yellow slicker 1974?

At Camp Modin with Craig Wedren, 1985

on the set of Wet Hot American Summer with Amy Poehler, 2000

Shooting The Ten in Mexico with Justin Theroux & Gretchen Mol, 2006

Shooting Wainy Days with Elizabeth Banks. 2007

Basically here’s my life story:

I grew up in Shaker Heights, Ohio, then after high school came to New York and went to NYU. 

While there I met a bunch of guys (and one girl) and we formed a comedy troupe called The New Group.  We did live sketch shows and short films and I got a chance to write, direct, perform and edit comedy in collaboration with my friends.  I’ve continued to do that in the years since then, largely with this same group of college pals.

Upon graduation, we changed the name of The New Group to THE STATE and, through a series of lucky breaks, ended up with our own series on MTV.  That went well for a few years, until we made a move to CBS which imploded and ultimately de-activated (without ever officially breaking up) the group.  But we all stayed friends and kept working together.  (In fact, all eleven of us reunited for several recent live shows, and the MTV series is now available on DVD.)

At around the time The State was fizzling (1997), three its members (Michael Ian Black, Michael Showalter and myself) started a weekly nightclub comedy show at Fez Under Time Cafe called STELLA which ran until 2005.  As hosts of this show our trio developed into a comedy troupe of its own, eventually spawning a bunch of shorts, a Comedy Central series and a live show that still (sporadically) tours the country to this day.

In 2001 I directed WET HOT AMERICAN SUMMER, a movie co-written and co-produced by Michael Showalter and myself.  The movie is about the last day of summer camp in 1981 and features Janeane Garofalo, David Hyde Pierce, Molly Shannon, Paul Rudd, Christopher Meloni, Michael Showalter, Michael Ian Black, Amy Poehler, Marguerite Moreau, Zak Orth, A.D. Miles – and in their first film roles, Elizabeth Banks and Bradley Cooper.  I’m thrilled that the movie still maintains a loyal and active following among the coolest comedy nerds in coffee shops and college dorms across the land, so much so that we've been able to reunite the cast in two Netflix series, Wet Hot American Summer:  First Day of Camp, and Wet Hot American Summer: Ten Years LaterTen Years Later (coming this summer).

The second movie I directed was THE TEN (2007), produced and written with Ken Marino.  It’s ten comedic stories, each inspired by a different one of the ten commandments, featuring Paul Rudd, Winona Ryder, Gretchen Mol, Rob Corddry, Famke Janssen, Jessica Alba, Liev Schreiber, Oliver Platt, Adam Brody, Ken Marino, Justin Theroux and many more.

My first big(ger) budget studio movie, ROLE MODELS, starring Paul Rudd, Seann William Scott, Jane Lynch, Christopher Mintz-Plasse, Bobb’e J. Thompson and Elizabeth Banks, was released in 2008. It was a Critics Choice nominee for Best Comedy.

The next movie was WANDERLUST, which I directed, produced and co-wrote with Ken Marino.  Starring Paul Rudd, Jennifer Aniston, Alan Alda, Justin Theroux, Malin Akerman and many other hilarious people.

In between the bigger projects, I’ve written, directed and/or performed on lots of TV shows (e.g. Broad City, Party Down, Bob's Burgers, New Girl, Mad TV, The Daily Show, Best Week Ever, Tim & Eric’s Awesome Show, Strangers with Candy) and a few movies.

My whiny voice can be heard as “The Warden” on the Adult Swim animated series SUPERJAIL, and I created & starred in around 40 episodes of my web series WAINY DAYS, which is a (lightly) fictionalized account of my quest to meet women in New York.

Also on Adult Swim was CHILDRENS HOSPITAL, a show I developed with Rob Corddry and Jonathan Stern, for which I was executive producer, writer, director and actor. The show won several Emmys and ran seven seasons.  This same team also created two seasons of a spin-off series, NEWSREADERS.

A few years ago was the movie THEY CAME TOGETHER,  which I co-wrote with Michael Showalter, starring Amy Poehler and Paul Rudd. And the latest one is A FUTILE AND STUPID GESTURE, a biopic about National Lampoon founder Doug Kenney, starring Will Forte, Domhnall Gleeson and Emmy Rossum, now streaming on Netflix! 

In my (somewhat) real life I lived in New York for 26 years, a few blocks from my first NYU dorm room, but now (along with my two sons) am giving L.A. a try.  

(if you want a more formal third-person bio that is here)


Senior prom: Alan, Ari, Stuart, me. 1987

The State in 1996 (Todd Holoubek, Michael Showalter, David Wain, Joe Lo Truglio, Thomas Lennon, Michael Showalter, Kerri Kenney, Ken Marino, Michael Patrick Jann, Ben Garant, Kevin Allison)

STELLA (me, Michael Ian Black, Michael Showalter) 2005

On the set of Role Models. Allie Stamler, David Wain, Christopher Mintz-Plasse, Elizabeth Banks, Ken Jeong, Paul Rudd, Peter Salett, Matt Walsh, Joe Lo Truglio) 2007

Wet Hot American Summer cast at SF Sketchfest Jan 2012 (Ken Marino, Marguerite Moreau, Molly Shannon, Michael Showalter, Michael Ian Black, Amy Poehler, Joe Lo Truglio, David Wain, Paul Rudd, Christopher Meloni, Samm Levine)
photo by Seth Olenick