Paul Provenza

Paul Provenza was destined for a life in comedy. Since everyone laughed at him anyway, he figured he might as well make it look like it was his idea. By age 17, he was performing at New York's original Improv and doing stand-up. Provenza has now been a comedian for more than 30 years, leaving him with absolutely no other marketable skills whatsoever.

In 1983, Provenza made his first appearance on The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson. By the late 1980s, he appeared on every TV show with a desk and a host; opened for superstars in Las Vegas; and toured clubs, colleges and concerts across America. He wrote, co-produced, and hosted Comics Only for Comedy Central and by 1991 had a stand-up special Incredible Boy-Man on Showtime. He has in numerous TV shows including starred on The Pursuit of Happiness, Kid's Court, Facts of Life, Under the Influence, The West Wing, Beggars and Choosers, and played Fleischman's replacement in the final season of Northern Exposure, enraging the show's fans who still blame him personally for its demise.

Theater highlights include a Drama Desk Award for Best Actor for Only Kidding and directing Nigerian Spam Scam Scam and Kumail Nanjiani: UnpronounceableHe directed the Sundance and box office hit, The Aristocrats. He co-authored the book ¡Satiristas!,which spawned ¡Satiristas LIVE!, a comedy collective.

Provenza has consulted for JFL, curated comedy for Chicago's Lakeshore Theater, created the Free Speech Comedy series, and is a frequent panelist on NPR's Wait, Wait... Don't Tell Me.