18th July 2022
Interview & Editor-in-chief: Owen James Vincent
Photography: Vince Trupsin
Logo Design: Emily Curtis
This week’s cover story goes to a guy known for playing one of the most iconic sitcom characters in TV’s history alongside the loveable teenage witch, Sabrina. The one and only Nate Richert played Sabrina’s love of her life, Harvey Kinkle.
We got to do a fun photoshoot and interview with Nate discussing his time on Sabrina The Teenage Witch, behind-the-scenes gossip, and life after Sabrina.
Hi Nate! Thanks for talking to us at ReVamp Magazine and becoming our latest cover star! We have so much to talk about but first can we discuss how you got inspired to be part of the creative industry? We heard that you trained to be a dancer!
Yes! I grew up in Minnesota and, in addition to working as an actor, from age 7 to 17 I was in a dance school. Tap, jazz, ballet. Although it’s all just memories now, it was a formative experience for me. In the first year, at 7, I was a part of a trio that made it onto a show called “Star Search.” I got on again when I was 12. Both times I remember being very excited, but mostly because I watched Johnny Carson with my grandmother and Ed McMahon was the host of the show. Unfortunately, we lost both times and I’m pretty sure Ed hated kids. He reluctantly took a picture with us. I had a blast.
At a young age, the dance environment instilled in me a great amount of respect for people who struggle harder than others to find and express themselves. It was a realization I likely would not have had otherwise. The strength, courage, and resilience it takes so many people, just to be true to who they are, was (and is) inspiring.
I’m 44 now and I bought some tap shoes. Although they are still not quite broken-in, it all came back to me just like riding a bike that got left out in the rain for about 20 years. (I’m very rusty)
Entirely apart from dance, I had started auditioning around the age of 7. I did plays, commercials, and and print work out of Minneapolis. I remember thinking I was so cool because I would get called to my school’s office to get picked up for auditions (most of which I didn’t get). I still passed with good grades/marks because my parents always made sure I did all of my school work. When I was 17, I graduated high school and headed to Los Angeles with a manager and a small group of Minnesota actors.
In 1996 you starred as the loveable Harvey Kinkle in the popular TV show, Sabrina The Teenage Witch opposite Melissa Joan Hart. What was it like getting the part in such an iconic show?
It was absolutely my dream job. Every guest star we ever had on that show was everyone I watched growing up. We had half the cast of Cheers. Henry Winkler and Anson Williams (Happy Days) directed many of the shows. We had The Violent Fems, we had Blondie, Penn and teller, Dom DeLuise, Buddy Hackett, Fred Willard, the cast of Laugh-in, Steve Allen, Dick Van Dyke, Raquel Welch. Barbara Eden whispered dirty jokes in my ear. Good times. I was a kid in a candy store. Those were my people. I was so very lucky to be included in that amazing spectacle. I’ve always been predominantly a comedic actor and everything about that show was funny and fun exactly what I grew up dreaming about doing.
Do you have any funny behind the scenes stories from the show? And was there a scene or episode that you really enjoyed filming?
Everything Martin Mull. Martin played Mr Kraft and every single moment with him was great. He would crack everyone up, off the cuff, adding some silly comment, sometimes full monologues. One time he talked to the camera for five straight minutes very earnestly about the quality of television programming while wearing a leather jacket, punk hairdo, and nose ring chained to an earring.
Martin and I spent some time hanging out during our downtime. We played guitars together and even built some furniture in his garage. As a birthday gift, a friend who worked on the show gave me a framed photograph of me laughing at Martin as he went off script during the Inna Gadda Sabrina episode. I still have it. That was one of the most genuinely happy moments of my life. I was so lucky to be in the presence of such comedic genius. But that was just an average day back then.
With TV’s shows like That’s So Raven and Sex and the City that have come back on TV with a new chapter in the characters lives. If a TV production reached out to you and asked you to play a grown up version of Harvey for a new story of Sabrina. Would it be something you’d be interested in?
Of course. There are so many interesting things that could be done with that idea. There aren’t any shows on the air now that I can think of that are quite like it. There was always a moral message, iconic actors all around coming in as guest stars, and it was light and funny. Something I haven’t seen lately. But, if it never happens, I would like to see some programming like it.
After Sabrina finished in 2003 and Harvey and Sabrina ride off on the motorbike to live Happily Ever After. You started to focus on becoming a Director and directed short films such as Olivia’s Justice, Out To Lunch and Box O Christ. What made you decide to be behind the camera?
Pat McGinness was one of our camera operators on Sabrina and he taught me how to perform on camera. On day one, he called me over and had me look through the lens while my stand-in was on my mark. He explained to me, based on the distance to the camera and the size of lens, how big or small I needed to make my performance. Invaluable knowledge for an actor. That was in no way part of his job, but he looked out for me and took interest in teaching me. The cast and crew were most definitely a family.
There are so many moving parts to even the smallest production it always fascinated me. Out of that curiosity I developed a drive to learn about every aspect. At this point, I’ve developed, written, produced, directed, operated camera and sound, I edit, I’ve built sets, I’ve worked in locations, etc. I like to have as much firsthand knowledge as possible so, when I produce, I have a very firm grasp on what everyone needs and really create that family environment.
Auditioning actors, including myself, need video now. No more general meetings with casting directors, like it was when I first arrived in LA, so I love to work with fellow actors to create and shoot scenes/clips for our actor reels. I’m also a huge fan of sketch comedy. I grew up watching Monty Python, Kids in the Hall, In Living Color, SNL, so sometimes it’s just fun to make a silly fake commercial like “Box O Christ.”
You have been playing your guitar and focusing on music. You’ve released albums and singles in the last few years. What has been your favourite song to write?
I love songwriting. It’s something that I started while on the show because, for portions of the day, when they don’t need you, you end up sitting in your trailer. They call it “hurry up and wait.” What started out as a hobby eventually became playing a lot of Hollywood shows and even touring a bit.
I was fortunate enough to get a song in a commercial for Kerrygold Irish Dairy products. I was super excited because I happen to love their Dubliner cheese. The song is called “The Girl I Haven’t Met“ and they literally could’ve paid me in cheese. Boy, did they lose out there. That particular song comes to mind because I wrote it as a songwriting practice in an afternoon, recorded it on my laptop, and it got a job! A songwriter friend of mine said, “You can’t sell the art you don’t make.“ He also said, “Enjoy it, it’ll probably never happen again.“ …We’ll see.
Who are your musical inspirations?
So many. I love listening to older jazz, blues, bluegrass, folk-singers, classic rock, 80’s/90’s hip hop, and punk. Although I don’t play all of those particular genres, I’m influenced by all of them for sure. I’m often told I sound like Leon Redbone, John Prine, (and Tom Waits when I have a cold).
Lastly, have you got any messages you would like to say to your readers?
I would like to say thank you everyone so much for watching and being a part of our crazy Sabrina family. It’s an honor to entertain you!