By Webteam - 6th December 2017 6:01am
Steven Alexander Wright (born December 6th 1955) is an American stand-up comedian, actor, writer, and an Oscar-winning film producer. He is known for his distinctly lethargic voice and slow, deadpan delivery of ironic, philosophical, and sometimes nonsense jokes, paraprosdokians, non sequiturs, anti-humour, and one-liners with contrived situations.
Wright began performing stand-up comedy in 1979 at the Comedy Connection in Boston. In 1982 executive producer of The Tonight Show Peter Lassally saw Wright performing on a bill with other local comics at the Ding Ho comedy club, in Cambridge's Inman Square, a venue Wright described as "half Chinese restaurant and half comedy club. It was a pretty weird place." Lassally booked Wright on NBC's The Tonight Show, where the comic so impressed host Johnny Carson and the studio audience that less than a week later Wright was invited to appear on the show again.
Wright's 1985 comedy album was entitled I Have a Pony. It was released on Warner Bros. Records, received critical acclaim and was nominated for the Grammy Award for Best Comedy Album.
The success of this album landed him an HBO special which he recorded as a live college concert performance, A Steven Wright Special. By then Wright had firmly developed a new brand of obscure, laid-back performing and was rapidly building a cult-like following of hip, savvy fans and an onstage persona characterised by an aura of obscurity, with his penchant for non-sequiturs and subdued, slowly-paced delivery style only adding to his mystique.
His opening act for the HBO concert was fellow "Ding Ho" comedy alumnus Bill Sohonage, who claimed that Steven's ultra-casual, nearly catatonic demeanour was no act. "He walked into my dressing room, minutes before I was to take the stage, and asked if he could borrow a shirt, as his had a giant pizza stain. You would think it might be normal to be a little nervous going on a college stage in front of 23,000, let alone having HBO out there filming, but as I passed by his room while walking on-stage I saw him sound asleep and loudly snoring." The performance would become one of HBO's longest running and most requested comedy specials, and would propel him to great success on the college-arena concert circuit.
Steven Wright was awarded an Oscar in 1989 for Best Short Live-Action Film for The Appointments of Dennis Jennings, which he co-wrote (with Michael Armstrong) and starred in. He received two Emmy nominations as part of the producing team of Louie, first in 2014 and again in 2015. In a 2005 poll to find The Comedian's Comedian, he was voted amongst the top 50 comedy acts by fellow comedians and comedy insiders. He was named No. 23 on Comedy Central's list of the 100 greatest stand-up comics.
"There's a fine line between fishing and just standing on the shore like an idiot."
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