James Urbaniak

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James Urbaniak
James Urbaniak by Gage Skidmore.jpg
Urbaniak at the 2011 San Diego Comic-Con
James Christian Urbaniak

(1963-09-17) September 17, 1963 (age 59)
Years active1985–present

James Christian Urbaniak (born September 17, 1963)[1] is an American character actor. He is best known for his roles as Simon Grim in three Hal Hartley films: Henry Fool (1997), Fay Grim (2006) and Ned Rifle (2014), Robert Crumb in American Splendor (2003), Dr. Thaddeus "Rusty" Venture on the animated series The Venture Bros. (2003–2018), Grant Grunderschmidt on Review (2014–2017), and Arthur Tack on Difficult People (2015–2017).

Personal life[edit]

Urbaniak was born in Bayonne, New Jersey and lives in Los Angeles, California. He is of Polish and Ukrainian descent.


Urbaniak's first media appearance occurred in 1983, when at the age of 20, he went onstage from the audience of Late Night with David Letterman, to try his hand at a monologue joke that Letterman had flubbed.[2]

One of his first noteworthy roles was in the avant-garde playwright/director Richard Foreman's The Universe, for which Urbaniak won an Obie. He has also been acclaimed for his acting in the films Henry Fool and American Splendor, in the latter of which he played legendary cartoonist R. Crumb. He was nominated for a Drama Desk Award for his role in Thom Pain (based on nothing).[3] He provides the voice for main character Dr. Thaddeus Venture on The Venture Bros. as well as the Doctor's brother Jonas Venture Junior and the super-villain Phantom Limb.

Urbaniak played a pizza guy in the famous "Whassup?" television commercials for Budweiser. The commercial was especially prominent on commercial television networks in the United Kingdom, where it became a cultural phenomenon. He also portrayed the moderator in "Human Centipede Anonymous", a Funny or Die short depicting three men who grapple with their past as a human centipede.[4]

Urbaniak appeared on Ken Reid's TV Guidance Counselor podcast on May 13, 2015.

From 2015 to 2017, he played Arthur Tack for all three seasons of the critically-acclaimed Hulu comedy series Difficult People, opposite Julie Klausner and Billy Eichner.

In 2017, he played Dr. Kincaid in the movie Wonderstruck, directed by Todd Haynes. Also in 2017, he played the Maaldorian Doctor on the hit series Supergirl.

In 2018, he played the recurring role of Special Agent Owen Quinn on the CBS series Criminal Minds.

In 2019, he played Marcus Strang in the movie Where'd You Go, Bernadette, written and directed by Richard Linklater. Also in 2019, he played the recurring role of Gavin Donahue on the Apple TV+ series For All Mankind.

In 2020, he played Professor Anthony in the movie Tesla, opposite Ethan Hawke. Also in 2020, he played The Trinket Man on the Netflix series The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina.

In 2021, he played Bram in the movie Things Heard & Seen, opposite Amanda Seyfried. Also in 2021, he appeared on the television shows Dickinson, 9-1-1: Lone Star, and as the Backstage Manager on The Morning Show.

In 2022, he played the Principal of Grand View High School in the movie The Fabelmans, directed by Steven Spielberg. Also in 2022, he appeared on the television series Made for Love and appeared as Norm Wakely in an episode of the series Better Call Saul.



Year Title Role Notes
1994 NYC 3/94 Short film
Opera No. 1 James Short film
1997 Henry Fool Simon Grim
The Sticky Fingers of Time Isaac
1998 Aphrodisiac Deli Assistant
The Book of Life True Believer
1999 Ride with the Devil Poker Player
Sweet and Lowdown Harry
2000 Intern Olivier Di Santo
2001 No Such Thing Concierge
Upheaval Martin Short film
2002 Confessions of a Dangerous Mind Rod Flexnor
Teknolust Agent Hopper
Passengers Man Short film
Daypass Simple Simon Short film
2003 Legally Blonde 2: Red, White & Blonde Lab Technician
Briar Patch Druden Hunt
Grasshopper James Short film
American Splendor Robert Crumb
2004 Thanksgiving Willy Short film
B Movie Professor Friend
Boutique Nick Short film
2005 Fortunes Lewis Croshere
Road The Ranger
The Girl from Monday Funk
2006 Fay Grim Simon Grim
The Last Romantic Alex Scarvey
Death of a President Dr. James Pearn
2007 Across the Universe Sadie's Manager
The Nanny Diaries Educational Consultant
Chicago 10 Rennie Davis, Richard Schultz (voice) Documentary
2008 The Bentfootes Jim Raritan
The Diagnosis Dr. Besman Short film
2010 Beware the Gonzo Principal Roy
Hello Lonesome Gary
Human Centipede Anonymous James Short film
Drones Pete
2011 The Music Never Stopped Mike Tapplin
Sound of My Voice Mr. Pritchett
From the Head Danny
2012 Pig Goat Banana Mantis Mantis (voice) Short film
2013 iSteve Bill Gates [5]
Bitter Orange Sweetie Short film
2014 The Boxtrolls Sir Broderick (voice)
Ned Rifle Simon Grim
The Occupants Glen
Such Good People Dr. Cooper Whitehead
2015 Advantageous Fisher
2016 After Adderall The Agent
2017 Dave Made a Maze Harry
Rebel in the Rye Gus Lobrano
Wonderstruck Dr. Kincaid
2018 Suicide Squad: Hell to Pay Professor Pyg (voice)
2019 Where'd You Go, Bernadette Marcus Strang
2020 Tesla Professor Anthony
For Madmen Only Del Close Documentary
2021 Things Heard & Seen Bram
2022 Beauty Irv Merlin
The Fabelmans Grand View High School Principal
2023 Condor's Nest Heinrich Himmler


Year Title Role Notes
1999 Sex and the City Buster Episode: "La Douleur Exquise!"
2003 Ed Gallery Owner Episode: "Blips"
Law & Order: Criminal Intent Dr. Roger Stern Episode: "Zoonotic"
2003–2018 The Venture Bros. Dr. Venture / Phantom Limb /
Jonas Venture Jr. / Various voices
Main role
2004 Hi no tori Susanoo (voice) English dub
Law & Order: Special Victims Unit Wade Donato Episode: "Head"
2006–2007 Kidnapped The Accountant 7 episodes
2007 SuperNormal Meowman/Mr. Tabby (voice) Episode: "Evil Barks and Wets the Carpet"
Numb3rs Binky Moore Episode: "Primacy"
2008 Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles Cafe Manager / Sarkissian 2 episodes
Without a Trace Damon Lafloer Episode: "Closure"
The Starter Wife Gary 4 episodes
CSI: Miami Max Paulson Episode: "Power Trip"
2009 NCIS Dr. Rod Daniels Episode: "Love & War"
Medium Mr. Enright Episode: "Soul Survivor"
Snake 'n' Bacon Bacon (voice) Pilot
Weeds The Wizard Episode: "Van Nuys"
2009–2013 The Office Rolf 4 episodes
2010 The Life & Times of Tim Adam (voice) Episode: "The Salty Jazz/Jews Love to Laugh"
You Don't Know Jack Jack Lessenberry Television film
2011 Cinema Verite Dick Cavett Television film
Wizards of Waverly Place Rob Robinson Episode: "Alex the Puppetmaster"
2011–2012 Homeland Larry 2 episodes
2011–2013 H+: The Digital Series Francis Peters 5 episodes
2012 Metalocalypse Dr. Fsmilejera Irlelwoll (voice) Episode: "Going Downklok"
Electric City Mr. Orwell (voice) Episode: "What Aren't We Capable Of?"; web series
The Good Wife Judge Bernard Temple Episode: "And the Law Won"
The New Normal Mr. Blakeney Episode: "The XY Factor"
Unforgettable Walter Morgan / John Fox 3 episodes
Body of Proof Daniel Grubstick Episode: "Mind Games"
2013 Scandal Mike Sylva Episode: "Whiskey Tango Foxtrot"
Childrens Hospital Future Doctor Episode: "Old Fashioned Day"
The Mentalist Aaron Kalinoski Episode: "Black-Winged Redbird"
Monsters vs. Aliens The Rule-Bot (voice) 2 episodes
Hawaii Five-0 Gary Nathan Episode: "Pukana"
2014 Teen Wolf The Chemist Episode: "Weaponized"
You're the Worst Army Priest Episode: "PTSD"
Comedy Bang! Bang! Victor Kahn Episode: "The Lonely Island Wear Holiday Sweaters & White Pants"
All Hail King Julien Lemur #1 (voice) Episode: "Enter the Fanaloka"
Infomercials Rev. Boxley Fryer Episode: "Book of Christ"
2014–2016 Adventure Time Various voices 2 episodes
2014–2017 Review Grant Grunderschmidt 19 episodes
2015 Agent Carter Miles Van Ert 2 episodes
Newsreaders Carob Landis Episode: "The FMK Killer; Newsreaders: Behind the Scenes"
Pig Goat Banana Cricket Nose Picker Fish (voice) Episode: "Pig Goat Banana Cricket High Five!"
Gigi Does It Gigi's Attorney Episode: "Glock Schlock"
Dr. Ken James Miller Episode: "The Seminar"
Brooklyn Nine-Nine Nick Lingeman Episode: "Boyle's Hunch"
2015–2016 The Adventures of Puss in Boots Thriffith (voice) 3 episodes
Gortimer Gibbon's Life on Normal Street Dr. Grapehall 2 episodes
2015–2017 Guardians of the Galaxy Ebony Maw / Acolyte (voice) 6 episodes
Difficult People Arthur Tack 28 episodes
2016 Dice Director of the "Welcome to Vegas" Commercial Episode: "Prestige"
2017 Supergirl Maaldorian Doctor [6] Episode: "Supergirl Lives"
Lego Star Wars: The Freemaker Adventures M-OC (voice) 10 episodes
Teachers Carl Fromm Episode: "Dire Straights"
Apollo Gauntlet Dr. Benign and Prince Belenus (voice) 5 episodes
2017–2018 OK K.O.! Let's Be Heroes Mr. Logic, Joff The Shaolin Monk (voice) 4 episodes
2018 Criminal Minds Special Agent Owen Quinn Episodes: "Believer" and "300"
Elementary Doctor Leo Demopoulos Episode: "Our Time Is Up"
Big Hero 6: The Series Art Teacher (voice) Episodes: "Rivalry Weak"
2019 Fam Tom Episode: "It's Been a While"
At Home with Amy Sedaris Denny Shnarks Episode: "Creativity"
Documentary Now! Howard Pine Episode: "Original Cast Album: Co-Op"
Too Old to Die Young Stevie Crockett Episode: "The Fool"
Ollie and Scoops Dr. Toodles (voice) Episode: "Gimmie a Hand"
Lodge 49 Tony 2 episodes
Just Add Magic Pierce Hamilton Episode: "New Protectors"
For All Mankind Gavin Donahue 3 episodes
2020 Just Add Magic: Mystery City Pierce Hamilton 9 episodes
Close Enough Commercial Bot (voice) Episode: " Robot Tutor/Golden Gamer"
The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina The Trinket Man 2 episodes
Red Bird Lane Tanner Pilot
2021 Dickinson Ophthalmologist Episode: "Before I Got My Eye Put Out"
9-1-1: Lone Star Imp Episode: "Friends with Benefits"
The Morning Show Backstage Manager Episode: "My Least Favorite Year"
2022 Better Call Saul Norm Wakely Episode: "Wine and Roses"
Made for Love Gogol interviewer 2 episodes

Video games[edit]

Year Title Voice role
2003 Manhunt Innocentz #5
2007 Manhunt 2 Bloodhound member
2009 Avatar: The Game RDA
2011 Fallout New Vegas: Old World Blues Dr. 0
2011 Star Wars: The Old Republic C2-D4, Needles,[7] Ilox, Zap Loren
2014 Star Wars: The Old Republic – Shadow of Revan C2-D4
2015 Code Name: S.T.E.A.M. Randolph Carter
2015 The Magic Circle Ishmael Gilder
2019 Star Wars: The Old Republic - Onslaught C2-D4 / Additional voices
2022 High on Life Nipulon / Additional voices

Other works[edit]

Year Title Role Notes
2012 Getting On With James Urbaniak[8] Narrator Podcast
2014 God is Disappointed in You Narrator Audio book
2014-2016, 2019 Welcome to Night Vale Intern James, Leonard Burton Podcast (3 episodes, 1 live show recording, and 1 live show recording bonus track)
2015 Special Relativity[9] Mr. Wandell, Art Director Radio
2016 A Night Called Tomorrow Arch Hutton Podcast; also writer and producer
2016 Aphocrypha Now Narrator Audio book


  1. ^ "James Urbaniak". Turner Classic Movies. Retrieved 30 May 2022.
  2. ^ "James Urbanik on Letterman, 1983". Youtube. Archived from the original on 2021-12-21.
  3. ^ "2007 – Drama Desk Awards – Nominations". Archived from the original on 20 October 2006. Retrieved 28 April 2015.
  4. ^ "Human Centipede Anonymous". Funny or Die. Retrieved 28 April 2015.
  5. ^ Funny Or Die (15 April 2013). "'iSteve". funnyordie.com. Retrieved 15 April 2013.
  6. ^ Full cast of Supergirl on IMDb
  7. ^ BioWare (2011-12-20). Star Wars: The Old Republic. Electronic Arts, LucasArts. Scene: closing credits, 9:50 in, English Cast.
  8. ^ "Getting On with James Urbaniak". gettingonwithju.libsyn.com. Retrieved 2017-01-09.
  9. ^ "Special Relativity – A Radio Comedy starring Alex Borstein". Archived from the original on 2019-02-09. Retrieved 2015-05-18.

External links[edit]