Famous Kansas Citians: Jason Sudeikis
Before his flight even touches down at Kansas City International Airport, comedian Jason Sudeikis is planning out his barbecue itinerary: Gates, Bryant’s and Oklahoma Joe’s. Or sometimes in reverse order.
The 33-year old Overland Park native, now in his fourth season on air on NBC’s legendary Saturday Night Live after two years as a writer, sometimes even stops for barbecue before heading home to hugs and kisses from his mother.
“I get home only two or three times a year anymore, but barbecue is always first on my list of things to do,” Sudeikis said.
A graduate of Shawnee Mission West High School who attended Fort Scott Community College on a basketball scholarship, Sudeikis got into college theatre after an injury ended his basketball career. Soon, Sudeikis began following in the footsteps of his famous uncle, George Wendt (Norm from Cheers, among others)
His first comedy experience came at Kansas City’s Comedy City, then known as ComedySportz. He went on to audition for Chicago’s Second City and became a founding member of Second City Las Vegas. Along the way, he took a heaping helping of Kansas City with him.
“I think I brought along a good bit of the sense of humor of my friends that I grew up with,” he said. “I think I’ve kept a good part of the humility of the people of Kansas City.”
Often when friends and co-workers in New York and elsewhere learn that he is from Kansas City, he is subjected to the over used phrase “you’re not in Kansas any more.”
“I just turn it back on them and say ‘I don’t get the reference?’ and from there the conversation turns to barbecue and George Brett and all the people they know from Kansas City. I find a lot of people who are just one link away from someone from this area.”
A huge fan of University of Kansas basketball, Sudeikis misses being in Kansas City during March Madness. Members of his extended family have season tickets, so when he’s home he begs, borrows and steals tickets to attend a game at Allen Field House. He’s looking forward to seeing a game in the new Sprint Center.
But a sure time to catch Sudeikis back in town is each September for the Kansas City Improv Festival at Union Station. He and his wife, Kay Cannon, an Emmy-award winning writer for NBC’s 30 Rock, are the stars of Kansas City’s comedy community.