And "A Few Good Men" -- Pollak played Lt. Sam Weinberg in the critically acclaimed military drama that also starred Tom Cruise, Demi Moore and Jack Nicholson in one of his best-remembered performances.
"That film was basically my being brought up to the majors," Pollak said.
Until that film, Pollak had been building a solid reputation with small parts on TV and film.
"Everyone else was wildly famous," he said, and then recounted the names of the people who had even just small roles in "A Few Good Men." Some of them, like Cruise, were practically household names.
"And the part I was playing was the conscience of the piece," he said. It was a huge turning point in his career -- and Tom Cruise, he added, turned out to be a pretty nice guy.
"He was ridiculously welcoming and generous. He made me feel like an equal from minute one," Pollak said. "As a stand-up comedian, you make me feel welcome and I'm going to make you pay for it." Pollak said he was free to poke, prod and tease the superstar pretty much at will.
Since "A Few Good Men," Pollak's career has blossomed. He's appeared in more than 60 films (he'd appeared in eight before), branched out into directing and has even written a book based on his experiences in Hollywood titled, "How I Slept My Way to the Middle: Secrets and Stories from Stage, Screen and Interwebs."
The book came as a kind of extension of his stage show, which began as impressions of famous people and gradually evolved to include actual encounters with some of the celebrities he met and worked with over the years.
Pollak said writing the book was a great experience for him.
"I found turning a real-life experience into a story with punch lines throughout it to be a new hobby, a new joy as a performer because I was speaking truth and speaking about my journey."
And that's a lot of what Pollak's comedy is about -- his journey and his wry observations on life, the universe and everything.
He still does the impressions too, but they've become kind of a parlor trick to him. Pollak said he even shows his audience how to do one.
The comedian keeps busy. Aside from finishing up editing and postproduction of his documentary, he has a couple of films he's supposed to appear in and a detective noir movie he's written that he plans to direct.
Want to go?
WHAT: Kevin Pollak
WHERE: Keith-Albee Performing Arts Center, Huntington
WHEN: 7:30 p.m. Oct. 28
TICKETS: $35 to $51
INFO: 800-745-3000 or www.ticketmaster.com
Reach Bill Lynch at ly...@wvgazette.com or 304-348-5195.