With all that has happened at the L.A. Weekly in the past few weeks, there has been plenty of backlash and anger about the future of our city’s alternative weekly. But there have been advocates, supporters and fans of L.A. Weekly among various media personalities, one such being KFI radio talk show host Tim Conway Jr.
“L.A. Weekly is doing some great articles,” Conway said during an on-air interview on his KFI show just before Christmas. “I really think the L.A. Weekly is at the forefront of all the corruption and craziness in L.A., and they also have their ear to what’s coming up culturewise, music and everything else in between. And the circulation is still big — a lot of people read that paper.”
Conway was a host on FM talk station KLSX 97.1 until the station changed to an all-music format in 2009. Since 2010, he’s been hosting a weeknight talk show on KFI AM 640, home to the likes of Bill Handel and The John and Ken Show.
Conway is the son of legendary comedian Tim Conway, best known for The Carol Burnett Show. He, too, is comedic by nature, and has a laid-back casual talk show that balances local news, entertainment, human interest and important political issues. “My producers, Sharon and Mondo, make my show happen,” Conway said. “They do all the hard work of throwing it all together; I’m just a guy who sits here and talks.”
With a witty, smart-ass, at times apolitical approach to his show, Conway tracks stories including news, tech, sports, the economy and entertainment. He is a family man and genuinely good guy who frequently proves he has a huge heart by doing a lot for his show’s younger callers.
A good example is when Conway helped a local 11-year-old in November 2016. When the boy, who has congenital heart disease, revealed that his father had just died and his mother was still paying for the funeral, Conway helped start a GoFundMe, which raised more than $34,000 for the family, who took a trip to Disney World. This philanthropy is no outlier. The show gives away prizes weekly to younger people, including tickets and gift certificates for ice cream.
Conway’s generosity always comes out during the holiday season. He was an integral part of the station’s annual Pastathon to help fund Anaheim restaurant owner Bruno Serato’s charity, which feeds 3,500 homeless children each weeknight in L.A. and Orange counties. This year, KFI funded more than 33 tons of pasta and raised $366,000 in cash, which went to the nonprofit Caterina’s Club, which serves meals at 62 locations in L.A., Long Beach and Orange counties.
Conway openly admits that he was something of a stoner in his college and post-university days. “I used to be really into weed, and when I was right out of college I used to hit it pretty good,” he said. “I remember after a couple hits, I used to listen to The John and Ken Show on KFI back in the day, and that show after a few hits, man, it really opens your mind and you start to think of their genius, they are on top of things,” Conway said of his KFI peers.
“But since I had my daughter 12 years ago, I slowed it down,” Conway said. “Back in the day, you used to get a little buzz, but it’s not like that anymore. I think Adam Carolla said it the best: 'If you smoke the weed today, next thing you know, you’ll end up nude in the desert looking for turtles.'”
Conway said he thinks the strains and cannabis concentrate overdo it. “You can get too high. I like to get a little buzzed, but I don’t like being paranoid,” he said. “They say there are two kinds of high, the body high and the mental high, but for me, it doesn’t matter. I get paranoid, I think the cops are out to get me, I think I’ll go broke or lose my job or something.”
Still, he says he doesn’t mind people who partake in cannabis. “I don't mind people smoking at all. I’ve never seen two guys stoned in a bar fighting, it’s always the guys with the liquor fighting.”
Conway admits there is positive and potential negative to the drug. “It’s a natural weed, it’s not synthetic like heroin or cocaine,” he said. “I am not sure, long-term, how safe it is, but I am 100 percent sure you can become addicted to it. But it also helps a lot of cancer patients and kids who are sick with leukemia. As medicine, I have heard success story after story, so I am all for it.”
Conway said that he is excited about legalization finally coming to California, following in the footsteps of states like Oregon, Colorado and Nevada. But he doesn’t think, just because California law now allows recreational use for adults over 21, that everyone in society will start getting stoned. “I think there will be a small spike, and maybe people might get into it that weren't into it before,” he said. “But I think that the people that get high will still get high, and the people in robotics that want to put a spaceship on Mars that can’t afford to get high will keep on not getting high.
“If the percentage of people getting high right now is, let’s say 25 percent, it’s not gonna jump to 80, it might go up to 27 percent then go back down to 25 eventually.”
The Tim Conway Jr. Show is heard weeknights 6 p.m. to 10 p.m., on KFI AM 640, and through the IHeartRadio App.