Nov 23

Can I Get a Witness: Kato Kaelin in town

Though he was often portrayed as a typical California surfer dude, Kato Kaelin wasn’t ever a surfer. In fact, he wasn’t even from California.

He had ventured out to California from Wisconsin, with dreams of playing baseball at Cal State Fullerton. When he found the baseball studs at Cal State too intense for him, he concentrated on the entertainment industry, landing a commercial spot for Coke in his first ever audition in 1986.

Not long after that, he made his second TV appearance – on the lip sync show “Puttin on the Hits.” (He pretended to sing “Born to be Wild.”) After that, he landed small roles in movies like “Beach Fever,” “Save Me,” and “Hail Caesar” before a gruesome double homicide placed him in an international spotlight.

Kaelin will appear at the Spyglass Inn in Shell Beach this weekend, opening for the Unknown Comic, Murray Langston. The shows are put on by comedian Bob Zany, who often performs the Thanksgiving weekend shows himself but couldn’t make it this year.

Some tidbits from our interview with Kaelin:

• Kaelin was asked to do “The Surreal Life,” a reality show that threw several B-level celebs into one house for several days, but he had to pass since he was making a different reality show called “Houseguest” for Fox FX. “It’s just me knocking on door with luggage saying, ‘I’m TV’s Kato Kaelin and can I live here?’” Kaelin said. A pilot was made, but the show was ditched after an executive in favor of the show went to NBC.

• On the prospect of meeting O.J. again: “Maybe when he does go to trial, I’ll go up there and do some sort of news reporting. And I’m sure I will be confronted. But there’s nothing really to say. If he says, “Hi, Kato,’ I guess I would just say hi.”

It might be more awkward, though, after this video he made for National Lampoon:

• Some of the viewer comments about that video oddly veer off to a tangent about the war in Iraq. The viewers probably didn’t know that Kaelin’s nephew was killed in Iraq.

• Kaelin was also recently the subject of a recent About.com commercial featuring 200 dancing Katos.

• On doing O.J. jokes: “I told Murray I didn’t want to talk about the trial, but I’m going to now. I’m probably just going to do five minutes and get that all out of the way and talk about the stuff people always ask me . . . and just do some of the comedy from that.”

• On being a frequent guest at the Playboy Mansion: “It’s what you make of it. You can have the most wild time and be crazy if you want to, but I bring my girlfriend all the time. My friends say, ‘Why do you bring a sandwich to the buffet?’”

• On being asked to do TV shows about O.J.: “If I have something to publicize, I’m all for it now. Because it’s been 13 years and I figure, ‘You know what – my life goes on and I like people to know what’s going on.’ And I love talking about Lampoon wherever I go. I grew up on ‘Animal House,’ and it’s a tradition.”

-Pat P.

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