Brian Stack

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Brian Stack
HanniganKendall.jpg
Stack as Hannigan and Artie Kendall, two of his recurring characters on Late Night with Conan O'Brien
Born Chicago, Illinois, U.S.
Occupation Actor/Comedian/Writer

Brian Stack is an American actor, comedian, and writer best known for his sketch comedy work on all three Conan O'Brien late-night talk shows, previously working on Late Night with Conan O'Brien and The Tonight Show with Conan O'Brien, and on O'Brien's current talk show, Conan on TBS.

Early life[edit]

Stack was born in Chicago, Illinois. He attended Catholic schools from grades 5-12, graduating from St. Viator High School in Arlington Heights, Illinois. He earned an undergraduate degree from Indiana University, where he had worked at their radio station. He began doing improvisational comedy, or improv, in 1987 at the Ark Theater in Madison, Wisconsin, while attending graduate school at University of Wisconsin–Madison, where he earned his Master’s degree.[citation needed]

Comedy career[edit]

Late Night with Conan O'Brien[edit]

Among the numerous bearded characters Stack plays are (from left to right) God, Gandalf, and The Interrupter.

Stack became a sketch writer on Late Night with Conan O'Brien in 1997, and served as a writer, actor and editor on the show and after O'Brien's move to The Tonight Show in 2009. Stack played many recurring characters on the show, most notably those clad in anachronistic or elaborate outfits, and was known for playing many characters with long beards and mustaches, such as God, Zeus, Socrates, Gandalf, and The Interrupter. Stack made occasional appearances on The Tonight Show, such as when he played an NRA spokesman who intimates violence to accomplish his agenda.

Among the characters he's portrayed:

  • Kilty McBagpipes, an extremely stereotypical Scottish man who dresses in a kilt and dances to bagpipe music.[episode needed]
  • Frankenstein, a smiling, affable version of Frankenstein's Monster, used in a number of miscellaneous sketches over the years, most notably a recurring sketch called "Frankenstein Wastes A Minute of our Time", in which the monster takes a winding journey through Studio 6A, sometimes travelling backstage, through the audience, and out into the halls, egging on the camera to follow behind him, until he reaches his destination and presents something totally mundane, such as a light switch, or a mop and bucket. This occurs even when there are more interesting things nearby, as in one installment in which he ended up in bandleader Max Weinberg's dressing room, where a dominatrix brandishing a cat o' nine tails was present, and Frankenstein simply picked up a hairbrush and grunted to the camera approvingly.[1] Another scenario involved Frankenstein's Monster wandering through many different halls backstage. He came across Tom Hanks leaning up against a wall, yanked him aside, and revealed a light switch.
  • Hannigan, a hat-wearing traveling salesman in outdated clothing who bursts into the studio, addresses Conan as “little girl,” and runs through a scripted sales pitch in an attempt to sell Conan unfunny jokes and other useless paraphernalia.[episode needed]
  • Artie Kendall, the ghost of an old-fashioned lounge singer who worked in the studio decades ago when it was a radio studio, and whose song lyrics reflect antiquated bigoted and sexist views that offend Conan. Kendall typically sings three brief songs during his appearances, the first of which usually reflects an antiquated social view, the second of which reflects a misogynistic view, and the last of which contains lyrics denigrating to the Irish people, which Kendall sings in reaction to the "hot Irish temper" he observes in Conan when Conan is outraged by the first two songs. Kendall was killed by the League of Women Voters, who, offended at Kendall's misogyny, had him dig his own grave before beating him to death with the shovel.[2]
  • The Interrupter, a melodramatic villain clad in a black cape, a purple ruffled shirt, and wearing long black hair and a handlebar mustache, the Interrupter constantly interrupts Conan by finishing his sentences for him, always knowing exactly what Conan is going to say, even when it's denigrating to the Interrupter himself. Occasionally, if the sketch runs long enough, the roles will eventually become reversed, with the Interrupter starting sentences and Conan doing the interrupting. On rare occasions the first celebrity guest will replace O'Brien as the one interrupting.[episode needed]
  • Fan-Tastic Guy, an enthusiastic audience member who shows his appreciation of the upcoming guests that Conan announces by inventing various words with the suffix “tastic” to describe them, only to become silent and uninterested when Conan mentions his own comedy material on the show.[episode needed]
  • Limbus the Late Night Psychic, an over-the-top and cartoony psychic that Conan would call on for advice and insight on the future every now and then.[episode needed]
  • A member of the Slipnutz (also known as They Might be Slipnutz), a comedy group of three men (Stack, Andy Blitz, Jon Glaser) that was inconveniently booked on the same show with Slipknot, (and later with They Might Be Giants). Their routine involves the three of them slipping and sliding on nuts scattered on the floor. The Slipnutz also appeared on the program to promote their greatest hits album, which included songs like "Old West Cowboys Slipping on Nuts" and "Viking Raiders Slipping on Nuts".[episode needed]
  • Cheesy Local Commercial Athletes, two amateur athletes (played by Stack and Late Night sketch regular Phil McGlaston (the latter having assumed the role from Nashawn Kearse) who are best known for appearing in cheesy local advertisements. They will often stop by and tell Conan about the upcoming guests in that same local advertising fashion. Expect lots of cheesy lines, stiff acting, poor line delivery and awkward pauses whenever these guys are around.[episode needed]
  • Clive Clemmons, British heavy metal guitar legend with his own channel filled with his favorite inappropriate responses from everyday life.[episode needed]
  • Ira (of Jeremy & Ira), performed with Late Night writer Jon Glaser (as Jeremy), as two bizarre men from another dimension dressed in black hoods, who would visit Conan & Andy from time-to-time, always appearing in the corner of the TV screen. They never speak, and only communicate through nodding and other gestures.[episode needed]
  • The Wave (of Dave and The Wave), performed with Late Night writer José Arroyo (as Dave), as smooth jazz loving radio DJs who often annoy Conan with their soothing voices and creepy love of Jazz music.[episode needed]
  • Father Kelly, Fathers Kelly and DeCarlo (Late Night writer José Arroyo) would often visit Conan wondering why he hasn't been coming to Church lately. They usually resort to becoming very angry and abusive toward Conan until Jesus Christ (Late Night writer Kevin Dorff) steps in and saves the day.[episode needed]
  • Bullet Proof Legs Assassin, a man dressed in all black who always shoots the "Bullet Proof Legs Guys" at the end of every sketch.[episode needed]
  • Steve St. Helens, a stagehand on the show whose temper rises until he erupts. This was shown a few times when Mt. St. Helens began showing activity again in early 2005.[episode needed]
  • Poe, The Bricklayer, a man dressed as Edgar Allan Poe who attempts to seal Conan into his studio with a brick-wall that he lays.[episode needed]

Stack also provided the voices of numerous celebrities parodied in the Syncro-Vox faux interviews conducted by O'Brien, including Dick Cheney, Mike Tyson, and Martha Stewart.

Among the other characters Stack has created on the show are Stacy Richter, Andy Richter's Conan-obsessed little sister, who was portrayed by Stacks’ fellow Upright Citizens Brigade alumna, Amy Poehler. Stack also created the recurring segment "Pierre Bernard’s Recliner of Rage".

Conan recurring characters[edit]

Stack continued his work on O'Brien's TBS series, Conan. Among his recurring characters:

  • James Sinclair St. Wallins, Audiencey Awards Fashion Correspondent[episode needed]
  • Brian LaFontaine, Singer on "Basic Cable Name That Tune". Conan frequently expresses his contempt for this character, making comments such as "Hate that guy" or "Easily my least favorite person".[episode needed]
  • Voice of Minty the Candycane Singer, sings the theme song for "Minty the Candycane Who Briefly Fell On The Ground" (played by Brian McCann) every Christmas.[episode needed]
  • Joe Galliano, John Galliano's 'brother' who Conan interviews, generally in response to comments made by John Galliano. Joe tries to defend his brother while changing into ridiculous hats every time the camera switches back to Conan.[episode needed]

Other work[edit]

  • Played "Special Agent in Charge" in the 1997 movie Spaceman.
  • Played "Whiskers" in Robert Smigel’s TV series, TV Funhouse in the episode "Western Day" (episode # 1.1; December 6, 2000).
  • Played Howard Jorgensen on the NBC sitcom 30 Rock in the episodes "Jack Meets Dennis", "Succession" and "Larry King".
  • Stack provided voices for numerous characters in the video games Deer Avenger (1998) and Deer Avenger 2: Deer in the City (1999), which were written by Stack’s fellow Late Night writer/actor Brian McCann, and which co-starred McCann, Tina Fey, Jon Glaser, and Amy Poehler.
  • Stack is a frequent performer in the ASSSSCAT improvisational comedy show at the Upright Citizens Brigade Theater in New York and Los Angeles.
  • Played Mark, an employee of the Buffalo branch who becomes angry when learning the branch is being shut down, in the Office episode "Company Picnic".
  • Stack co-starred as "The World's Tallest Nebraskan" in the Comedy Central animated series Freak Show in 2006.
  • In 2014, Stack played Ted, a jeweler, in "New Beginnings", the January 16, 2014 episode of the TV series Parks and Recreation.

Awards[edit]

  • As a member of Late Night’s writing staff, Stack won five Writers Guild Awards for Writing in a Comedy/Variety Series for 2000, 2002, 2003, 2005 and 2006. He was also nominated in 1999, 2001, and 2004.
  • Stack was also nominated for an Emmy Award every year since 1998 for Outstanding Writing for a Variety, Music or Comedy Program as a member of the writing team, winning in 2007.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

External links[edit]