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"I just started at an open mic night in the 1970s and I'm still going, still doing now what I started to do then. I know other people might look up to me. But really, I'm just me after a bit of time has gone by."
There you have it. The biography of Steven Wright.
Those three sentences pretty much sum up the career of one of the most popular stand-up comedians of all-time.
We could stop there, but we'll keep going. There is a bit more to know about the mysterious Steven Wright, but more importantly, the publishers of this website demanded a much longer article.
How important is Steven Wright to the craft of joke telling?
Well, in 2017, Rolling Stone magazine ranked him as the 15th best stand-up of all-time. He was sandwiched between Billy Connolly and Andy Kaufman.
The laidback Wright is famous for his deadpan delivery.
His humor is philosophical in nature, and he adroitly uses irony, non sequiturs, and paraprosdokians (when the latter part of a statement makes the listener reinterpret the former part of that statement).
His style fits perfectly with his crazy hair and phlegmatic demeanor. He looks like a patient in an asylum but with an aura of a 1970s rock star.
Furthermore, Wright works almost exclusively in one-liners:
"There's a fine line between fishing and standing on the shore like an idiot."
"Whenever I think about the past it just brings back so many memories."
"I can levitate birds, but nobody cares."
There's an unusual phenomenon that occurs when Wright performs. The phenomenon is a pause between when his punchline lands and when the audience guffaws.
This brief silence is produce by the crowd processing what they just heard and realizing it's hilarious.
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Wright was born on Dec. 6, 1955 in Cambridge, Massachusetts.
He has three siblings.
Wright received an associate's degree from a community college in Bedford, Massachusetts.
He earned his bachelor's degree from Emerson College.
Wright began stand-up in 1979.
In 1982, while performing at a comedy club in Cambridge, he was discovered by a Tonight Show producer.
The comedian was eventually booked to perform on the late-night program.
Carson once introduced Wright with the following: "Just let your mind go at ease here [and] follow Steven Wright.
He's unique and you have to listen to what he says."
Wright released his first comedy album, I Have a Pony, in 1985. His second, I Still Have a Pony, came out in 2007. Both were nominated for Grammy Awards.
In the late 1980s and 1990s, Wright earned a devout following on college campuses. His demeanor and cerebral material played well to students.
His 1985 HBO special, A Steven Wright Special, was insanely successful. It was one of the network's most requested programs.
In 2006, Wright returned to the small screen with "When the Leaves Blow Away."
Despite his lengthy hiatus from television, Wright continued to perform on the comedy stage.
Wright has an Academy Award on his mantle.
Wright starred in the film as the titular character and co-wrote the script with Michael Armstrong.
The film was directed by Dean Parisot.
Movies and Television
While editing Reservoir Dogs, Sally Menke (Dean Parisot's wife) realized a voice was needed for a pivotal scene.
She suggested to director Quentin Tarantino that they tap Steven Wright.
Wright voiced the deejay heard in the famous torture scene.
Other movies in his filmography include Desperately Seeking Susan, So I Married an Axe Murderer, Natural Born Killers, and The Aristocrats.
Wright has appeared in Mad About You, The Larry Sanders Show, Louie (he also produced that show), and several other television shows.
The comedian lent his voice to projects like Dr. Katz, Professional Therapist; The Simpsons; and Aqua Teen Hunger Force. See full filmography below
Wright has crafted some uproarious one-liners. Fans should be cautious when looking for his material on the internet.
It's common for inferior one-liners to be attributed to him. You can be confident, however, that the following one-liners are 100% Steven Wright:
"Curiosity killed the cat, but for a while I was a suspect."
"I bought some powdered water, but I don't know what to add."
"I hate when my foot falls asleep during the day because that means it's going to be up all night."
"I have a map of the United States. It's actual size."
"What's another word for thesaurus?"
- I Have a Pony, Warner Bros. Records CD (1985)
- A Steven Wright Special, HBO DVD (1985)
- The Appointments of Dennis Jennings, DVD (1989)
- One Soldier, DVD (1999)
- When the Leaves Blow Away, DVD (2006)
- I Still Have a Pony, Comedy Central Records CD (2007)
|Film Year||Film Name||The Role Steven Played|
|1979||The Last Word||Man in Crowd|
|1985||Desperately Seeking Susan||Larry Stillman D.D.S.|
|1986||Coffee and Cigarettes||Steven|
|1988||The Appointments of Dennis Jennings||Dennis Jennings|
|Stars and Bars||Pruitt|
|1990||Men of Respect||Sterling|
|1992||Reservoir Dogs||K-Billy DJ (voice)|
|1993||So I Married an Axe Murderer||Pilot|
|1994||The Swan Princess||Speed (voice)|
|Natural Born Killers||Dr. Emil Reingold|
|Mixed Nuts||Man at Pay Phone|
|1995||For Better or Worse||Cabbie|
|Canadian Bacon||Niagara Mountie|
|1998||Half Baked||The Guy on the Couch|
|Babe: Pig in the City||Bob (voice)|
|The Muse||Stan Spielberg|
|2000||Loser||Panty Hose Customer|
|2003||Coffee and Cigarettes||Steven|
|2005||Son of the Mask||Daniel Moss|
|When Stand Up Stood Out||Himself|
|2017||The Emoji Movie||Mel (voice)|
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