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Just Whom Is Kevin James?

Updated on February 14, 2012

This, ladies and gentleman, is KEVIN JAMES

a man of mystery, delightful-confusion as to what or whom he really is in today's entertainment industry.
a man of mystery, delightful-confusion as to what or whom he really is in today's entertainment industry.

Okay, you be the judge. Is this a . . .

hub? A off-the-cuff. On-a-lark story? Or a plain. Down-right honest look at Kevin James, one of the most-popular entertainers of modern-history? I really don't know myself what this is. I would like to think that this is a pretty good job of a personal review of Kevin James, actor, and what, if any, category he fits. That is the job at hand, friends.

We all know Kevin James. Those of us who longed for each week's installment of "King of Queens," that made James a household word. This show wasn't your typical blockbuster of a show. Factually, it was an average premise about an average family, the Heffernans, Doug (Kevin James) and Carrie (Leah Remini) and Carrie's widower father, "Arthur," played by Hollywood legend, Jerry Stiller, who just happens to be Ben "There's Something About Mary" Stiller.

The show is cast in Brooklyn. Doug is employed by International Parcel Service, a clear symbol of real parcel delivery service, UPS, but it works. Flawlessly. Doug loves to drive his truck he says on one show where the plot was to let Doug improve himself, an idea by his loving wife, Carrie. Of course, this like all the show's plots, backfires. Crashes and burns leaving Doug and Carrie back to 'square one,' fighting and scratching to 'make it,' as a depressed Carrie laments in one show due to her and Doug not having the life she thought she would have when she married Doug. Typical plot. Nothing fancy.

But that still doesn't answer my burning-question about Kevin James. Just who is Kevin James? Go on. Burst the suspense. Pin the balloon already. I've had it with guessing from time to time. Movie to movie just who James really is. I'm at wit's end. And shouldn't be. May I explain my plight to you? Okay. Take Cary Grant for instance. Grant was what he was, an excellent, multi-talented actor with varied skills on film and stage. Grant, when his name was mentioned in Variety or any Hollywood-publication, the first word that popped into the reader's mind was, "actor." Can you do that with Kevin James? I cannot. And if you can, you are a deeper, more-perceptive person than I.

King of Queens, James' break-out show, aired in 1998 and stayed on moderate-to-near-top ratings until 2007. In the show, it was easy sometimes to actually conceive, on my worst day, that James was actually a parcel truck delivery driver. And that Carrie was his self-serving, ambitious wife. The role of "Arthur," by Jerry Stiller was a masterpiece performance each week. And I will give James the benefit of the doubt, he did, on occasion, have me in the palm of his hand with his "acrobatic-acting" skills--that means he is able to jump from one comedy thought to the other without missing a cue and with somewhat-dramatic areas, he stalls and chokes a bit, but keeps the show going. I guess Kevin James is a television actor.

But what about his movies? With names to create a cinema-hunger in all of us. Film names such as: "Paul Blart: Mall Cop," "Zookeeper," "Grown Ups," and "Stitch," with Will Smith. Okay. What about these films? I'm still searching for Kevin James, film actor. But the only person I find is Kevin James, television actor who has tried hard to make the transition from television to film without us seeing his sweat. What I mean is, and I mean no disrespect, if you ever participate in any form of community theatre, the first thing the play you are cast in will have a director whose first direction to you will be, "make me and the audience believe that YOU ARE 'Bobby, The Scarecrow,'" if that's the role you landed. James has not convinced me that he was Paul Blart, in Mall Cop, or any of the key-roles in his other movies. I hate to be blunt, but all I see and hear is James letting memorized scripts come from his lips and not convincing me that he is the character in the scene.

That, my friends, is not worth the cost of a premiere movie ticket. Even if you are personal friends with Adam Sandler, David Spade and Collin Quinn. Oh yes, Rob Schneider too.

My point? Have you ever and I mean ever, and be honest with yourself first, then me, had the unbridled pleasure of watching a Robert Dinaro film and be swept-away with his character? I mean swept down stream with no canoe or paddle. Dinaro, to me, rocks at any role he chooses. In his case, the role doesn't choose Dinaro, instead he chooses the role.

When was the last time Kevin James swept you away with whatever character the movie company chose for him? I didn't hear you. Can you actually tell me the differences in James' roles in "Zoo keeper," "Grown Ups," "Paul Blart," and "Stitch?" Does James do a lot of work in developing his own, brand-name character who might be granted a memorable sequel? Does Kevin James convince you that he is not James, but a character named, Paul Blart? All I viewed was Kevin James "talking" some guy named Blart's lines from script. I am sorry, but that is what it is.

And his stand-up routine is no different. Not that in this venue one has to actually recreate his or herself into a completely-different character to be funny although many stand-up pro's do. And James just bounces onto stage, yells (in Doug Heffernan fashion), "Ssss-uuu--ppp," and the humor-edged one-liners and observations begin to cover an hour and half. Still no real comedy. I would pay to see one of James' King of Queens co-stars, Gary Valentine, in his stand-up shows. Valentine actually works at doing accompanying voices to make his comedy observations funny. I like that.

Still, when all is said and done. And the last ticket stub has been swept away by a theater janitor named, "Bill," who secretly longs for his big break in show business, Kevin James is still Kevin James. Hard-working? Yes. Popular? Yes. Memorable? No.

But we still have time.


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with Jerry "Arthur" Stiller (from left)  and Leah "Carrie" Remini. King of Queens ran from 1998 until 2007.
with Jerry "Arthur" Stiller (from left) and Leah "Carrie" Remini. King of Queens ran from 1998 until 2007.


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    • kenneth avery profile imageAUTHOR

      Kenneth Avery 

      6 years ago from Hamilton, Alabama

      Dear shining,

      I am with you. "King of Queens," was a sure-fire hit. But I sometimes wish that the writers had toned-down Carrie's bossy attitude---some, not all, for she was a very dramatic actress. I remember her on Saved By The Bell when she was a young lady . . .but what acting skills. I miss Arthur Spooner, Spence, Deacon, Danny as well as Doug and Carrie . . .I confess. I watch them every evening on my DirecTV, WTBS, Super Station, Atlanta and relive all of their adventures . . .including the "fake injury" episode. Last evening it was where Doug/Carrie adopted a dog at a block party to be more accepted by the neighbors . . .but Sparky, was a houng dog and fit Doug's lazy and over-eating ways which ignited Carrie's attitude.

      Hey, thank you for being MY FRIEND. I love this.


    • shiningirisheyes profile image

      Shining Irish Eyes 

      6 years ago from Upstate, New York

      Although I agree 100% with Kevin James movie role history, I can't help but enjoy the guy. I was an avid "King of Queens" watcher and still check out a re-run from time to time.

      There was an episode where Doug pretended to hurt his leg so he wouldn't have to go to a wedding with Carrie. His buddies got a much-wanted trampoline basketball slot and Doug figured he would never get caught. He did get caught (surprise surprise) and when he bounced up, hit the ceiling and promptly knocked himself out by slamming - and I mean SLAMMING his body onto the matt I almost busted a gut. I still do not know how he did the scene without getting hurt. I also don't know how the camera crew were able to continue filming without cracking themselves up.

    • kenneth avery profile imageAUTHOR

      Kenneth Avery 

      6 years ago from Hamilton, Alabama

      DEAREST SUSAN . . .thank you so MUCH for this and all of your amazing comments. I loved DiNaro in The Deer Hunter and Casino. But Good Fellas was it. He played Jimmy Conway over the top and my other favorite, Paul Sorvello, the huge godfather-type, played a great role as Paul Cicero. Ray Lieota (?) was Henry Hill...if the movie wasnt laced with might be better, what do you think?

      Visit with me anytime, Susan.


    • profile image


      6 years ago

      Hi Kenneth

      I only watched King of Queens a couple of times.

      I think Robert DeNiro is an awesome actor. Last movie I saw him in was Jack and Jill with Adam Sandler.

      The movie was not award winning but DeNiro's performance was.

      My favourite movie of DeNiro's is Midnight Run.

      Take Care :)

      Voted up and awesome

    • kenneth avery profile imageAUTHOR

      Kenneth Avery 

      6 years ago from Hamilton, Alabama

      THANK YOU, KINDLY, CATGYPSY . . .glad we see eye-to-eye on this one. Kevin tries to be an actor. That is obvious, but I think there is too much slap stick and stand-up left in his mind to be a funny actor like Jerry Lewis, who did have the best of both worlds...stand-up, with and without Dean Martin and star of movies and a star director too. Thanks for the visit. Come again soon.

      Your friend forever . . .


    • catgypsy profile image


      6 years ago from the South

      It's funny you should bring him up because I watch the "King of Queens" almost every day. I have to say that I have never seen any of his movies, but from ads I saw for them, I didn't think they would be very good. He is funny, but sometimes over the top which I find annoying. I would classify him as just another sitcom actor, and not one of the very best. I like "The King of Queens" but it's not at the top of my list. Interesting hub Kenneth!

    • kenneth avery profile imageAUTHOR

      Kenneth Avery 

      6 years ago from Hamilton, Alabama

      My Sincere Thanks, ib radmasters, for the correction. That one slipped by, but never the less, I messed up. Sorry. And I thank you for catching that typo.


      Kenneth and PS: yes, it is a shame. Romano wasnt even funny on Raymond. Not as funny as Peter Boyle/Frank or Brad Garrett, Robert. Just my opinion.

    • ib radmasters profile image

      ib radmasters 

      6 years ago from Southern California

      Just a minor correction the show is cast in Queens, not Brooklyn. Both of these are Burroughs in New York City.

      While they are geographically adjacent they are different.

      Like Ray Ramono (/everybody loves Raymond), Kevin James peaked on his sitcome King of QUEENS. Neither of them are really funny in standup or in the movies, it is a shame.

    • kenneth avery profile imageAUTHOR

      Kenneth Avery 

      6 years ago from Hamilton, Alabama

      Dear KT,

      I agree with you 100%. And as for acting, Jon Hamm, "Mad Men," is a great actor, and the guy who played in the ultra-sci-fi thriller, The Watchmen, who is now on CBS' a Gifted Man series, I like him also. Im glad you and I had this conversation, KT. I find that you are well-versed not only in hub-writing, but life.

      Your friend,


    • KT Banks profile image

      KT Banks 

      6 years ago from Texas

      You know who I think can Really act? Leonardo Dicaprio. One of his least appreciated movies was The Man in the Iron Mask. That is when I first noticed how talented he is. and then I saw him in Aviator, the movie about Howard Hughes. I think the mark of a really good actor, is when you forget who it is during the movie. With Leo, he just really seems to become the character. I think he is WAY better than George Clooney, Brad Pitt and that oh, so famous group.

      And you can call me sweetheart, anytime! :)

    • kenneth avery profile imageAUTHOR

      Kenneth Avery 

      6 years ago from Hamilton, Alabama

      February 14, 11:48 A.M.,cst

      Dear KT, Wow, and YES, you can call me 'sweetie' in public, in the mall, in the problem. Happy Valentine's Day to you, "sweet heart," may I call you "sweet heart" today? Thank you so much for the nice comment, KT. I guess the problem lies within me about why I cannot see Kevin J. as an actor. You and I could simply say lines in front of the camera, but come on. Robert DiNaro, Brad Pitt, they ACT.

      Have a Great V-Day, KT.

      Your Friend,


    • KT Banks profile image

      KT Banks 

      6 years ago from Texas

      Hi Kenneth, Happy Valentines Day, Sweetie. Can I call you Sweetie in public? lol

      I saw something about KJ on TV that showed him before "fame." He was mostly interested in athletics. His older brother was interested in acting, but more importantly being a comedian. With his older brother and a tight group of friends, they searched for fame doing stand up routines. I think Ray Ramano was one of their group.

      I think Keven has such a friendly, every day guy, thing about him, that he is easy to like. However, I wouldn't go see a movie just because he is in it.

      Enjoyed the hub. Thanks!

      ~ KT


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