Keen eyes may remember Kevin Shinick as the host of the PBS game show “Where in Time is Carmen Sandiego?,” or perhaps even from his work on Broadway. Since those days, he’s gone on to have a pretty successful TV career, both in front of and behind the camera, and even writes comic books.
Looking back on his career in show business, along with what he’s currently working on, Shinick spoke with Zap2it. He even shared a little about a date he went on with a then-unknown Angelina Jolie.
It didn’t take long for Shinick, as an actor, to land on Broadway. A year after college he got his big break when cast by Tony Randall in a production of “The Seagull.” As if getting a job on Broadway so early in his career wasn’t a surreal enough experience, the actors around him were mostly seasoned veterans. “The cast wound up being Ethan Hawke, Laura Linney, Tyne Daly, Jon Voight,Tony Roberts and, essentially, me,” he says, “This is my first ever gig and I was just blown away every day.”
That play also led to an interesting experience for Kevin. “Jon Voight and I became good friends and one day he said to me, ‘Hey my daughter’s coming to town, how would you like to take her out to dinner?'” That daughter, of course, was Jolie.
Shinick says she was in a goth phase at the time, black lipstick and hair, but was “lovely and just as beautiful as she is now.” Alas, the couple wasn’t meant to be. “She was living in Los Angeles and I was living in New York, so I like to think the distance is why we didn’t continue the relationship,” he jokes.
These days Kevin still gets to act, but he’s on the other side of the camera as well. After serving as creative director for “Robot Chicken” from 2008-2009, he worked with Warner Bros. to create the “Mad” animated series. Whereas “MADtv” has been the only real representation of the magazine on television, Shinick’s idea went in a different direction, featuring animated shorts.
“My whole objective was to capture the flavor of the magazine,” he says, “because ‘MADtv’ was great, but it was more of a companion to ‘SNL’ than it was to the magazine.” Now, nearly 100 episodes later, the formula is still a success on the Cartoon Network.
Not bad for a guy who grew up reading the magazine. “It was such an influence on me,” Kevin admits, “If you take the time to go and talk to the great comedians, anyone you like, I’m guaranteeing you that whether it’s the ‘Simpsons’ guys or Monty Python or whoever, they always use Mad as a great reference for their comedy.”
When he’s not busy with that, Shinick also has his hand in the comic book arena. After landing a 2009 “Batman” comic as his first job in that world, he followed it with an issue of “Joker’s Asylum.”
From there, he jumped to Marvel, where he did two issues of “Avenging Spider-Man.” Now, Shinick is working on a five-issue miniseries called “Superior Carnage,” featuring the monstrous Spider-Man villain. The first issue released July 17 and Kevin says the schedule works out to about one issue in stores a month.
Though he’s got a lot on his plate, Shinick still wouldn’t mind returning to Broadway sometime. “I’ve done about half a dozen Broadway plays and I’ve been in Los Angeles since 2006,” he says, “I always have that bug to get back on the stage and I’ve done some one-man shows here, but there’s nothing like Broadway.”