The Weeds and ex-SNL actor on being a grandpa-aged dad.
“Can single guys adopt a baby?” Kevin Nealon strategically wondered aloud in earshot of the attractive actress next to him. The line piqued the interest of the targeted woman, who is now Nealon’s wife (Susan Yeagley) and the mother of his child. Twenty years after first appearing on Saturday Night Live – most memorably as pumped-up muscle-head Franz (of Hans and Franz), Nealon is now the father of a thirteen-month-old baby boy named Gable and the author of a new book, Yes, You’re Pregnant, But What About Me?, an account of his wife’s pregnancy and how it is really all about him, Nealon’s book might sound like something his character on Weeds, the incredibly juvenile pothead Doug Wilson, might write. But beyond the insouciant title, the book is actually a sincere reflection on life as a geezer dad, with serio-comic anecdotes and curious asides from Nealon’s first fifty-four years.
Nealon acknowledges that – being in the line of fire of hormonal eruptions aside – impending fatherhood is a relative cakewalk. “Let’s face it,” he writes, “It’s not like March of the Penguins. We don’t have to balance an egg on our feet in the freezing cold for a month – although some of us might prefer that option if we had it.” But facing first-time fatherhood when your friends are sending their kids off to college is something of a culture shock. Luckily for him, he sees the humor in receiving both parenting magazines and the AARP Bulletin in the daily mail. – Erika Milvy
Why did you decide to have a child at this point in your life?
Well, its kind of like the real estate market: It’s never a good time. You just gotta get in now. I always knew I would have a child in this life and just wasn’t sure when. I put it off for several reasons. First of all, I wasn’t with the right person for a time, and I had a concern about bringing a baby into this world. Also, I went to Catholic school, where they taught you to never get a girl pregnant.
And why did you decide to write a book at this point in your life?
When you have a baby, you start thinking about your own childhood and what your parents were like. It’s not really a book about pregnancy. It’s more a collection of comedic essays, about the memories that the pregnancy stirs up and everything that leads up to impending fatherhood. It’s a book about dealing with your anxieties and insecurities and coming to terms with what you want in life and being courageous enough, brave enough to take that step.
What fears did impending fatherhood stir up in you?
The thing about me is that my parents were so great, I didn’t think I could be as good a parent as they were, so that scared me about becoming a parent. Most people go to therapy to talk about their terrible childhoods. I had to go to therapy because my parents were so good.
So what’s life like as an older dad?
Well, I’m getting Depends for me and Pampers for my child. I don’t need a rattle for the baby because he’s got prescription bottles of mine.
Your son’s name is Gable. Did you name him after Clark Gable? “We wanted a unique name but nothing too ‘Apple’-ish.”
We just liked the phonetic sound of it. Dead movie stars from the ’40s was one thing we didn’t think about – we were looking at street signs and menus, we wanted a unique name but nothing too ‘Apple’-ish. We thought, Gable’s kind of nice and also it’s a gable of a house, an architectural structure, a good strong name. And we’re going to have seven children and call them all Gable and we’ll be the house of seven Gables.
Do you have any good advice for dads your age?
You do need to get in shape to pass your physical to get life insurance. There was a snag in getting the life insurance finalized: the agents were fans of Weeds and my character smokes pot. On my questionnaire, I put that I didn’t smoke, which must have confused them. They thought, if I didn’t smoke, then why was I smoking on Weeds? I had to tell them it was my character who was smoking.
Your character from Weeds is such a schmuck….
A loveable shmuck.
Can you imagine any advice he might give Gable?
Aside from having a good time – that’s what Doug Wilson likes to do, have fun – I don’t think he has any really good advice for a child.