Kevin James is an actor and comedian widely known for his hilarious portrayal of Doug Heffernan in the hit CBS sitcom King of Queens. The series first aired in 1998 and catapulted James into superstardom and he has since gone on to star in hit comedy blockbusters like Hitch, alongside Will Smith and I Now Pronounce You Chuck and Larry, opposite comedy legend Adam Sandler.
But there’s more to James than simply being the funny man in the room. Keep reading to learn some of the most interesting Kevin James facts.
He’s a Massive MMA Fan
That’s right, he loves Mixed Martial Arts and has done it since an early age. James played Scott Voss, a high-school biology teacher who takes up MMA to raise money for his school, in 2012’s Here Comes the Boom. But his fighting skills don’t begin or end there.
He Wrestled in College at an Elite Level
Despite extensive training in fighting for his role in Here Comes the Boom, James was already one tough son of a gun before he even hit adulthood. James graduated from Ward Melville High School and while there, made his way to the number one spot on the wrestling team.
His Wrestling Team-mate is Now a Legendary WWE Superstar
While wrestling in high school, James’ teammate was Mick Foley. At the time, they both wrestled in the same weight category; 145lbs. While James went on to be one of the world’s biggest comedy actors, Foley went on to become one of professional wrestling’s most well-known stars. He had three alter-egos – Mankind, Dude Love, and Cactus Jack – each played crucial roles in WWE as it gained popularity in the 90s.
James Excelled at Football in College
James is quite the all-around sports fanatic. After graduating in 1983, he continued his football career and majored in Sports Management. He played for his college football team in Cortland, New York, and was considered a gifted tailback. This comes as no surprise: throughout his run on King of Queens, he demonstrates his football abilities in several episodes, and we’ve got to say they’re quite impressive!
He’s a Stand-Up Comedian
Okay, is there anything this man can’t do? It doesn’t appear so! James started to stand up in 1989 and made his debut at the East Side Comedy Club on Long Island. While working the comedy circuit, he met his friend and sometimes co-star Ray Romano of Everybody Loves Raymond.
King of Queens and Everybody Loves Raymond Exist in the Same Universe
Everybody Loves Raymond followed Ray Barone, a sports columnist with a rather dysfunctional family. The show was a mega-hit and ran from 1996-2005. Raymond quickly became a beloved TV character and even crossed over into King of Queens during four separate episodes.
James and Romano are good friends in real life, and this is evident on screen as their chemistry and dynamic is brilliant. Many people don’t realize that Doug’s character actually existed in Everybody Loves Raymond first, making King of Queens a spin-off of sorts!
He Makes His Own Short Films
During lockdown, James partnered up with a team of filmmakers and made a series of sketches, short films, and skits. The filmmakers were made up of 8 brothers who ran their own film production company. Instead of staying home and binging Netflix like most of the world, James and the brothers isolated together and got filming.
The material ranges from funny to downright daft, and there’s even some drama. A popular one is called “Sound Guy”, where James green-screens himself into famous movies like Goodfellas and No Country for Old Men and interacts with the stars. This can all be found on his YouTube channel; truth be told, it’s way better than we expected!
James Felt He Was The Worst Part of King of Queens
However confident the man may seem, James has stated that he feels he was the worst actor on the show. After following the traditional comedic route of transitioning from stand-up to sitcoms, James couldn’t help but feel some imposter syndrome. Speaking with PhillyVoice, James had this to say:
“I was definitely the weak link for sure as far as acting was concerned on the show. Leah and Jerry had done a crazy amount of things. Leah had done so much stuff. It was my first gig.”
Despite how he might feel, we think he was great on the show, and hopefully, he has gained some more confidence since then!
You can watch Kevin James’ stand-up on Netflix and his latest series, Home Team.