Visit Your Local PBS Station PBS Home PBS Home Programs A-Z TV Schedules Watch Video Donate Shop PBS Search PBS
On StageAt The Kennedy Center
The Mark Twain Prize for American Humor
Arts in the Capital
Government in the Arts
Past Performances
Feedback

From the Ceremony
Behind the Curtain
More About Bob
About the Prize
For Teachers

Behind the Curtain


Steven Wright

Steven Wright.  Photo by WireImage: Michael Caulfield.
View a clip from the show
Select your connection speed:
  LOW     HIGH


Steven Wright, an Academy Award winner and prototype comedian whom others try to emulate, was raised in Burlington, Massachusetts. A graduate of Emerson College, he held a bevy of odd jobs before attending an open mike audition that brought him a regular gig at Ding Ho's Comedy Club and Chinese Restaurant in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

His big break, an appearance on The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson came in August 1982. The host enjoyed the performance so much that he extended a rare invitation to Wright to return again within a week. These back-to-back appearances put his fledgling career into high gear and the comedian was soon performing his offbeat routines on Saturday Night Live, Late Night with David Letterman, and numerous return engagements on The Tonight Show.

Wright expanded his comedy career to include comedy albums and film. His 1986 debut album, I Have A Pony, earned a Grammy nomination. In 1988, Wright starred in his first HBO Special, On Location: Steven Wright. He won the 1989 Academy Award for Best Short Film for his work entitled, The Appointments of Dennis Jennings, which he both starred in and co-wrote and which also starred Roseanne's Laurie Metcalf and British comedian Rowan Atkinson.

In September of 1990, Wright starred in Wicker Chairs and Gravity, his second HBO comedy special. Wright has also been seen in numerous feature films, including: Desperately Seeking Susan, Mike Meyers' So I Married An Axe Murderer, Oliver Stone's Natural Born Killers and Nora Ephron's Mixed Nuts.

He starred with John Cleese and Jack Palance in New Line's animated film, The Swan Princess, as the voice of Speed the Turtle. He also appeared as a sitcom actor in MGM's Speechless with Harry Shearer, and as a Mountie in the MGM release Canadian Bacon, opposite the late John Candy. He appeared in Albert Brooks' The Muse, also starring Brooks, Sharon Stone, Andie MacDowell and Jeff Bridges; played a supporting role in Universal's Half-Baked and was a featured voice in Babe 2: Pig in the City.

Wright wrote, directed and starred in One Soldier, a short film about a man obsessed with the unanswerable questions in life.

The Web site, www.stevenwright.com, features Wright's work including paintings, a song, written pieces, stand-up and film clips, tour dates and chat rooms.

Steven Wright is a regular guest on network television late shows, and continues to tour worldwide.