Dave Attell

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Dave Attell
Attell in 2009
Born (1965-01-18) January 18, 1965 (age 59)
New York City, New York, U.S.
MediumStand-up, television, film
Years active1988–present
Notable works and rolesSaturday Night Live
(writer, 1993–1994)
The Jon Stewart Show
(writer, 1993–1995)
The Ugly American on The Daily Show
Insomniac with Dave Attell
The Gong Show with Dave Attell
Frank in Pootie Tang
Bumping Mics with Jeff Ross & Dave Attell

David Attell (born January 18, 1965)[1][2] is an American stand-up comedian, actor and writer best known as the host of Comedy Central's Insomniac with Dave Attell.[3]

Early life[edit]

Attell was born in the New York City borough of Queens to a Jewish family.[4][5] He was raised in Rockville Centre on Long Island.[6] He graduated from South Side High School.[7]

After graduating from New York University in 1987 with a degree in communications, Attell began performing at open-mic nights.[6]


Attell's first appearance on television was in 1988 on VH1's Stand-Up Spotlight, which also featured early appearances by Lewis Black, Margaret Cho, Jeff Garlin, Jay Mohr and Wanda Sykes.[8]

On November 23, 1993, he made his first appearance on Late Show with David Letterman. The appearance was seen by Saturday Night Live creator Lorne Michaels, who then recruited Attell to be a writer, and occasional performer, on SNL. Attell can be seen behind Chris Farley during the "Rudy Giuliani Inauguration" sketch. Attell worked on the show for the 1993–94 season.

In 1995, Attell was featured on two HBO specials alongside up-and-comers Louis C.K. and Dave Chappelle.[8] He was a featured performer on the 1995 Young Comedians Special hosted by Garry Shandling. He was given his own 60-minute special on the channel's HBO Comedy Showcase. Subsequently, Attell was also given an episode of HBO Comedy Half-Hour in 1997. Attell's first one-hour special, Dave Attell: Captain Miserable aired December 8, 2007, on HBO.

His comedy special Dave Attell: Road Work aired 2014 on Comedy Central.[9]

In 1995, Attell appeared as Squiggly Dave on Dr. Katz, Professional Therapist.

In 1999, the network issued Attell an installment in the second season of Comedy Central Presents series. The same year the network signed him as a regular commentator to its satirical news series The Daily Show, on which he appeared for three years. Attell's commentary segment was called "The Ugly American". He returned for the finale episode of host Jon Stewart's tenure.

In 2001, the television series Insomniac with Dave Attell premiered on Comedy Central. Attell described it as "Wild on E! for Ugly People".[10]

In 2003, Attell began appearing on Tough Crowd with Colin Quinn. The show featured many of the performers he works with at the New York City comedy club the Comedy Cellar and is based on the conversations they would have off-stage at the Olive Tree Cafe, the restaurant above the club.

Attell appeared on Comedy Central's Last Laugh in 2007. In 2008, Attell began hosting The Gong Show with Dave Attell for Comedy Central. Like the 1970s version, the show had a rotating panel of celebrity judges grading unusual acts.[11][12][13]

In May 2008, Attell announced a casting call on his MySpace page for Comedy Central's relaunch of The Gong Show. Attell was host, along with Greg Fitzsimmons serving as head writer on the series. However, The Gong Show with Dave Attell aired only from July to September 2008.

In January 2010, he co-hosted the AVN Awards show, along with porn actresses Kirsten Price and Kayden Kross;[14] and again in 2012 with co-hostesses Sunny Leone and Bree Olson.

Attell returned to television on Showtime beginning October 20, 2011, in Dave's Old Porn, a TV series in which Attell views and jokes about retro 1970s and 1980s pornographic films with different guest comedians. Typically, during a given show, Attell and his guest view clips that give an overview of a particular retro porn star's career. Near the end of the show, that particular actor appears and also comments on clips from some of their films.[15]

In April 2014, Comedy Central premiered Comedy Underground with Dave Attell, a late-night stand-up comedy show taped live in New York.[16]

In 2018 he toured with Jeff Ross on the Bumping Mics Tour.[17] Over the last three days of the tour they taped a three-part documentary series, Bumping Mics with Jeff Ross & Dave Attell for Netflix. Interspersed footage showcases the duo's interactions both off-stage and on as they return to the Comedy Cellar, where a spontaneous first performance marked the birth of their ensemble act.[18]

Personal life[edit]

Attell has been sober since the late 2000s.[19]



Year Title Role Notes Ref.
1990 Caesar's Salad Policeman Short film
1999 Los Enchiladas! Don
2000 The Office Party Don Short film
2001 Pootie Tang Frank
2003 Abby Singer Cameo [20]
2005 My Suicidal Sweetheart Efram the driver
2006 Scary Movie 4 Knifeman Cameo [21]
2007 Twisted Fortune Abbot
2007 Heckler Himself
2008 The Great Buck Howard Las Vegas Husband Credited as David Attell
2008 Harold Barker [22]
2009 Funny People Himself Cameo [23]
2010 Scooby-Doo! Abracadabra-Doo The G.P.S. Voice, direct-to-video [24]
2015 Trainwreck Noam [25]
2017 Gilbert Himself Documentary film [26]
2018 I Feel Pretty Really Tan Dude [27]

Stand-up releases[edit]

Year Title Notes
1996 HBO Comedy Half-Hour Special
1999 Comedy Central Presents Special
2003 Skanks for the Memories... Album
2005 Hey, Your Mouth's Not Pregnant! DVD
2006 Dave Attell's Insomniac Tour Special
2007 Dave Attell: Captain Miserable Special
2014 Dave Attell: Road Work Special
2024 Dave Attell: Hot Cross Buns Special


Year Title Role Notes
1988-1991 Stand-Up Spotlight Himself
1995–1997 Dr. Katz, Professional Therapist Dave Voice, 2 episodes
1996–1997 Everybody Loves Raymond Dave 2 episodes
2001–2004 Insomniac with Dave Attell Himself 44 episodes
2002 Crank Yankers Frank Demore Voice, episode: "David Alan Grier & Dave Attell"
2003 Ed Brad Campbell Episode: "Business as Usual"
2005 Arrested Development Himself 2 episodes
2005 New Car Smell Harry Television film
2008 The Gong Show with Dave Attell Himself 8 episodes
2011 Dave's Old Porn Himself 16 episodes
2013 Inside Amy Schumer Ghost Episode: "Terrible People"
2014 Louie Dave Episode: "So Did the Fat Lady"
2014 Comedy Underground with Dave Attell Himself 8 episodes
2014 TripTank Dave Attell Voice, episode: "Roy & Ben's Day Off"
2014 Teachers Lounge School Photographer
2015–2016 The Jim Gaffigan Show Himself 3 episodes
2017 Bob's Burgers Scalper Voice, episode: "The Laser-inth"
2017 Difficult People New York City Voice, episode: "Sweet Tea"
2017–2019 Crashing Himself 3 episodes
2018 The Simpsons Luke Voice, episode: "Bart's Not Dead"
2018 Bumping Mics with Jeff Ross & Dave Attell Himself 3 episodes
2024 Mr. and Mrs. Smith Kosher Food Mart Clerk 1 episode

Video games[edit]

Year Title Role Notes
2004 Outlaw Golf 2 Commentator
2009 Leisure Suit Larry: Box Office Bust Merv Wallski


  1. ^ Rose, Mike (January 18, 2023). "Today's famous birthdays list for January 18, 2023 includes celebrities Kevin Costner, Dave Bautista". Cleveland.com. Retrieved January 18, 2023.
  2. ^ Zinoman, Jason (March 20, 2019). "Dave Attell Is Our Greatest Club Comic (Says the Writer He Made Fun Of)". The New York Times. Retrieved April 14, 2020. ...Attell, 54...
  3. ^ "Insomniac with Dave Attell". The New York Times.
  4. ^ "Comedian Dave Attell stands up at Comedy Castle". The Macomb Daily. November 4, 2014. Archived from the original on February 9, 2019.
  5. ^ Elias, Jeremy. "Top Living Jewish Comedians". beliefnet.com. Retrieved October 27, 2018.
  6. ^ a b Tannenbaum, Rob (June 2, 2003). "Comedy Schlub". New York.
  7. ^ Pelligrini, Janette (November 11, 2009). "Taking to the stage". L.I. Herald. Long Island, New York: Richner Communications. Archived from the original on February 21, 2019. Retrieved February 20, 2019.
  8. ^ a b Amarosi, A.D. (January 23, 2023). "Stand-Up Comedian Dave Attell Suffers No Fools". Philadelphia Weekly.
  9. ^ Davidson, Phil (April 11, 2014). "Talking to Dave Attell About His New Comedy Central Standup Show and Special". Vulture.com.
  10. ^ Wolk, Josh (April 19, 2002). "Night Rider". Entertainment Weekly.
  11. ^ "The Gong Show with Dave Attell". Comedy Central.
  12. ^ "TV listings guide, TV shows, cable TV, satellite TV, TV schedules on Zap2it". Archived from the original on February 10, 2013.
  13. ^ ""The Gong Show With Dave Attell" Will Premiere on Comedy Central| AHN| July 26, 2008". Archived from the original on January 16, 2009.
  14. ^ Dan Miller (December 23, 2009). "Dave Attell to Co-Host AVN Awards". AVN. Archived from the original on December 26, 2009. Retrieved December 24, 2009.
  15. ^ Wetherbee, Brandon (November 29, 2012). "Dave Attell, 'Dave's Old Porn' Host, Heads to the DC Improv". HuffPost. Retrieved April 27, 2013.
  16. ^ "Comedy Underground with Dave Attell". Comedy Central.
  17. ^ Polk, Leilan. "Jeff Ross and Dave Attell Are Bringing Their Cranky Comedy to Seattle This Friday". The Stranger. Retrieved May 22, 2018.
  18. ^ "Ross and Attell to bump mics and drop bombs at Borgata". The Press of Atlantic City. New Jersey. May 20, 2019. Retrieved June 30, 2019.
  19. ^ "Episode 1522:Dave Attell". WTF with Marc Maron (Podcast). Episode 1522. March 17, 2024.
  20. ^ "Abby Singer". TV Guide.
  21. ^ "Scary Movie 4". Time Out. April 11, 2006.
  22. ^ "Harold". Rotten Tomatoes. September 16, 2008.
  23. ^ Billington, Alex (December 17, 2008). "Stand-Up Comedian Cameos in Funny People Revealed". FirstShowing.net.
  24. ^ "Scooby-Doo! Abracadabra-Doo - Full Cast & Crew". TV Guide.
  25. ^ Panos, Maggie (July 23, 2015). "13 Famous Comedians in Trainwreck — Besides Amy Schumer". PopSugar.
  26. ^ Zinoman, Jason (November 2, 2017). "Review: In 'Wait for Your Laugh' and 'Gilbert,' Comedians Work HardReview". The New York Times.
  27. ^ Lemire, Christy (April 20, 2018). "I Feel Pretty". RogerEbert.com.

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