Pollak was born in San Francisco, California, to a Jewish family. He is the youngest son of Elaine Harlow and Robert "Bobby" Pollak. He has one older brother, who lives with his family in Boston, Massachusetts. He attended high school at Pioneer High School in San Jose, California.
As an actor, Pollak's most notable roles are usually playing the best friend or confidant characters to the leading men, as he did in Ricochet (1991), A Few Good Men (1992), End of Days (1999), and The Wedding Planner (2001). However, he has also played a wide variety of parts, such as a criminal in The Usual Suspects (1995) and a gangster in The Whole Nine Yards (2000). He also briefly hosted Celebrity Poker Showdown in its first season. His most substantial role to date was in Deterrence (1999), in which he played the main character, a Vice President who must take over for a deceased President and deal with a nuclear crisis.
In December 2006, he played Karl Kreutzfeld in the Sci Fi Channel miniseries The Lost Room. Through 2008, he had a recurring role as a District Attorney on the television series Shark. In March 2008, Pollak played himself in the web series The Writers Room on Crackle. In 2010, he portrayed Sheriff Tom Wagner in Choose.
In January 2010, Pollak was scheduled to host Our Little Genius on FOX, but the series was pulled before it could air on television. Pollak was then seen hosting Million Dollar Money Drop, again on the FOX network at the end of 2010.
In 2014, Pollak began a recurring role as Alvin Biletnikoff on the CBS sitcom Mom. However, his time on the show was cut short by the death of his character.
Pollak's directorial debut was on the horror web series Vamped Out, featured on the internet television platform Babelgum. Jason Antoon, Seana Kofoed, Samm Levine and Pollak all acted in the ensemble cast. The screenbook was based on a simple joke that Antoon and Pollak had between them. Most recently, Pollak's feature film directorial debut, the comedy documentary Misery Loves Comedy, premiered at the 2015 Sundance Film Festival. The film sold North American rights to Tribeca Film, a US distribution company.
Pollak directed the comedy film The Late Bloomer, which was released in 2016.
As a comedian, Pollak's most famous work was his 1992 HBO special Stop With the Kicking, directed by fellow comedian David Steinberg and produced by comedy writer Martin Olson. In July 2009, The Littlest Suspect, his most recent comedy special, was aired on Showtime.Woody Allen
Robert De Niro
In April 2009, Pollak partnered with Jason Calacanis on a weekly Internet talk show, Kevin Pollak's Chat Show. Guests for the show include film directors Kevin Smith and Mike Binder, comedians Jimmy Pardo and Bill Burr, and actors Nia Vardalos, Illeana Douglas, Bryan Cranston, Dana Carvey, Matthew Perry, Jon Hamm, Paul Rudd, Adam Carolla, Anthony Cumia, Jason Alexander, Seth MacFarlane, Tom Hanks, and Jason Lee.
The guest interviews are very in-depth and typically longer than an hour in duration, sometimes exceeding two hours. Common topics include the guests' childhoods, how they got into the business they are in (typically show business), how they got inspired to start certain creative endeavors, and unique experiences they have had while working. Viewers can interact via chat room during the show, and sometimes questions for the guest posed in the chat room are answered live.
The show's self-described "Paul Shaffer" is actor Samm Levine.
Recurring segments and bits on the show include:"The Larry King Game", which requires the guest to do a bad Larry King impression, reveal something about oneself (in the persona of Larry King) and then go to the phones and say a funny-sounding city
"Tweet Five," where Pollak reads the guest five questions from a Twitter user, usually in a this-or-that style
"Who Tweeted", in which a host (typically Samm Levine) reads tweets from the Twitter accounts of three female celebrities (the list of actresses varies, but typically includes Demi Moore (or, more recently, Justin Bieber), Tyra Banks, and Paris Hilton) and Pollak and his guest compete against each other game-show-style to guess who authored each tweet.
"You're Not Buffering", in which Pollack freezes mid-statement during his interview as though the show has paused due to internet lag, but he's actually still live. He then breaks his pause and says, "You're not buffering." Although a simple gag, it's humorous and characterizes Pollack's dry humor.
In 2012, Pollak began a new podcast called Talkin Walkin in which he spends an hour or more with a new guest in character as Christopher Walken. After three episodes, the show was rated in the top 5 of all comedy podcasts by iTunes.