Hello, this is Matt Slick from the Matt Slick Live Podcast, where I defend the Christian faith and lay out our foundations of the truth of God's Word. Your chosen Truth Network Podcast is starting in just a few seconds. Enjoy it, share it, but most of all, thank you for listening and for choosing the Truth Podcast Network. It's time to man up. Try to condense this down, and my guest today, you might recognize, once I introduce him and say his name, you might recognize him from the movie God's Not Dead as Professor Jeffrey Radisson.
You might recognize him from the television series Hercules with his ripped physique back in the day, and I know he still keeps himself in shape now. Of course, with those two little hints, it's just such a pleasure to have Kevin Sorbel on the Man Up show today. Kevin, thank you for joining us.
My pleasure. It's good to reconnect after so many years. Yeah, well, speaking of which, I want to give our listeners a little back story on that, what you just said, reconnect, and actually, doing the math, and I'm no MIT graduate, but doing the math, 39 years from when you and I donned the same college campus, 39 years later, we connect. That's a little scary.
It's worth to see that number in writing. Yeah, exactly, and we're only really a few months apart in age, so we're really about the same age, but Kevin, I've got to tell, I've got to tell, I'll just try to do this quickly, I've got to tell this back story of a few years back where, you know, I get the MSU alumni newsletter, right? The Morehead State University, that's Morehead, Minnesota, not Minnesota, not Kentucky, but I get the newsletter, and I'm glancing through it, and like many men, I'm reading the headlines.
You know, I don't often read the fine print. That's just the way it is for me, and I see this big feature article about Kevin Sorbel, and I'm like, well, that's kind of weird. Why is my alma mater highlighting Kevin Sorbel? Of course, I knew you from the Hercules days and the TV show, and as I went on to read the fine print, I'm like, oh, wow, he went to Morehead State University. That's really cool, and then I continue to read, and I go, wait a minute, this guy graduated the same year I graduated. How did I not know this guy, right?
I'm like, this is crazy. So I call one of my former, one of my old college teammates, college roommates, Al Stramberg, and I don't know if he told you this story or not, Kevin, but I call Al, and I go, Al, I go, did you know this guy, Kevin Sorbel? And he goes, yeah, he goes, we hung out all the time, you know, and played poker on Friday nights and played golf and this, that, and the other, and I'm like, well, how come I never met this guy?
And he didn't play football or whatever, and he goes, well, that's easy, you didn't play poker and you didn't play golf, so you weren't invited. I was like, oh, well, thanks, Al, I really appreciate that, but, so I was just kind of blown away that we're on the same college campus, but yet, our paths never cross, but I know you had mentioned, I know when we were talking a few weeks ago, you had mentioned how Coach Olson, the defensive coordinator, would try to talk you into football, but anyway, so that's just a little back story there for, you know, for my introduction to meeting you. Well, I lived in the gym constantly, and I was, I probably, I was lifting weights, you know, an hour and a half, two hours every day, I was playing hoops every day, we had a great team with some of the other teammates there, with Jeff Wise and John Wiley and Marty Stukup and Al DeRozier, we were all in the same intramural basketball team, I played one year of basketball my freshman year, and then I just decided, you know, I was a jock in high school, played football, basketball, baseball, everything, but I just started in college, I just wanted to kind of just lay low, I loved working out, I was still lifting weights heavy, I got up to my Hercules size at 230 pounds by my sophomore year, and I just didn't have the drive anymore, I loved sports, I just didn't have the drive anymore, but I was in the gym, my gosh, constantly, I mean, we were in there all the time, in fact, one year, my senior year, I actually was roommates with Marty and Al DeRozier and those guys, so I had a lot of good memories at Fargo-Moorhead, my oldest brother went to Concordia, he was on a wrestling scholarship up there, actually, he took second in the nation in Concordia, would they be Division II then, Concordia, what would they be? Yeah, or maybe even NCAA Division, they might have declared NCAA, but yeah, they would have been Division II, of course, we played Concordia-Moorhead back in those days on our schedule every year, that was the big rival right down the road, yeah, it was, and man, you're just even mentioning those names, John Wiley and some of the guys, I'm like, man, it just brings back so many memories, and that's crazy, so you lived with them your senior year, I'm living with Al Stramberg and Michael Ekstrand, I don't know if you remember, so just, still, I knew all those guys, you must have been too locked up in just playing football, maybe you were studying too hard, I don't know, you know what, I think it's, Kevin, I think it's a combination of things, because believe it or not, like I look back, because I wanted to graduate on time, because I was a transfer, I transferred in from Golden Valley Lutheran College, believe it or not, I played JUCO ball there, and then transferred in, but, and then not all my credits transferred, so I wanted to graduate on time, so believe it or not, there was, and this was during one of the fall seasons, but in three quarters at Morehead State, I took 20, 22 and 23 and 23 credits per quarter. Wow. Yeah. Yeah, I was taking 16 a quarter, that's crazy, you were taking a super full load there, because 16 would have been probably what most people were taking.
Yeah, 16 is kind of the average for maybe those of you who didn't know, but I'm like, no, I'm like, man, I want to be able to graduate on time and move on and do my thing, and so, so yeah, I took, yeah. I got to tell you, it's so funny, because all those names you mentioned, I knew all those guys, I mean, we would go to Eastgate and Trader, you know, Trader and Trapper and all those mix office, I would go, I'd be hanging with those guys all the time, I knew you, I just follow you around there, I knew your name, I knew your other name that you had. Ah, yeah, people ask me all the time, they go, is that your real name? I go, yeah, it is, and they'll look at me kind of, some of them look sideways and they'll go, but is that your birth name? Because they're like, you don't sound very Russian, and I'll go, well, that's a different answer. I go, but the key to Kolov is my legal name, and I'll tell them, they go, well, what's your other name?
I go, I can't give you that for free, I got to make you work for that by the book, you know. But, so, so you, see that just, again, that just blows my mind, because if you were in the gym that much, and I was as well, because, you know, like you just said, it was a combination of me trying to graduate on time and just, you know, in my studies, but also spend a lot of time in the weight room and consumed with football. I mean, my passion, you know, my desire was to play pro football, and of course, Mark Reed, probably, I know you know that name. Mark Reed, well, Mark Reed, we get together every summer back in Minnesota.
I played golf with Marty and Jeff Wise and John Wiley, we played golf every summer together back in Minnesota. Well, see, that's just unbelievable. I'm just like, how have we not met really officially, you might say, before now, but that just, for me, it just highlights even more of the story.
It just makes it that much greater for me. Well, it's pretty funny. I mean, I was there, I mean, I was, you know, we had a team called GFC, so it was good effing team, intramural team, and we went undefeated three straight years in a row. That's got a good college name to it.
Oh, yeah. We were a three-time intramural champ, and they actually, there was a, Thunder Bay, Ontario came down, there's a college up there that had heard about us, somehow they'd heard about us. They came down to play. So this was an actual Canadian basketball team that came down to play us in a game on a Saturday afternoon. And we had about, I think about 200 people showed up because they made a big deal on campus.
We beat these guys 125 to 75. Oh, my gosh. Oh, my gosh. Well, I think that's part of it, too, because I couldn't dribble a ball if my life depended on it, like for real. Like, I was that guy that would, if I took my eyes off the ball, it went somewhere else and I couldn't find it, you know. So, and I remember all those guys, you know, playing ball, playing basketball and all that, and so that's just, it is, it's just amazing to me. And, of course, the Dragons, we had some, especially with Reed at quarterback, and then even the following year, we had, it's a pretty decent football team. So I was fortunate to be a part of those.
No question. I'm going to throw one name at you, you're in Golden Valley. One of my high school buddies played basketball at junior college here at Golden Valley, Dale Wombledorf. I don't know if you remember that name. I remember the name. So you played for Flip Saunders?
Yeah. Flip? I went to Flip Saunders basketball camp back when I was like ninth and tenth grade, a couple weeks under Gus Davis every year, every summer. This is even getting more crazy, because when Flip graduated from the University of Minnesota, his first coaching job was Golden Valley Lutheran College. And I tell people this too, Kevin, I go, I went to Golden Valley, I go, I didn't go to learn about Jesus, you know, even though it was a Bible college, because you were one or the other. You were either what we call Bible thumpers or jocks over at Golden Valley, right?
And it was only about 500 students maxed there, and you were one or the other, and it was pretty obvious which one you were. And when Flip came in, man, we hung out, I can't even, I don't even remember how many games of Horse and Pig and everything. I played with Flip, and with security for the basketball team in the winter, and yeah, I remember that, I for sure remember that name.
Absolutely I do. That's crazy. Yeah. I think next year he went to South Dakota State. Not only did we end up then on the same college campus, but we really kind of, which is funny too, kind of grew up next door to each other. Mound, Minnesota for you, right? Yep.
Mound, Minnesota, and of course I started out in Minneapolis, then went out to Robbinsdale High School, and so you're from Mound, Minnesota. And I would like to, you know, as we kind of move beyond our reminiscing about our college days to, I'd like the audience to know a little bit about your family. Of course I know your bride, you're married to Sam, right? Your bride?
Yep. And she, boy, she is, she's written some books, and what all is, and of course I know she's doing some acting with you as well. What all is she doing, Kevin?
Well she's busy, I'll tell you. You see the best selling book on Amazon this year, it's called Words for Warriors, and it's pretty much the opposite of Saul Alinsky's book about rules for radicals. Words for Warriors is really a pro-American book, you know, in the crazy world we're living in right now with all these people living in our country that'd rather burn our flag, that I think the ignorance and the education system has brainwashed so many people out there.
Right. So she's trying to give people some positive reinforcement about, you know, how to fight back for the cancel culture and the woke world right now, because it's just crazy what we're doing to each other out there. It's just insane. And she, but her main thing is really home education. We've been homeschooling our kids for 11 years now. I got boys 20 and 17, my daughter's 15, and we're just very busy, you know, she travels the world, and her book is called They're Your Kids, and it's a wonderful book about how to home educate your children, which we need to get to, because COVID, we found out how horrible our public schools really are. I kind of knew how bad they were for a long time, but people finally woke up and stuff, you know, said, hey, we can't just keep using this as a babysitting device for our kids. You know, these kids are just being totally brainwashed in our public education system all through universities right now.
It's crazy. Well, almost from start to finish, you might say, right? And that is one thing that, positive thing that came out all day, right, is like you said, is that parents were introduced to the curriculums that were being taught in schools, which they may not have, or most likely had not been paying that much attention to, right? So she's got, give the titles of the books again. Words for Warriors, the other one is They're Your Kids, and we have another book, we have a book that came out together, I wrote a book about eight years ago called True Strength, and then we wrote a follow-up together to that book called True Faith, and that came out this year as well. And all of those, of course, can be found on Amazon. Yeah, or they can go to sorbostudios.com, sorbostudios.com, all kinds of information, my website, my wife's website were all put together there, so one-stop shopping for people, and then go with not only books, but my DVDs, there's all kinds of information on there, things coming down the pipeline, it's a good place to go.
And we'll make sure everyone knows that at the conclusion of the shows as well. So she's writing books, you got the three children, what are your children's names? I got Brayden, who's the 20-year-old, I got Shane, who's 17, and my daughter's name is Octavia, and my 20-year-old, he just turned 20, has really gotten into lifting weights the last two years. I'm 6'3", he's now 6'5", and he's 230 pounds and growing, I mean, he just set a personal best on the deadlift at 495 pounds, and he's got personal best on the bench at 280, and he'll be well over 300 soon, I mean, this guy's totally under the weightlifting right now. So he's, in a sense, following in Dad's footsteps. Yeah, I think he's passing me. He's surpassing Dad. Well, definitely a 6'5", that's for sure, and already matched what sounds like what you weighed back in the Hercules days, and back in college, but Kevin, let's talk about, if we can just kind of give the audience a snapshot of kind of your spiritual journey.
I mean, you mentioned some of the books and homeschooling and some of the things you're doing, but at what point were you a believer back in college, or when did that transition happen, because you're very outspoken in your faith, and your wife, and the world knows that. When did that happen, how did that happen, when did that happen? Nikita Kolov, the Russian nightmare here for Crescent Automotive. If buying a car is a nightmare for you, my friends, Brian and Jamie Johnson at Crescent Automotive make it simple to find your pre-owned dream car with no hassle, affordable windshield pricing. No matter where you live, they will get your American dream car to you, baby. DriveCrescent.com is all you need to know. Their whole inventory is right there with the right price.
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This is Nikita Kolov, and I want to thank Clements Carpet for supporting my new show, Man Up, Saturday afternoon at 1230 on the Truth Network. Well, for me, my spiritual growth happened growing up as a young kid. My parents, typical Minnesota, we were Lutherans. St. John's Church there in Little Mound, Minnesota, on the western shore of Lake Minnetonka, of course.
So it's all sort of been there for me, but there was certainly a point that stayed with me my whole life. When I was 13 years old, we took a big field trip to see the Reverend Billy Graham speak at the St. Paul Fairground. It was a hot August night and we were outside. There had to be 300,000 people. It was unbelievable.
Obviously, people that know Reverend Billy Graham, they know he commands quite a crowd. For some reason, because I wouldn't normally do this, but when he called up, he said, hey, I've got a lot of volunteers up here if you want to come up and just pray or talk or just hang out, come on up. For some reason, I just stood up and walked up there. I got up there and sat on the ground in the grass. I'm talking to this guy. I was 13.
This guy was 30, so I thought he was really old, right? We're sitting there talking. I'll send a hand right on my head. I turned around and it was the Reverend Billy Graham. That's something you don't forget in your life. It was a full moon.
Here's the amazing thing. His head was perfectly eclipsing the moon. All you see was the glow of the moon in a circular around his head. It was like, you hear the angels go, oh. The moment that it stuck with me. I told that story on the Larry King show. It was on Larry King one time.
Then I get a call from Billy Graham's people out of Dallas, his publicity team. They said, the Reverend Graham saw your story and he loves it. Chicken Soup for the Soul is doing 101 stories on his life. It's the only time Chicken Soup for the Soul ever did a hardcover book.
It's always been paperback. They said, would you be one of the 101 stories? I said, I'd be honored. I did it.
Once it was published, they came to me and said, the Reverend would love it if you would go out and do the publicity for him. He can't do it. He's well in his 90s.
He's in the last stages. I was like, are you kidding me? They flew me around the country. I did all the talk shows and radio for him for about a week and a half. It was an honor. It was pretty cool. That is.
I know Mark Victor Hansen has a lot of great Chicken Soup books for many audiences. That is very, very cool. What a memory, though. I'm just getting a visual of that. I hope the rest of the audience got a visual of that. Full moon.
Reverend Graham standing there. You had that encounter. That impacted your life. Tell us, how did you meet Sam?
How did that happen? When I made the move to LA and went through the grind and all the acting classes and thank God for commercials, I was one of the lucky ones. I never had to do any other.
I never had a bartender bounce or do anything when I got to LA. I got a lot of commercial work. When I finally booked the series Hercules, that sent me down to New Zealand. Originally, it was going to be five two-hour movies. By the third movie, Universal Studios called and said, we love this.
There's nothing like it on TV. We're going to make a series out of it. Pardon the sin of pride here, but by season three, we became the most watched TV show in the world in 176 countries. My wife came down to guest star in season five, and that's how we met. We met on the set of Hercules.
For me, it was a lightning bolt immediately. I've always been a huge flirt, so I was working on her right away. She goes, Kevin, I don't date actors and I don't date guys with long hair. I said, well, I'm making pretty good living with the long hair right now, I joked with her. I wore her down. We got engaged within six months and married a year later. Here we are 20, 23 years later and three kids. We're still rocking and rolling it. That's how we got together. That's awesome. For those of you listening out there, there's something to say about persistence.
You persisted in your pursuit of the damsel. And she played a princess in that episode. Oh my gosh, are you kidding me?
Oh my gosh, that's awesome. Like I said at the opening of the show, from movies to television to video games, there's so much to talk about, which we're going to have to do a part two. But leading up to some of that, let's talk about at what point, Kevin, did you go to Morehead State University for acting?
You didn't, right? No, I had a double major in marketing and advertising. But I pursued lightly a minor in drama, so I would go in these classes and meet and talk and all that kind of stuff with the teachers. I was a business-minded guy, so I figured with a double degree in marketing and advertising, that's what you do when you go out to L.A. If you're an actor, you're marketing and advertising yourself. You're trying to brand yourself, right? Yeah, I mean there was a buddy of mine that actually played, I was up in Morehead the first two years, too.
He was on another one of my quarterbacks from high school, Mark Muth, and then he transferred to the University of Minnesota, but he was our quarterback on our high school team. But he said, he goes, Sorbs, remember, it's called show business, not so-so. And that was all stuck with me.
It is a business. I treated it as such. I was on top of everything about things that I was right for, and I'd be bugging my agent all the time, saying, why am I not on this audition for this? I remember one agent saying, Kevin, I have a hundred other clients. I said, I don't give a crap about your other clients.
Do you think they care about me? My mantra was, let me have the opportunity to be rejected, okay? Let me go on there.
Not let you decide if I get a chance to go to something that I'm right for. So I was diligent, man. I just kept on plugging away. I learned some basic caddy at Oak Ridge Country Club. It was a Jewish country club in St. Louis Park. And I'd meet all these guys. My dad was a school teacher. I'm the fourth of five kids. We didn't have any money, but my parents, I never felt I was without stuff. I knew there was rich kids in my school that lived on the Lake Minnetonka.
But I was never envious of that. That was a goal for me. And I remember talking to these guys saying, how do you become rich?
These guys I'm caddy. How do you become successful? Every single one of them said the same thing. Oh, Kevin, I failed. And then I failed again, and I failed some more.
And so I tell people as an actor, I'm a 13 year overnight success. There's a lot of no's in the business, but you got to look at failure and no's as a positive instead of negative. And I think that's what holds so many people back, that they don't push themselves to have success in their lives. So they sit there and blame God, family, friends of the world. And then they become bitter.
And then they become part of Antifa and the woke culture, right? To me, it's like, you got to fight through things because God never promised an easy life for any of us. So you're always going to have roadblocks in your life on how do you react to those roadblocks. That's kind of the way I looked at it.
Well, that's a great approach. And really, even for our audience, if you take this away today, we're joking about his persistence in pursuit of Sam, but obviously Kevin's persistence in pursuing an acting career and his willingness to fail and or be rejected, if you will, but not take it personal and being an overcomer. I mean, that's what I'm hearing. You were an overcomer. We got just a couple minutes left. And like I said, man, there's so much that we're going to bring you back for part two and talk more about your movie career, your television career, some of the other things, and including some of the things, maybe the projects you're currently working on, Kevin. And again, what you just said, I hope our listeners really take that to heart because that is one key. We're not promised. There's a lot of promises, but we still have to go out and work for it, right?
Oh yeah, you have to. I say follow your dreams, as corny as that is, because you hear it from everybody. There's a lot of truth in that. And a lot of people give up on their dreams. They get older and things haven't happened the way they want. I think a lot of people just become bitter because life didn't turn out the way they were hoping it would turn out. But as I said, God never promised an easy life for any of us. And we just got to just plug away and make your own happiness. Otherwise, you're just going to be one sad soul for a long time. That's not any way to go through life.
No, it's not. And be encouraged by that. I hope you're encouraged by this conversation that Kevin and I are having today. And we're going to have you tune in for part two because I know you're going to want to hear not only some of the other things he's accomplished in that persistency, but also some of the current projects that he's working on.
And he's got some amazing things coming up here in the future. Let's give one 30-second teaser, Kevin. I know you just wrapped up a movie, right? You just finished a movie.
I did. I finished the Reagan movie with Dennis Quaid. He plays Reagan. I played his pastor in it. It's going to come out next spring. And I'm looking forward to that and see what happens with it. I've got one in theaters right now called The Girl Who Believes in Miracles, a wonderful family movie.
I shot that with Mero Sorvino and Peter Coyote. People can look up those names. I'll recognize a lot of movies that they've done in the past as well. And yeah, I'm fortunate to keep on staying busy. I make myself busy.
I'm my own production company. And I don't sit around. I love to stay busy. I hate not working.
It drives me crazy. Yeah, and I want to talk more. I get it. You and I, I can relate.
It must be the Minnesota upbringing for us. Because that's something I want to talk about when we come back on part two is how receptive, I think our listeners would want to know, how receptive is the Hollywood world when one's an outspoken Christ follower? So when we come back, we're going to talk about that.
Hey, listen, I hope you're enjoying this conversation with Kevin Sorbo, aka Hercules, as well as many, many, many other characters. And as you just heard a little bit of his testimony, a little bit of his story, man, if you don't know Jesus, can I encourage you wherever you're at, wherever you're listening to this right now, just hit the pause button. Just pause.
Don't close your eyes if you're driving, but just pause. And I want to encourage you to surrender your life to Jesus. And I mean, you won't regret making that decision. There is no promise of tomorrow. Hey, there's no promise of 20 minutes from now.
You may slip on a banana peel or choke on a breakfast burrito. So that's the importance of having a relationship with Jesus. Hey, tune in again for part two with Kevin Sorbo coming back at you very soon. Men, I would like to challenge each of you to consider spending five days with Lex Luger and I at Man Camp, pursuing the heart of God. Ladies, if you're listening, we'll send your men home better equipped to be men of God, godly husbands and godly fathers.
That appeals to you. Give them your blessing and encourage them to sign up today at mancamp.info. Pastors, if you would like to bring Koloff for Christ Ministries and Man Up Conference to your community, go to koloff.org and email me.
Remember this, it's time to man up. We so appreciate our listeners. If you will support this program with a financial gift of any amount, I will send you a personalized copy of my latest book, Nikita, A Tale of the Ring and Redemption. Go to koloff.net. That's koloff.net, koloff.net, and make your contribution today. Nikita Koloff here.
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