Canadian comedian and actor Will Sasso became TV audiences' favorite while serving as a repertory performer on five seasons (1997-2002) of FOX late night sketch-comedy show "MADtv," in which he was remembered for the accident-prone handyman character 'Paul Timberman' and his offbeat impressions of Bill Clinton, Kenny Rogers, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Steven Segal and Randy Newman.
He started out as a star of the award-winning Canadian teen-drama series ''Madison'' (1993-1997) and was a main cast on ABC sitcom "Less Than Perfect," as Carl Monari (2003-2006). Moviegoers could also catch him in films like "Beverly Hills Ninja" (1997), "Drop Dead Gorgeous" (1999), "Best in Show" (2000), and "Southland Tales" (2006).
The 6' 3" comic who lost 200 pounds in the year 2000 will next be seen in the upcoming films ''Pornstar,'' ''For Christ's Sake,'' '' College Road Trip,'' ''Lower Learning,'' and ''Division III.''
Childhood and Family:
In Ladner, British Columbia, Canada, Will Sasso was born on May 24, 1975, to an Italian-Canadian family. He graduated from Delta Secondary School in Delta, British Columbia in 1993.
Sasso, an avid wrestling fan who enjoys the outdoors and the indoors in his spare time, lost 200 pounds in the year 2000. He now lives in Los Angeles.
Less Than Perfect
Having found his interest in sketch comedy at a very young age partly due to an ''unhealthy relationship'' with the family television that began when he was around two or three, Will Sasso managed to find his first agent at the age of 15 and immediately began booking roles in television and film. For five seasons, he starred as quirky teen Derek Wakaluk on the award-winning Canadian teen-drama series ''Madison'' (1993-1997), an experience that he once said has "[allowed] him to hone his acting and improvisational skills [and provided] him with enough money to buy a television of his own."
By the age of 21, Sasso had moved from Vancouver to Los Angeles to further his acting career. In the new destination, he landed his first memorable role as Pete the orderly on FOX movie, ''Doctor Who'' (1996), starring Paul McGann, Eric Roberts and Daphne Ashbrook. The movie, based on the British science fiction television series of the same name, was also broadcast on FOX sketch comedy television series ''MADtv.''
In 1997, after ''MADtv'''s repertory performers (Bryan Callen, Orlando Jones and Artie Lange) left the cast and casting executives at FOX had to cast replacements for the show, Sasso (along with Aries Spears) was picked up to join the show's third season cast as a repertory performer.
With his brand of insane and quirky characters such as Rocket Revenger Tiny Malone (played by Big Roy Rasmussen), Eracist member Hugh, pop singer Michael McCleod, accident prone handiman Paul Timberman, Talkin' American host Rui Peranio, Mexican pro wrestler Señor Bag of Crap, and Will, Sasso managed to win the heart of the audiences. He later added to his work with a number of celebrity impersonations, including Arnold Schwarzenegger, Steven Seagal, Bill Clinton, Drew Carey, Fred Durst, George W. Bush, James Gandolfini, James Lipton, Jesse Ventura, Kenny Rogers, Lance Bass, Louie Anderson, Randy Newman, Richard Simmons, Robert De Niro, The Rock, William Frawley and William Shatner.
"You don't even know who you are after a while.'' Will Sasso (on portraying a variety of different characters in ''MADtv'').
Sasso, an avid wrestling fan, also impressed the WWF for his impersonation of Stone Cold Steve Austin and was recruited to be part of a February 2002 episode of WWF SmackDown!, appearing alongside Chris Jericho and the real-life Stone Cold Steve Austin. He also wrestled against retired Canadian professional wrestler Bret Hart on an episode of ''WCW Nitro.''
Sasso's work in the late night sketch-comedy show that based on the humor of ''MAD'' magazine earned him a Canadian Comedy Award nomination for Television - Pretty Funny Male Performance category in 2001. In the following year, he decided to depart the show to explore the next stage of his career.
"There's no better training ground for everything you could encounter professionally, personally and artistically for show business than 'Mad TV.' It's such a storm of activities on such a cool show to have been a part of for so long." Will Sasso.
During his ''MADtv'' stint, Sasso also appeared in a string of films, including Dennis Dugan's action/comedy starring the late Chris Farley, "Beverly Hills Ninja" (1997), Randall Miller's basketball comedy starring Marlon Wayans, "The Sixth Man" (1997), Jason Freeland's film adaptation of James Ellroy's novel, "Brown's Requiem" (1998), and Michael Patrick Jann's pageant comedy starring Denise Richards and Kirsten Dunst, "Drop Dead Gorgeous" (1999). He was also seen in Christopher Guest's mockumentary starring Eugene Levy, "Best in Show" (2000), and Victoria Hochberg's road movie starring Denis Leary and Elizabeth Hurley, "Bad Boy" (2002). Additionally, he appeared in the TV movies "Dad's Week Off" (1997) and "I Got You" (2002) as well as in an episode of "The X Files."
After stepping out from ''MADtv,'' Sasso appeared as the band manager who convinces the band to change their name to ''The Sums'' and pressures the lead singer into smoking, in the music video for Sum 41 song "Still Waiting" from their 2002 album "Does This Look Infected?" He also guest starred in season 1 of ABC sitcom "Less Than Perfect" and was later picked as one of the show's main characters, as Carl Monari (2003-2006), the co-worker and friend of Sara Rue's lead character Claude.
"I love it here. I really, really honestly love it here and I know it's hard to believe anything that I say or that I'm ever being sincere. But, this is me being sincere. It's the truth." Will Sasso (on being in ''Less Than Perfect'').
Meanwhile, Sasso was spotted as a guest in the Canadian comedy series "Robson Arms," the animated television spinoff of the feature film, "Lilo & Stitch: The Series" (voice), and FOX animated series "Family Guy." He also hosted the 2006 Canadian Comedy Awards in London, Ontario as well as the festival's "Sketch & Improv Showcases." Additionally, he was a host at the 2005-2006 NHL award ceremony.
In 2006, Sasso filmed "Southland Tales," a science fiction/drama/dark comedy written and directed by Richard Kelly. The near future-set film that shows a portrait of Los Angeles and a comment on the military-industrial news-tainment complex stars Dwayne Johnson, Seann William Scott and Sarah Michelle Gellar. It premiered May 21, 2006 at the Cannes Film Festival and opened nation wide in United States on November 16, 2007.
TV viewers recently caught Sasso in two episodes of "'Til Death" as well as in an episode of Emmy Award-winning HBO original series "Entourage" and popular, Emmy Award-winning CBS cop/crime drama "CSI: Crime Scene Investigation."
Sasso is currently busy on set and will soon wrap his upcoming films: "Pornstar," a drama by writer/director Stevie Long, "For Christ's Sake," a comedy by Jackson Douglas, and "College Road Trip," a comedy by Roger Kumble. He will also appear in writer/director Mark Lafferty's comedy movie "Lower Learning" and Marshall Cook's football comedy film "Division III." He also reportedly has a feature film deal to write, produce and star in his own film called "Box Office Gross."