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Getting his big break

Frankie Manes poses for a photo. Photo: Steve Palma
Frankie Manes poses for a photo. Photo: Steve Palma

Once a week, from 11:30 p.m. Saturday night to 1 a.m Sunday morning, viewers are given fresh entertainment from some of the best comedians and guest-starring musical performers through a variety show known around the world as “Saturday Night Live.”

For Pierce College student and film major Frankie Manes, 19, getting a chance to follow in the footsteps of well-known actors and comedians to become a cast member for “SNL” is all that he is working toward.

Manes graduated from Notre Dame High School in 2012 and hopes to transfer to University of Southern California or California State University, Northridge in the near future. He is also currently a member of the men’s volleyball team.

“I’m only here at Pierce right now to play volleyball and get my [general education] done,” Manes said.

Although Manes, as part of the volleyball team for Pierce, is helping them to a successful season, the athlete has a greater passion for comedy, film, and acting.

Manes seemed destined to land in the spotlight, as he is the child of successful actress Judy Kain, who has made appearances on hit shows “Mad Men,” “ER,” and “Friends,” to name a few.

“Although I prefer he not be an actor,” said Kain, referring to the harsh side of the acting business. “I’m in full support of him. I’m part of some of his videos and sometimes give him suggestions.”

Kain recalled the first time Manes grabbed his first job at the age of 4, taking a commercial job for Bob Evans Restaurants from her.

“I usually left Frankie with someone to watch him color or play Gameboy in the waiting room but that day he wanted to go in with me,” said Kain. “They thought we went in together as a mother-son duo, and he ended up with the callback.”

From that point on, Manes has been hooked. He has booked several commercial gigs, including a Cool Whip commercial that ran nationally for seven years. Just recently, he was in a nation-wide commercial for Lowe’s.

“I remember I went to school one day and someone was like, ‘Hey you’re the kid from the Lowe’s commercial.’ It was such a great feeling,” Manes said.

Although doing the commercials helped Manes with getting a familiarity for the acting business, it was his class clown attitude of “always do anything for a laugh” that directed him to the realm of comedy.

“He can be really annoying at times, but that’s because he is so passionate about getting people to laugh,” said longtime friend and YouTube partner Brian Kary, 19, who is majoring in film at Los Angeles Valley College.

Manes and Kary have only been working together for the past few months, but they have known each other since middle school and have a lot in common with one another, including the same birthdate.

“Right now YouTube is my main focus. Next year I’m hoping to gain enough followers and subscribers to become a YouTube partner and make some money,” said Manes.

Kary and Manes are usually seen meeting every night to bounce ideas off one another for the next sketch.

“We can either be on the exact same page or in completely different areas,” said Kary.

The comedy of former “SNL” cast members like Will Ferrell, Jimmy Fallon and Andy Samberg is what fuels Manes when it comes to writing some of his sketches and ideas for his YouTube channel.

“I just want to get right to the funny,” Manes said. “I’ve done my research and I want to cut as much of the fluff as possible.”

Much like Samberg, Manes is passionately working to get his name out to the public through Internet success. He hopes it will help propel him in the direction of landing a spot for “SNL.”

Manes is usually filming with his friends or editing at home alone motivated to reach his goal with a special quote always in the back of his mind: “success is the best revenge.”