23 Hiking Tips From Comedian Kevin Nealon

The man behind ‘Hiking With Kevin’ on his favorite LA trails

By Reuben Brody

23 Hiking Tips From Comedian Kevin Nealon
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18 December 2017

That well-loved comedian and actor Kevin Nealon hikes the canyons of L.A. might not seem like news.

But Kevin recently started filming his hikes with other notable personalities in the biz and then uploading the results to YouTube.

The resulting series — which features Conan, Judd Apatow and Caitlyn Jenner, among others — is basically comedians without cars, getting exercise.

So we dialed Kevin to chat with him about how the series started, his L.A. trails of choice and the one thing you should never do while hiking in L.A.

InsideHook: How did this come about?

Kevin Nealon: Well, I like to hike in the canyons around L.A., and I invited Matthew Modine, a friend of mine, to go hiking with me one day. And as we were hiking, I thought it'd be funny if I was interviewing him and we were really out of breath, just thinking of a bit to do, where he couldn't understand my question because I was so out of breath and I couldn't understand his answer. But we’d keep going and then at the end we'd just be exhausted.

But during the hike, I was asking him regular things on the way down the hill and it was really interesting, about the amount of movies he'd turned down — Top Gun, Wall Street, Back to the Future — and we kind of laughed about it. I thought it'd be fun to do this every week. I have a lot of friends who are in the business, so I started calling them and they were into. Then I just started posting longer, fuller episodes on YouTube.

IH: Do you have a crew?

KN: It's just me, the interviewee and the selfie stick with my camera.

IH: What are your favorite trails?

KN: I've done a lot of them in Temescal because that's right near my house. But I realize now that the trails are narrow and steep, so it's hard to get the side-by-side. I've found other trails since then. The one I did with Conan was actually at the end of Amalfi Drive, up around there. I did a hike this morning that was with Caitlyn Jenner that was a lot of fun, up in the Malibu mountains — Tracas I think, which was a trail I'd never been on before. I liked Franklin Canyon, up where they filmed Mayberry R.F.D. You know that little pond up there? It’s shaded and pretty.

IH: The hike on Amalfi is home to the Murphy Ranch. Have you heard about this?

KH: No.

IH: You and Conan passed by a gate beyond which there's a hidden Nazi fort. Nazi sympathizers bought the land from Roy Rogers and had plans to build a compound for when Hitler invaded America. And after Pearl Harbor, the federal government intervened and they were arrested. The fort's still down there.

KN: Oh really?

When you're hiking up there, you can take a left and it's down a series of stairs.

KN: You can actually walk down there?

IH: Yes. There are plans to…

KN: Bomb Pearl Harbor again?

IH: No, to build a park.

KN: Oh, okay.

IH: You guys are celebrities, you're walking with a phone — I'd imagine that's a bit of a challenge if people walk by. Do you have ways of getting lost so you're not interrupted?

KN: Well, I think the best time to hike is on a weekday, in the morning. But it's been pretty good so far, even on the weekend. People are so focused on their hike and their conversations. A lot of times, they're not looking up, and we walk right by them.

IH: They might not if this becomes popular. What are your plans with this?

KN: I'm gonna keep going. I got a lot of people I want to hike with. I'm going to do Marty Short, I think, next week, and a couple other people lined up. And I think I want to try and just keep building up an audience of subscribers. I think it'll be like a TV series, though: there’ll be a season, 22 episodes maybe. I was just doing it out of love, and then people seemed to like it, so I'll keep doing it as long as I keep liking it.

Rapid-fire Yes or No … Naked hiking? Not yet. Not yet.

Bear spray? No. Hairspray, though. Today there was with Caitlyn Jenner.

SPF 50? Yes. Always.

Those five-toed sock shoes? I haven't seen those yet.

Hat? Yep. Hats are pretty common. I wear the same hat. It's like an army fatigue hat that seems to work pretty well. Although I do have those sunblock hats when I hike on my own, that have the drapes around them, that cover your face on the sides and the neck.

Hiking poles? No. No, hiking poles. Those are for skiing.

Selfie-stick? Yep. Although the first time I hiked with Matthew Modine, I just held the camera in my hand.

Flip-flops? No flip-flops.

CamelBak? Tiffany Haddish had a CamelBak. But at first, I thought it was a vape, but no, it was a CamelBak.

Vapes? Nobody's had a vape out there yet.

Map? No.

Radio without headphones? That's not really proper etiquette on a hike. Although, sometimes I'll be listening to an audio book or podcast or Howard Stern with my headphones. But it doesn't disturb anybody.

Stretching? No stretching for me. I find that I'm much better off — whatever I'm doing, whether it's sports or hiking — without stretching.

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