On this, the 30th anniversary of This is Spinal Tap, I profile Michael McKean in New York Theatre Magazine. McKean is now playing the villainous J. Edgar Hoover in the Broadway play All The Way.
Ask Michael McKean’s fans for the highlights of his career, and they’ll likely say This is Spinal Tap, Clue, and Saturday Night Live (S.N.L.). (“I’m the only person besides Dan Akroyd who’s been a staff member, a musical guest, and a guest host,” he said of S.N.L.)
But ask McKean himself about the highlights of his career, and he’ll start talking about Mr. Mooney, his high school drama coach, and the plays he performed as a student at North Shore High School on Long Island.
“Every one of those was a highlight: Ten Little Indians, Life with Father, J.B., Inherit the Wind,The Glass Menagerie. I didn’t do much else in high school. I played a lot of guitar, and I was in a lot of plays…I wanted to be Bob Dylan if I couldn’t be George C. Scott.”
Still, 30 years to the day after the release of the “mockumentary” about an inept rock band, people still accost Michael J. McKean on the street with some of their favorite lines from the movie, i.s.
“It’s such a fine line between stupid and clever.”