Kevin James On ‘Mall Cop’ by Uinterview

Kevin James was born Kevin George Knipfing on April 26, 1965 (age 52) in Mineola, New York, (Long Island) and was raised in Stony Brook (also on Long Island).  He is the second son of Janet, a homemaker who also worked in a chiropractor’s office, and Joseph Valentine Knipfing Jr., who owned an insurance agency. James is of German descent.

James’ older brother Gary Joseph Knipfing — more commonly known as Gary Valentine — is also an actor and comedian. James’ sister Leslie works for him and has helped raise money through charity events to fight Retinitis pigmentosa, a degenerative eye disease from which she suffers.

James was raised Catholic and said in 2012 that he continues to practice the faith.


James started doing stand-up comedy in 1989, making his debut at Long Island’s East Side Comedy Club. He became famous after appearing on several talk shows, including  The Tonight Show with Jay LenoLate Show with David LettermanLate Night with Conan O’Brien, Dennis Miller Live, and Live with Regis and Kathie Lee. James has been listed at #89 on Comedy Central’s list of the 100 Greatest Stand-Up Comedians. He has also performed a stand-up routine on Just for Laughs, an annual comedy festival in Montreal, Canada.


James’ first television gig came in 1991 on The New Candid Camera, on which he used his improvisational talent to portray an actor who pulled pranks on unsuspecting people. He also appeared on TV as the announcer for the MTV sports game show SandBlast from 1994 to 1996.

James later moved to Los Angeles and befriended Ray Romano, and later guest-starred on a handful of episodes of Romano’s hit CBS sitcom, Everybody Loves Raymond.  These guest appearances helped James land his first major starring role as parcel delivery man Doug Heffernan on The King of Queens, which also ran on CBS from 1998 to 2007 and where he starred opposite Leah Remini, who played his wife Carrie. James was nominated for a  Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy Series in 2006 for the final season of the show.

James currently plays a retired police officer in the sitcom Kevin Can Wait, which premiered on CBS on Sept. 19, 2016. The show was renewed for a second season.


James made his film debut in the 2005 romantic comedy Hitch alongside Will Smith and Eva Mendes. James — who is also a screenwriter and producer — has co-starred with Adam Sandler in several movies, including comedies like I Now Pronounce You Chuck and Larry (2007), You Don’t Mess with the Zohan (2008), and Paul Blart: Mall Cop (2009). The latter comedy — which he also wrote and produced — opened as the #1 film in North America with a weekend gross of $39 million, despite overwhelmingly negative reviews, and eventually grossed $219 million from ticket and home video sales.

James also had lead roles in the 2011 movies The Dilemma (alongside Vince Vaughn) and Zookeeper, which he also wrote and produced. He also acted in, wrote and produced the mixed martial arts comedy Here Comes The Boom (2012) and Paul Blart: Mall Cop 2 (2015). James also starred in Grown Ups 2 (2013), Pixels (2015), and lent his voice to the animated films Hotel Transylvania (2012) and Hotel Transylvania 2 (2015).

More recently, James starred in the Netflix-original action comedy True Memoirs of an International Assassin, directed by Jeff Wadlow. The film was released on the streaming service on Nov. 11, 2016. He also appeared in another Netflix film, the 2017 comedy Sandy Wexler, alongside Sandler.


James sat down with uInterview in 2009 for an exclusive interview in which he answered questions submitted by the site’s users about his role in and the making of the comedy Paul Blart: Mall Cop, which he also co-wrote with Nick Bakay and co-produced with Sandler.

The actor and comedian revealed that the idea for the film stemmed from his immense respect and admiration for mall policemen around the world.

“I’ve just always wanted to have mall cops have their voice heard. Their story needs to be told,” said James. “They don’t get a lot of respect, and in fact, they deserve a ton more because they have to uphold the law without any use of weapons — they don’t get issued weapons — and let’s be honest, they don’t have any real authority. Well, the difference is, a sitcom you’re doing on a weekly basis and if you don’t make as something as great in one episode you go “You know what? We’ll just make it up next week and try and do better.” But in a movie you try and sink everything; your heart and soul is all in there. You’re working on it like a year before it comes out and you just want it to really connect with the public.”

With regards to how much of the film was scripted and how much was improvised, James said the final product included a good mix of both.

“You know, once we had gotten what we needed in a scene where, you know, we had the basic idea of it, we hired such great actors in this movie that we let them kind of just improv a little bit and play with the lines, and the majority of the time we used what they said,” James revealed. “‘Cause it was funnier than what we had written.”

James also said that he thoroughly enjoyed working alongside his good friend Sandler, whose production company Happy Madison Productions helped finance the film.

“Oh, he’s the greatest,” James said of Sandler. “I’ve worked with him before; we’re good buddies. So it really helped taking his expertise and using it here. He helped with not only the comedy and editing the movie, but he always adds awesome songs and he’s got great soundtracks in his movies so I was happy to have him help out.”


James boasts several funny quotes about his involvement in other movies. Regarding shooting multiple takes of a kissing scene with Will Smith in Hitch, he said, “I’m not a gay man, but I will say this: I get it now. I know what all the hype is about.”

Among his other top quotes are: “Thanksgiving, man. Not a good day to be my pants,” and “There’s no better feeling in the world than a warm pizza box on your lap.”

About the birth of his only son, James said:“I had my boy in Boston on Easter Sunday. That kills me, from a sports perspective. He’s a Boston baby and I’m a New York guy.”

Regarding his weight, James famously said: “You know, when you’re a fat guy you don’t need a reason to sweat. Guys come up to me and go “Jeez… what have you been doing – jumping rope in the attic or something?”…”Umm, no… I peeled an orange about an hour ago, why?”

James also made fun of himself by saying: “I’ve always been the guy who doesn’t necessarily get it with women. A woman would have to say, ‘I like you, I want to go out with you, you can ask me.’ And still I would question it. Did she mean it?”


James has been married to actress Steffiana de la Cruz since June 2004. The couple have four children. James, who reportedly weighs 300 pounds, has an estimated net worth of $80 million, according to

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