PROFILE
Name:
Michael Showalter
Birth Date:
June 17, 1970
Birth Place:
Princeton, New Jersey, USA
Nationality:
American
BIOGRAPHY
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The State

Background:

Comedian, actor, writer, and director Michael Showalter was first noticed as a member of comedy troupe “The State,” with whom he co-starred in a MTV show of the same name that aired from 1993 to 1995. He then formed a new comedy troupe called “Stella” with David Wain and Michael Ian Black and starred in their own show on Comedy Central in 2005. Besides “The State” and “Stella,” TV viewers could catch Showalter on "The Daily Show with Jon Stewart," in which he served as a correspondent from 1996 to 1997, co-starring with Jason and Randy Sklar in the short-lived MTV sitcom, sketch comedy, and stand-up television show "Apt. 2F" (1997) and playing arrogant sportscaster Ron Parker on ESPN’s Classic sports comedy "Cheap Seats without Ron Parker" (commonly shortened to "Cheap Seats") from 2004 to 2006. He has also guest-starred in such TV series as "Law & Order," "Buzz Lightyear of Star Command" and "Sex and the City."

Showalter also co-produced, co-wrote, and co-starred in the cult comedy film "Wet Hot American Summer" (2001) and wrote, directed, and starred in the romantic comedy film "The Baxter" (2005). This 5' 11" silly comedian also appeared in such films as "Safe Men" (1998), "Chocolate for Breakfast" (1998), "Kissing Jessica Stein" (2001), "Signs" (2002), "Hair High (2004; voice), "Griffin & Phoenix" (2006), "The Ten" (2007) and "Reno 911!: Miami" (2007).


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Childhood and Family:

Son of an Episcopalian father and a Jewish mother, Michael English Showalter was born on June 17, 1970, in Princeton, New Jersey, but has been living in Brooklyn for more than a decade. His father, English Showalter, is a retired French professor from Rutgers, while his mother, Elaine Showalter, is a retired English professor from Princeton. Showalter has one older sister, Victoria Showalter LaFleur, a professional speech writer.

"When I went to high school in Princeton, NJ., all the cool dudes used to ‘dip’ tobacco. It made them talk funny. I was on the tennis team my sophomore year and played doubles against upper classmen. They both dipped and were really preppy and ‘dude-like.’ I hit a drop shot and they were too lazy to run for it. One kid, Evan, said in a total Doug voice, ‘Yer pretty cute, Showalter.’ Doug is a less preppy homage to those dudes. Plus, my Dad is really cool. It's hard to rebel when your parents are cool." Michael Showalter

Showalter, nicknamed “Show” or “Mike,” attended Princeton High School. He began his undergraduate studies at New York University (NYU), where he joined an improv troupe known as “The New Group,” who would later change its name to “The State.” He transferred and graduated from Brown University in Rhode Island. For five years, Showalter shared an apartment with his friend Andrea Rosen.

In his spare time, Showalter loves to play chess and basketball. He has a cat named Lester. He teaches screenwriting at New York University's Graduate Film School.

"I love teaching. I really enjoy talking about the creative process and helping my students work through their problems and find solutions. That is the creative process: problem-solving. I like to convey the message that there is something very exciting about the process. A lot of people view that as the worst part. To me, the journey is the reward, as they say." Michael Showalter


Wet Hot American Summer

Career:

While attending New York University during the late '80s, Michael Showalter joined a comedy troupe called “The New Group,” who would later change its name to “The State.” They created video shorts for a MTV sketch comedy series hosted by Jon Stewart called “You Wrote It, You Watch It,” which only lasted one season. “The State” was subsequently given their own show which aired on MTV from December 17, 1993, to July 1, 1995. Following the demise of the show, Showalter joined co-stars David Wain and Michael Ian Black to form a new comedy troupe called “Stella.” After performing on New York City stage shows for some time, “Stella” began to make short films, embark on tours, and became involved in other creative projects. Meanwhile, Showalter also served as a correspondent on Comedy Central's Peabody and Emmy Award winning satirical television program "The Daily Show" (also known as "The Daily Show with Jon Stewart") from 1996 to 1997. He also began acting in films and was seen in John Hamburg's short comedy "Tick" (1996), the comedy "Safe Men" (1998; starring Sam Rockwell and Steve Zahn) and Emily Baer's "Chocolate for Breakfast" (1998). On television, Showalter co-starred with Jason and Randy Sklar in the short-lived MTV sitcom, sketch comedy, and stand-up television show "Apt. 2F" (1997) and was reunited with "The State" members Michael Ian Black and David Wain on another short-running sketch comedy show, "Random Play" (1999).

Hitting the new millennium, Showalter guest starred in an episode of NBC’s drama television series "Law & Order" and the animated science fiction adventure series "Buzz Lightyear of Star Command." He then co-wrote and produced "Wet Hot American Summer" (2001), a cult comedy about the last day of summer camp in 1981. The movie was directed by David Wain.

Showalter next appeared in Jennifer Westfeldt and Heather Juergensen's independent romantic comedy film "Kissing Jessica Stein" (2001), Gadi Harel and Will Keenan's directional debut, "Operation Midnight Climax" (2002), and M. Night Shyamalan's science fiction thriller film "Signs" (2002; starring Mel Gibson, Joaquin Phoenix, Rory Culkin, and Abigail Breslin). He also hosted an episode of "Late Friday" and co-wrote, co-directed and co-starred in "Stella Shorts 1998-2002" (2002; V). The next few years saw Showalter guest-starring in an episode of HBO’s hit series "Sex and the City" and voicing Wally in Bill Plympton's animated "Hair High" (2004), alongside Sarah Silverman and Dermot Mulroney. He also co-wrote the stop-motion animated miniseries "The Wrong Coast" (2004).

From 2004 to 2006, Showalter played arrogant sportscaster Ron Parker on ESPN’s Classic sports comedy "Cheap Seats without Ron Parker" (commonly shortened to "Cheap Seats"). During this time, he wrote and directed the romantic drama comedy film "The Baxter" (2005), in which he also starred as Elliot Sherman. Elizabeth Banks and Michelle Williams also starred in the film.

On the difficulties in juggling the roles of writer, producer, and director for “The Baxter” (2005), Showalter revealed, "Well, in a sense, the creative part was the easiest because I had the movie so clearly in my mind's eye. The producer part was probably the hardest part in terms of taking meetings and being political. During the pre-production phase, certain actors dropped out of the cast for one reason or another. These were terrifying moments. Having to face the movie executives at IFC [Independent Film Channel] and convince them that it wasn't a crisis was the hardest part for me because, internally, I was freaking out and feeling like the world was crumbling around me."

That same year, he also co-wrote, executive-produced and co-starred with “Stella” members Michael Ian Black and David Wain in the short-lived Comedy Central television series of the same name. He also served as writer for two episodes of Comedy Central's stand-up comedy show "Comedy Central Presents" and supported Amanda Peet and Dermot Mulroney in Ed Stone's romantic film "Griffin & Phoenix" (2006). Meanwhile, he toured the U.S. with frequent collaborator Michael Ian Black in the fall and winter of 2006 and briefly toured as the opening act for Janeane Garofalo in March 2007. He also hosted “The Michael Showalter,” an original web show that premiered on January 16, 2007.

During this time, Showalter also shared the screen with Jessica Alba, Winona Ryder, Paul Rudd, Famke Janssen, Adam Brody, and Gretchen Mol in the David Wain-directed comedy film "The Ten" and Dwayne Johnson, Danny Devito, and Niecy Nash in Robert Ben Garant's comedy movie based on the Comedy Central series, "Reno 911!: Miami" (both in 2007).

TV viewers could recently catch him in an episode of David Wain's internet video series "Wainy Days" and in the internet series "Viralcom." He also co-executive produced Comedy Central's "Michael and Michael Have Issues" (2008), which was written by Michael Ian Black.

For the stage, Showalter has written the play “Sex, a.k.a. Wieners and Boobs,” which was produced in New York and L.A. He also appeared in Paula Vogel's off-Broadway show, "How I Learned to Drive," starring David Morse and Mary-Louise Parker.

Showalter is a member of a comedy duo called “The Doilies,” in which he is the singer and another member, Zak Orth, is the guitarist. He signed with a non-profit record label called JDub Records in June 2007 and released his first stand-up CD titled “Sandwiches & Cats” in November that year.


Awards:
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