October 28, 1977
Eureka, California, United States
|Known for||Slam poet, spoken word comedian, storyteller, showman filmmaker|
with The Suicide Kings:
|Awards||2003 San Francisco Bay Guardian "Best of the Bay" award
Grand Slam Winner
National Poetry Slam
DeWolf is best known for his work as a filmmaker for Youth Speaks Bigger Picture Project, with the performance trio The Suicide Kings, hosting the monthly Tourettes Without Regrets at the Oakland Metro OperaHouse, and for his work as a producer and performer on NPR's Snap Judgment. DeWolf has appeared on HBO’s Def Poetry, 60 Minutes, UPN, Inside Edition, and CBS. DeWolf directed, wrote and starred in the feature film Smoked. The Movie (2012).
He is also the great-grandson of author and Scientology founder L. Ron Hubbard and an outspoken critic of the Church of Scientology. In 2000 he hosted the first ever anti-Scientology summit in Clearwater, Florida.
DeWolf was born in Eureka, California, and as a teen raised baptist in the towns of Vallejo and Benicia, California. He was a “hardcore Christian kid” who hoped to become a Baptist minister; he would regularly hand out pamphlets on street corners. At the age of six, he was handed a book titled The Kingdom of the Cults by his pastor. The book referred to contemporary religious movements, and one stuck out: Scientology, founded by DeWolf's own great grandfather, L. Ron Hubbard. Since that point, DeWolf was fascinated with his ancestor's legacy, reading his books, and citing Hubbard's legacy as his inspiration to become an artist “I remember idolising L Ron as a kid, and I remember asking my mom all the time why couldn’t I meet him,” admits DeWolf. “I didn’t know at that point that he had created a religion, I just knew when I went into a bookstore I could find books by him – he was evidence to me that you could be a writer simply by your will alone. Outside of this man running this crazy church and brainwashing millions of people, at the same time he was just another family member,”
As a teen, DeWolf was often sent to the school psychiatrist for what he was writing. "A lot of it was just too macabre, in retrospect. But I realized, even when I was a Christian kid, that a lot of what drew me into Christianity—and what they were certainly exploiting—was my fascination with demonology and the apocalypse, the Antichrist and the Whore of Babylon." He was enrolled in Christian School in 6th grade, and was expelled for a controversial underground zine he started there. He was sent back to public school, and again sent to the school psychologist for his writing and eventually expelled from high school. He was kicked out of two creative writing classes in community college, also for his writing. "Depressed, he composed an eight chapter suicide note that he wanted to publish, and then, in dramatic form, kill himself. He began to go to open mic nights and read portions of this suicide note to an audience. After reading it, DeWolf was always asked not to return."
DeWolf started reading at open mics in 1997. Frequently rejected from stages for his controversial material, he eventually moved to poetry slam and started his own show. "I started in Vallejo and Benicia so I have a lot of love for people who just completely are defiant in the space of small towns who create a space for people to speak and to create an open forum. It's like flame throwers for moths. There's a lot of magic that can happen with that. It certainly changed my life."
Since his first slam in 1999, DeWolf (formerly known as Jamie Kennedy) has won his way onto seven slam teams, competing on the finals stage at the National Poetry Slam on his first team. He has since become a National Poetry Slam Champion, the Berkeley Grand Slam Champion, a YouthSpeaks Mentor, a featured performer on HBO’s Def Poetry Jam with his poem "Grim Fairy Tale", and has performed and led writing workshops at over 90 universities, high schools and juvenile detention centers across the globe.
His work has been featured on 60 Minutes, UPN and NPR. He coached the Youth Speaks team twice, one of which was featured on Brave New Voices on HBO hosted by Common and Rosario Dawson. He opened for B. Dolan on the first Church of Love and Ruin tour, for Shane Koyczan, and was featured in 2014 on All Def Poetry with his poem "Rebels Without Applause." He was awarded The East Bay Express Best of the Bay "Best Poet" twice, in both 2012 and 2013.
He has released an EP with poetry, music, and recorded clips of his family's history entitled Vaude Villain and has begun work on his next two screenplays.
The Suicide Kings
As a member of The Suicide Kings performance trio (with Geoff Trenchard and Rupert Estanislao), DeWolf toured the country performing and teaching writing workshops at colleges, high schools, poetry slams, and juvenile detention centers. In 2006 they received funding from the National Performance Network Creation Commission, The Zellerbach Family Foundation, and the City of Oakland to write In Spite of Everything, which premiered at the Oakland Metro, then moved to the EXIT Theater in San Francisco, eventually touring nationwide and to Moscow. It has been described as ”a poignant, chilling knockout of a play […] that beautifully incorporates their visceral verse into the brutal narrative to a school shooting.” and "an eight-minute crime caper about the Columbine shootings in reverse" The play was showcased at the Hip Hop Theater Festival in 2007 and was chosen as one of the “top ten” plays of the year by East Bay Express the same year.
Tourettes Without Regrets
In 1999 DeWolf founded the monthly variety show, Tourettes Without Regrets, described on the website as, "One part poetry slam, one part freestyle battle, and one part psychotic erotic vaudeville showcase," Over the past 16 years, Tourettes has changed venues repeatedly, moving to Oakland where it started at The Stork Club, then finding its current home at Oakland Metro. Called "one of the wildest and most creatively raw variety shows in the Bay Area" by SF Weekly, the show has spawned a series of spinoff events, such as the annual Game of Thrones Show, which has toured to Vancouver, the Holy Sh*t Show, lampooning Scientology, and the yearly XXX Show, started in 2012 at the Mitchell Brothers O'Farrell Theater. The show has won "The Best of the Bay" multiple times from The East Bay Express, SF Weekly,and the San Francisco Guardian since its inception. It includes the longest running and largest attended freestyle battle and poetry slam on the West Coast.
Beyond his work with spoken word poetry, DeWolf has established himself as a showman and performer in the San Francisco Bay Area. He appears as the regular host for not only Tourettes Without Regrets, but annual festivals such as The East Bay Express Film Awards, Briefs Erotic Film Festival, Scream Film Festival, The Folsom Street Fair, and the Sacramento Horror Film Festival. DeWolf worked as a producer for Oakland-based NPR's Snap Judgement, where he produced a number of stories, and performed several of his own, including The God and the Man, which drew international attention, and The Girl in the Hallway, chronicling The tragedy of Xiana Fairchild, who at age 7 in 1998 was snatched off the street and killed while she lived in the same apartment building as DeWolf.
Smoked the Movie
In 2006 DeWolf began filming Smoked. The Movie, a feature film crime caper set in Oakland starring himself and fellow Suicide Kings, Geoff Trenchard and Rupert Estanislau as miscreants who rob a cannabis club and run afoul of the local kingpin who owns it. He had not yet enrolled in film school, and spent the next two years "chasing his amateur actors "El Mariachi-style" through the Netherlands of Oakland."
A year into the filming of Smoked, DeWolf enrolled in college at the San Francisco State University, where he received a film degree. Combining his film training and experience with poetry slam, he collaborated with Youth Speaks, a San Francisco based organization focused on teen spoken word artists. DeWolf has directed multiple of films for Youth Speaks' The Bigger Picture Project, "a joint effort by the non-profit youth development group Youth Speaks and the UCSF Department of Medicine's Center for Vulnerable Populations to raise awareness of type 2 diabetes. "films that flip the motif of the traditional this-is-your-brains-on-drugs PSA style and instead deliver frank messages about the social factors shaping our health. "These films have garnered attention from Upworthy and the inaugural Food Farms Films Festival. The project also launched a Spanish-language website and two bilingual films, as Latino communities are often disproportionately affected by type 2 diabetes." Featured poets visit Bay Area high schools to perform their poetry and coach students to write their own health justice poetry. The films have garnered national attention. Several of the films have been featured on Upworthy
Formerly Jamie Kennedy, DeWolf took his mother's maiden name in 2006 to avoid confusion with actor and fellow comedian Jamie Kennedy. DeWolf is the great-grandson of L. Ron Hubbard; being the grandson of Hubbard's son Ronald DeWolf. DeWolf told the San Francisco Chronicle in 2001 that his mother and girlfriend were visited by Scientology agents, who asked about his comments on Scientology in his poetry and his appearance at a November 2000 benefit for the Lisa McPherson Trust in Clearwater, Florida. The poetry piece was titled "Judas' Son". Initially, the Scientology agents told DeWolf's mother that they were fellow poets, but DeWolf later remarked, "My mom knew from the moment they started talking that they were Scientologists, which they admitted to." DeWolf was quoted as saying, "They can't shut me up." In 2013 That same year he was quoted on The Young Turks as saying that Scientology is one of the most “devious, systematic brainwashing systems that’s ever been invented.”
Views on Scientology
DeWolf is an outspoken critic of the Church of Scientology. Of his own views on Scientology and his great-grandfather, DeWolf remarked in the East Bay Express: "Scientology is the most brilliantly engineered pyramid scam I've ever seen. L. Ron Hubbard -- you can never say that he was an idiot, by any means. He was very intelligent, very sort of evil, malicious; a sort of overman, his will against the world."
'...works through a lot of hodgepodge of ideas thrown together with this extremely brutal sort of security sense and this kind of CIA-like structure that becomes really intoxicating to people. But to meet people who’ve been out of the cult — I mean, yeah, you want to ask them about Xenu and aliens — but the fact is these are smart people. They’ve just been completely destroyed.'
In 2015, DeWolf incorporated his monthly show in a special game show aimed at Scientology, including 'a conversation with journalist Tony Ortega, who recently appeared in HBO's Scientology documentary "Going Clear," and Paulette Cooper, author of "The Scandal of Scientology."'
- Roden, Gregory (January 2, 2002). "L. Ron's hellspawn: Jamie Kennedy". East Bay Express.
- Ortega, Tony. "Jamie DeWolf, L. Ron Hubbard Great-Grandson, Gaining More Notoriety for His Views on Scientology". Retrieved 2015-09-11.
- "Scientology: how L Ron Hubbard's heir became his fiercest critic". Retrieved 2015-09-10.
- "L. Ron Hubbard's Great-Grandson Is a Circus Ringmaster | VICE | United States". Retrieved 2015-09-10.
- "Interview with the Great Grandson of Scientology's L. Ron Hubbard". Retrieved 2015-09-11.
- "Extended Play: Jamie DeWolf Interview". Retrieved 2015-09-10.
- Lattin, Don (February 12, 2001). "Scientology Founder's Family Life Far From What He Preached". San Francisco Chronicle. sfgate.com. p. A13. Retrieved 2008-11-19.
- "Readers' Poll Winners: Arts and Culture". East Bay Express. Retrieved 2015-12-03.
- Hurwitt, Sam. "Killer Verse". East Bay Express. Retrieved 2015-09-11.
- "Dialogues - Oakland Magazine - June 2008 - Oakland, California". www.oaklandmagazine.com. Retrieved 2015-09-11.
- "L. Ron Hubbard's Great-Grandson Targets Scientology". Retrieved 2015-09-10.
- "Don't Miss "The Holy Sh*t Show," A Circus Game Show Lampooning Scientology, Hosted By Jamie DeWolf!". Retrieved 2015-09-11.
- "PHOTOS: L. Ron Hubbard's Great Grandson On The Mutants Of Art And Why Scientology Sucks". The Huffington Post. Retrieved 2015-09-11.
- "Xiana's former neighbor pays respects in prose". www.timesheraldonline.com. Retrieved 2015-12-03.
- "Hey, Let's Put On a Crime Caper". East Bay Express. Retrieved 2015-09-11.
- "The Bigger Picture: raising diabetes awareness through music". www.healthline.com. Retrieved 2015-09-17.
- Vadi, Jose. "Not Your Grandfather's Disease: Youth Change the Conversation About Type 2 Diabetes". Civil Eats. Retrieved 2015-09-17.
- "'Youth Speaks' Against Diabetes | State of Health | KQED News". Retrieved 2015-09-17.
- "How Youth Are Using Poetry To Change The Conversation About Diabetes". Retrieved 2015-09-17.
- Harmanci, Reyhan (July 20, 2006). "Slammin' it to ya - 'Clash of the Titans' - Show condenses weekly hit Tourettes Without Regret to grenade strength". San Francisco Chronicle. Hearst Communications Inc. Retrieved 2008-11-19.
- "Great-Grandson Of Scientology Founder Makes Huge Accusation". The Huffington Post. Retrieved 2015-09-10.
- Kane, Alex (26 January 2013). "L. Ron Hubbard's great-grandson: Scientology is a brainwashing "cult"". Salon (from Kane's article on AlterNet). Retrieved 26 January 2013.
- Jamie DeWolf at the Internet Movie Database
- Jamie DeWolf on Facebook
- Jamie DeWolf on YouTube
- "Scientology founder's great grandson rails at cult" Irish Examiner, June 30, 2012
- Jamie DeWolf performs "The God and the Man" featured on Upworthy
- Jamie DeWolf performs "The Girl in the Hallway" on NPR's Snap Judgement
- Jamie DeWolf performs "The Girl in the Hallway" on Upworthy
- Jamie Dewolf talks to David Pakman about Scientology
- Jamie DeWolf talks to Abby Martin about Scientology
- Jamie DeWolf discusses Scientology on CBS
- Jamie DeWolf's film "Health Justice Manifesto" on Upworthy
- Jamie DeWolf's film "Pushin' Weight" on Upworthy
- Jamie DeWolf's film "Product of his Environment" on Upworthy
- Jamie DeWolf's film "Waiting" on Upworthy
- Jamie DeWolf's film "Ricochet in Reverse" featuring DeWolf and Suicide King, Geoff Trenchard on Upworthy
- Jamie DeWolf's film "Candy Man" on Upworthy
- Jamie DeWolf's film "Whispers from the Fields" on Upworthy