By Jack Houston
Back when they were slugging it out on the stand-up circuit two decades ago, Ray Romano and Kevin James probably never imagined they’d be able to land one hit sitcom, let alone two, much less hit the road together on a stand-up tour.
But credit the two comedians for finding the proper platforms for their specialized takes on comedy, first for Romano with Everybody Loves Raymond (on which James guest-starred), and later for James on The King of Queens. As he did on Raymond, Romano mines family life for his zingers, while James brings a certain physicality (if you’ve seen him dance in Hitch, you know of which we speak) that belies his larger frame.
Both Romano and James have parlayed their initial small-screen success into current projects. Romano began an arc of at least 10 episodes on the new season of Parenthood, playing a photographer who enters into the personal and professional life of Lauren Graham’s character, Sarah. James just wrapped shooting the sequel to Grown Ups alongside Adam Sandler, David Spade, Chris Rock and Rob Schneider. He also stars in the recently released action comedy Here Comes the Boom opposite Salma Hayek.