not too long ago, and James' former network mate Ray Romano as well. It seems like he should get Chris Rock in an episode at some point, perhaps as the star of a pizza commercial.

The Ninja Turtles love pizza, and the Ninja Turtles don't wear shirts, they get loud and they scare people. I'm not saying that James got this job by being a mutant hero, but I'm pointing out that you never ever see the actor and all four of the mutants in the same room. Food for thought, and that food is pizza. More importantly, Kevin Can Wait airs Monday nights on CBS. Watch it before bad things happen and pizza commercials once again come calling.

Nick Venable
Assistant Managing Editor

Nick is a Cajun Country native and an Assistant Managing Editor with a focus on TV and features. His humble origin story with CinemaBlend began all the way back in the pre-streaming era, circa 2009, as a freelancing DVD reviewer and TV recapper.  Nick leapfrogged over to the small screen to cover more and more television news and interviews, eventually taking over the section for the current era and covering topics like Yellowstone, The Walking Dead and horror. Born in Louisiana and currently living in Texas — Who Dat Nation over America’s Team all day, all night — Nick spent several years in the hospitality industry, and also worked as a 911 operator. If you ever happened to hear his music or read his comics/short stories, you have his sympathy.