Gary Valentine: Career Highlights of the Stand-Up Comedian and Actor

Gary Valentine is an American actor and comedian, whose birth name is Gary Joseph Knipfing. Born on November 22, 1961, he has carved out a space for himself in the entertainment industry apart from being …

Gary Valentine

Gary Valentine is an American actor and comedian, whose birth name is Gary Joseph Knipfing. Born on November 22, 1961, he has carved out a space for himself in the entertainment industry apart from being known as the older brother of actor Kevin James. Valentine’s entry into the show business was through stand-up comedy, an area where he honed his craft before transitioning to the television screen.

His notability increased significantly with his portrayal of Cousin Danny on the popular sitcom “The King of Queens,” where he had the opportunity to work alongside his brother. Beyond his recurring role on the show, Valentine has been featured in various films and television series, showcasing his versatility as a performer.

In exploring his biography, one can see a trajectory of an individual who has committed to entertainment, building a body of work that resonates with audiences. With German ancestry from his family’s side, Valentine’s career reflects a blend of his cultural background and American comedic sensibilities, creating a unique identity for him in the acting and comedy circuits.

Early Life and Background

Gary Valentine’s roots trace back to Mineola, New York, where he was born into a family already destined to make a mark in entertainment through his brother, Kevin James. He embarked on a path of humor, honing his craft in stand-up comedy, which laid the foundation for his later ventures in television and film.

Mineola, New York

Born on November 22, 1961, in Mineola, New York, Gary Joseph Knipfing, known professionally as Gary Valentine, spent his formative years in this suburban enclave. Mineola was the backdrop for his early life, significantly shaping his future in entertainment.

Family Connections

Valentine is not the only celebrity in his family; he is the elder brother of Kevin James, a well-known American actor. This familial bond extends into his professional life, as Valentine portrayed the cousin of James’s character on the hit sitcom “The King of Queens.”

Stand-Up Beginnings

Valentine first stepped into the spotlight through stand-up comedy, a venture that would kick-start his career in the arts. His comedic style, reflecting his German ancestry and unique family perspective, resonated with many, leading to further opportunities in acting and television.

Career in Entertainment

Gary Valentine has made significant strides in the entertainment industry, particularly known for his television roles and his involvement in comedy, both on-screen and in live performance settings.

Television and Sitcoms

Valentine’s notable role as Danny Heffernan on The King of Queens marks a high point in his television career. This show, aired on CBS, featured him prominently across nine seasons. His character served as a comedic counterpart to his real-life brother, Kevin James’s character, Doug Heffernan. Additionally, Valentine showcased his talents on Men of a Certain Age, a critically acclaimed series that was written and directed by Ray Romano.


His foray into films includes parts in comedies such as Stuck on You and I Now Pronounce You Chuck and Larry. Valentine continued his collaboration with Kevin James in films like Paul Blart: Mall Cop and Zookeeper. These roles further cemented Valentine’s place in the comedy genre, displaying his versatility across various characters and scenarios.

Notable Films:

  • Stuck on You (2003)
  • I Now Pronounce You Chuck and Larry (2007)
  • Paul Blart: Mall Cop (2009)
  • Zookeeper (2011)
  • Home Team (2022)
  • Grumpy Old Santa (Upcoming)

Stand-Up and Comedy Clubs

Before stepping onto the silver screen and television sets, Valentine was a regular performer on the stand-up circuit. His stand-up career includes appearances on stages across the country and features on networks such as Comedy Central. Valentine, whose birth name is Gary Joseph Knipfing, initially connected with audiences through his humor, a testament to his enduring presence in the entertainment sector.

Collaborations and Relationships

Gary Valentine’s career features regular collaborations with a circle of actors and comedians, most notably within television shows and films produced by Happy Madison Productions. His recurring collaborations reflect not just work but familial and professional relationships developed over years in Hollywood.

Working with Prominent Actors

Valentine has often worked alongside his brother Kevin James, notably in the sitcom “The King of Queens” where he played Danny Heffernan, cousin to James’s character Doug Heffernan. Beyond family, Valentine has appeared with revered comedians such as Ray Romano and Jerry Seinfeld, enhancing his reputation in the comedy circuit.

TV Show Appearances

Throughout his career, Valentine has made guest appearances on various talk shows which include:

  • E!
  • Late Night with Conan O’Brien
  • The Tonight Show with Jay Leno
  • Chelsea Lately

These appearances have helped Valentine maintain a presence in the entertainment industry and solidify his connections within Hollywood’s comedic community.

Happy Madison Productions

Valentine’s work with Happy Madison Productions, owned by Adam Sandler, includes several film and television projects. He starred as Kyle Gable in “Kevin Can Wait”, a TV series once again pairing him with his brother, Kevin James. This collaboration stands as a testament to Valentine’s consistent presence in works associated with Sandler’s production company.

Personal Life and Other Endeavors

Gary Valentine’s personal life extends beyond his recognizable acting career. He harbors passions for music and literature, while also exhibiting an array of interests that delve into spiritual and the esoteric realms.

Music and Writing

Valentine’s musical influence is deeply rooted in the classic rhythms of the 70s. Notably, he is credited with writing the song “(I’m Always Touched by Your) Presence, Dear,” which became a hit for the American rock band Blondie. Blondie, a band later inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, encapsulates the essence of that era with their pioneering sounds. On the literary front, Valentine transitioned from his New York rocker lifestyle into literature and has been recognized as a contributing writer for the publication, New York Rocker: My Life in the Blank Generation.

Spiritual and Occult Interests

Gary Lachman, formerly known as Gary Valentine, has shown a profound interest in the metaphysical, focusing on topics concerning the occult and spirituality. His literary contributions, such as The Mystic Sixties and the Dark Side of the Age of Aquarius, have garnered attention for their in-depth exploration of esoteric philosophies. Lachman’s works are a testament to his devout research and dedication towards understanding the more mystical and arcane aspects of spiritual studies.

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