He’s known for playing Danny Heffernan on “The King of Queens,” brother to his real-life little brother, Kevin James. Gary Valentine also had a role in his bro’s recent hit film “Paul Blart: Mall Cop.”
Recently, however, Valentine, a career standup comic, has set out on his own, seeking to create his own franchise with “Dusty Peacock,” a Sony-produced online series about a thrill seeker who comes up a bit short when it comes to common sense and smart friends.
The show is already a hit on Crackle, and Valentine is hoping to eventually break it out to linear TV. Fancast recently caught up with the busy comedian, who’s also shooting three independent films, for a short chat.
What was the inspiration for Dusty Peacock? You know how Criss Angel walks around like he’s this rock star? Well, this guy would do the same, only he’s a complete failure. He’s proactive and positive, and he thinks he has the talent to be this big daredevil, but he really doesn’t totally believe in himself. The show is really character driven. It’s Dusty and his posse, and the people around him are dysfunctional. My girlfriend on the show is white trash and only in it for the money. My lawyer, Stu, is really not cut out for the business and is scared about everything I do. And my manager tried to sue me and couldn’t, and now he’s obligated to stay with me.
Now, you lived with your brother when you first got to L.A. What was that like? It was funny – brothers are brothers. We love each other, but we fight. We kind of think differently in the creative sense sometimes, and that becomes an issue. It got heated, but it was nice to live with someone I could trust
Now your brother goofs on mall cops. You goof on wannabe daredevils. Did you guys come up with a lot of characters while growing up? It’s something we fell into, kind of just goofing around. We’d always imitate friends of our parents, or this doctor we had who had a really funny voice. It was just silly, goofy things like that. Every once in a while, we’d even put it on tape.
How did you get into standup? My mom pushed me into doing my first open mic night, and I did it and loved it. Standup is the easiest thing I do. I’m more comfortable being up there on stage and making fun of myself than saying someone else’s lines.
Sounds, well, tortured…I don’t think I’m that damaged – I had a pretty normal, great upbringing. A lot of these comics, they do come from a dark places, but I feel more normal than dark. I think my comedy just comes from enjoying a good time and wanting to share it with others. We’re actors, and some people take this too seriously. Even when they come home from work, they’re always on.
“My mom pushed me into doing
my first open mic night,
and I did it and loved it.”
What’s it like filming an online series as opposed to a TV show or movie? It’s kind of great — it’s just like shooting a film. The sets are exactly like a film, And Sony really put some money behind it and really believed in the project.
Do you ever see this thing being turned into a TV show? We’d like to have a TV series, but this is a good way to test the show and to get viewers. I also see it as feature film.