When last I saw Allan Havey, he was resting easily at the comedians’ table in the back corner of the Olive Tree Cafe. It was a Sunday night in late June, and Havey was between stand-up gigs downstairs at the Comedy Cellar. That same night, millions of Americans saw Havey’s “Lou Avery” cross paths once more with Jon Hamm’s “Don Draper” in the sixth-season finale of Mad Men.
Turns out Lou is the new Don at Sterling Cooper & Partners.
Havey, 59, just couldn’t tell me or anybody else until Sunday night’s seventh-and-final-season premiere of Mad Men that he had gotten the gig — both in real-life 2013/2014 and onscreen in 1968/1969.
“Many thanks for all your kind words,” Havey told friends afterward. “I’ve been on a gag order for the last five months. Basically, I’ve been lying to everyone but my wife. That’s a weird world to live in. I’m the happiest and luckiest guy in Los Angeles.”
Well, not everybody has kind words for Havey’s character, Lou. Namely Peggy (Elisabeth Moss, pictured above), who misses Don and would rather be reporting to him than to Lou. As she explains in this behind-the-scenes of Sunday’s premiere episode (at the four-minute mark of this obviously spoiler-filled video): “The thing about Lou is that he’s just one of those guys that’s been in advertising forever. Lou wouldn’t stay up all night in the office, trying to get an idea right.”
But enough about Peggy. Let’s get back to Lou, aka Allan Havey.
In an interview with WTF with Marc Maron that originally aired in December, Havey said of preparing for his then-smaller role on Mad Men: “That’s what the job is. You are that person. Bring yourself to that part. ‘Oh, I’m going to learn a walk and a voice.’ No! It’s you. Mad Men is my favorite show. By far. And I love The Sopranos and Breaking Bad, but I just love Mad Men, because of that time. It’s a romantic period. Even with all the bullshit….You might as well have told me at six years old that I was going to be on The Honeymooners. That’s how excited I was to get on Mad Men.”
Earlier this year, you could have seen Havey joking about his wife/marriage on NUVOtv’s Stand Up & Deliver.
Recent years have been good to Havey’s acting career, what with guest-starring roles on Louie, The Office and Good Luck Charlie. He has many other guest-starring roles to his credit and a short-lived sitcom in 2006, too. But he never stopped doing stand-up, which first brought him to New York City in 1978, earned him multiple stand-up sets for David Letterman, two HBO “One Night Stand” specials, Comic Relief and more.
Of course, now that he has the Mad Men gig, he has spent more time in California (just like the show’s cast has begun to tilt toward the West Coast). Tonight, Havey will be headlining the weekly Mark Pitta & Friends at the Throckmorton Theatre in Mill Valley, Calif.
Pitta, promoting tonight’s gig, noted: “Allan told me that Jon Hamm said he used to watch him on Night After Night on Comedy Central.”
That was back in 1990-1991, so actually, he would have likely seen him on The Comedy Channel. Ha! No. Not Ha! The Comedy Channel, which soon thereafter merged with Ha! to form Comedy Central. You get it. Now who’s getting the last laugh? Seriously. Who’ll really get the last laugh between Havey and Hamm?
They’re going to make us have to watch the whole series to find out. No spoilers.
In the meantime, here’s a clip of Havey from Night After Night in April 1990, reminiscing about working the road as a stand-up comic in the early 1980s and getting $700 for 18 shows “that was good money back then” and a billing almost as good as the chicken wings.
In another clip from 1991, Havey sported a beard — take that, “Stan” — to interview a young Denis Leary.
Related: If you think I’m giving anything away by cluing you in to tonight’s show, know that Pitta’s weekly show in Mill Valley already was billed as “comedy’s worst-kept secret” by KQED-TV.