Jason Mantzoukas

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Jason Mantzoukas
Jason Mantzoukas 2015.png
Mantzoukas in 2015
Born (1972-12-18) December 18, 1972 (age 47)
Other namesZouks,[1] Hey Nongman,[2] The Dink Dink Man[3]
Alma materMiddlebury College
Occupation
  • Actor
  • Comedian
  • Writer
Years active1998–present

Jason Mantzoukas (/mænˈzkəs/, Greek: Ιάσων Μαντζούκας; born December 18, 1972) is an American character actor, comedian, writer, and podcaster. He is best known for his recurring role as Rafi in the FX comedy series The League, and as one of the three co-hosts of the podcast How Did This Get Made? alongside Paul Scheer and June Diane Raphael. Mantzoukas has also appeared in the films The Dictator, Sleeping with Other People, They Came Together, Conception, and John Wick: Chapter 3. He has had recurring roles on three TV shows created by Michael Schur: Parks and Recreation (as Dennis Feinstein); Brooklyn Nine-Nine (as Adrian Pimento); and The Good Place (as Derek Hostedtler). He also voices the characters Jay Bilzerian in the Netflix animated series Big Mouth, and Alex Dorpenberger in the HBO Max animated series Close Enough. He is known for often playing "crazy, funny weirdos."[4]

Early life and education[edit]

Mantzoukas was born in Nahant, Massachusetts, and is the eldest child of Cynthia (née Mourousas) and William Mantzoukas, second generation Greek-Americans.[4][5] He has one younger sister, Melissa.[6] He has described himself as "100 percent Greek."[7][8]

He began taking drum lessons at age 10 and studied under Steve Barrett for over 8 years.[9] In interviews, he has cited Stewart Copeland, Stephen Perkins from Jane's Addiction, and Jimmy Chamberlin from The Smashing Pumpkins as his biggest influences as a young musician.[10] He participated in jazz and marching bands in high school, as well as playing in a cover band called Slygoul.[11] He continued with jazz drumming in college and also played for a bebop group.[12]

Mantzoukas attended Swampscott High School, graduating in 1991.[13] While attending, he was named captain of Swampscott's boys' soccer and track teams and was also president of the marching band.[14] He then attended Middlebury College in Middlebury, Vermont; majoring in religion.[15] He attempted to defend a "terribly written" honors thesis on religious iconography (which he admits to starting a week prior to his defense date) but was not given credit to graduate with honors.[16]

After graduating college in 1995, Mantzoukas was granted a Watson Fellowship, traveling throughout North Africa and the Middle East studying religious and transcendental music for nearly two years.[7][17] He has admitted to having a "horrible [grant proposal] but was charming in the room; so [he earned the grant]."[16] At the time he left for Morocco for the Watson Fellowship, he had already had five or six auditions for the Blue Man Group, but he ultimately decided to travel before the audition process was complete.[18] He lived in Morocco for about 7½ months while studying and recording Gnawa music.[19] While abroad, he also traveled to Egypt, Israel, Turkey, Jordan, and Syria.[16] During his time abroad, he was arrested numerous times; once in Morocco for having an expired tourist visa and again in Turkey to prevent him from traveling through an active war zone.[16]

Career[edit]

Early comedy[edit]

Mantzoukas first began writing comedy sketches during his junior and senior year of high school for variety shows.[20] He began performing short-form improvisational comedy (improv) as a part of the Otter Nonsense Players at Middlebury College and quickly became "obsessed" with improv as it utilized the same skill set as performing jazz.[16] While performing with the Otters, Mantzoukas met and began learning and practicing long-form improv with fellow performers, Jessica St. Clair, Dan O'Brien, and Rodney Rothman.[12]

Upright Citizens Brigade[edit]

Soon after moving to New York City in 1998, he began performing comedy regularly at the Upright Citizens Brigade Theater (UCB) and was taught by Amy Poehler.[12] He was a member of the improv team "Mother," one of the UCB's earliest house teams.[20][21][22] During his time at UCB, Mantzoukas worked in the computer graphics department at J.P. Morgan for over three years to "make ends meet."[23]

Mantzoukas and comedian Ed Herbstman performed as the comedy duo, "The Mantzoukas Brothers," for a number of years and were named the "Best Improv Duo" by Time Out New York magazine in 2006.[20][24] Mantzoukas continued to write and perform as a duo with Jessica St. Clair appearing in the sketch show, "We Used to Go Out" and long-form improv show, "First Date."[20][25][26] Together, he and St. Clair pitched a pilot to HBO (which was ultimately not picked up) and also earned a deal with Comedy Central.[20] The two were often compared to the likes of Nichols and May and continue to collaborate and perform on the podcast, Womp It Up!.[27] Mantzoukas would later go on to teach advanced improv classes at UCB.[28]

Television and film[edit]

Mantzoukas has appeared in movies such as Baby Mama, I Hate Valentine's Day, The Dictator, and John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum.[7][29][30][31] He has also made guest appearances in television programs such as The Life & Times of Tim, Parks and Recreation, Enlightened, Broad City, Modern Family, The Good Place, Community, and Brooklyn Nine-Nine.[32] Mantzoukas appeared in the recurring roles on the improvised FX comedy The League as Rafi and on the "Gigolo House" sketches on Comedy Central's sketch series Kroll Show as Eagle Wing.[12][32]

In 2018, he replaced T.J. Miller as the voice of Mr. Mucus for the Mucinex commercials.[33]

Writing career[edit]

In 2008, NBC ordered a pilot for a comedy series written by Mantzoukas called Off Duty.[12][34] The pilot was filmed in New York starring Bradley Whitford and Romany Malco but the series was not picked up.[12] In interviews in 2014, Mantzoukas announced that he was working on a "loosely autobiographical" television show for Showtime about life after ending a long-term relationship.[12]

Mantzoukas earned credit for writing the screenplay draft of the buddy cop comedy, Ride Along, starring Ice Cube and Kevin Hart.[35] He originally was asked to write for Andy Samberg as one of the leads, but the rights to the film were ultimately purchased by Universal Studios who later cast Hart in the role originally intended for Samberg.[36] He has also served as a consulting writer and producer on Childrens Hospital and Portlandia.[37]

Podcasts[edit]

He currently co-hosts the Earwolf podcast How Did This Get Made? with Paul Scheer and June Diane Raphael.[38] Mantzoukas also regularly makes appearances on Comedy Bang! Bang!, Womp It Up!, and Reply All.[39][40][41]

Personal life[edit]

Mantzoukas was born with an egg allergy and experiences anaphylaxis if ingested.[42] He has credited this allergy as the cause of his hypochondriac tendencies.[43]

He was previously in a relationship with actress Connie Britton.[44][45][46]

Filmography[edit]

Film[edit]

Year Title Role Notes
2004 Terrorists John Stevens
2007 American Loser Luggage Channel Guy
2008 Baby Mama Gay Couple
2009 I Hate Valentine's Day Brian Blowdell
Splinterheads The Amazing Steve
2010 Please Give Shopper
2011 Conception Brian
2012 The Dictator Nadal
2014 Ride Along N/A Writer
They Came Together Bob
Neighbors Doctor Theodorakis
Adult Beginners Herman
Stretch Manny the Valet
Search Party The Amazing Hugo
2015 Sleeping with Other People Xander
Regular Show: The Movie Mr. Ross (voice)
The Night Before Bad Santa #1
2016 Dirty Grandpa Tan Pam
Donald Trump's The Art of the Deal: The Movie Homeless Man
How to Be Single George
2017 The Lego Batman Movie Scarecrow (voice)
The Disaster Artist Peter Anway
The House Frank Theodorakis
2018 The Long Dumb Road Richard
Ralph Breaks the Internet Hey Nongman (voice)
2019 John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum Tick Tock Man
2020 Dolittle James the Dragonfly (voice)
2021 Infinite Dan Post-production

Television[edit]

Year Title Role Notes
2000 Upright Citizens Brigade Orgy Man Episode: "Sex"
2007 Human Giant Human Giant's #1 Fan Episode: "24 Hour Marathon"
2008 Squidbillies Pine Booby (voice) Episode: "Flight of the Deep Fried Pine Booby"
2010–2012 The Life & Times of Tim Various voices 3 episodes
2010–2015 The League Rafi 30 episodes; also writer
2010 Lee Mathers Victor Dekmajian Television film
2011 Childrens Hospital Mole Man Episode: "Newsreaders"
Also writer and consulting producer
Traffic Light Dimitry Episode: "En Fuego"
2011–2013 Enlightened Omar Ali 8 episodes
2011–2015,
2020
Parks and Recreation Dennis Feinstein 5 episodes
2012 NTSF:SD:SUV:: Hank Schiller Episode: "Comic-Con-Flict"
2013 Bob's Burgers Mr. Manoogian (voice) Episode: "The Unnatural"
The Greatest Event in Television History Director Episode: "Too Close for Comfort"
Hole to Hole! Ashleigh Dangerhole Television film
Modern Family Kenny Episode: "Party Crasher"
2013–2015 Kroll Show Various 9 episodes
2013–2016 Comedy Bang! Bang! Himself / Chef Luigi Lugosi 4 episodes
2014 Broad City Creepy DJ #2 Episode: "Fattest Asses"
Playing House C.J. Wolfe Episode: "Drumline"
Review Crazed Driver Episode: "Road Rage; Orgy"
2014–2017 Transparent Dr. Steve 5 episodes
2014–2018 Drunk History Various 3 episodes
2015 Community Matt Lundergard Episode: "Queer Studies & Advanced Waxing"
Regular Show Various voices 3 episodes
2016 Animals. Fink (voice) Episode: "Rats."
Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life Robert Castellanos Episode: "Spring"
Mr. Neighbor's House N/A Executive producer, creator, writer
2016–2017 Bajillion Dollar Propertie$ Jerry 2 episodes
Lady Dynamite Karl Grisham 2 episodes
We Bare Bears Scientist (voice) 2 episodes
2016–2020 Brooklyn Nine-Nine Adrian Pimento 10 episodes
American Dad! Various voices 5 episodes
2017 Comrade Detective Dragos (voice) 6 episodes
HarmonQuest Grabble Gribble Episode: "The City of Forlona"
Workaholics Isaac Lubetkin Episode: "Party Gawds"
2017–2019 I'm Sorry Kyle 6 episodes
2017–2020 The Good Place Derek Hofstetler 9 episodes
2017–present No Activity Marco / Dustin Kasprowicz 15 episodes
Big Mouth Jay Bilzerian / various voices 31 episodes
2018 Mr. Neighbor's House 2 N/A Executive producer, creator, writer
2018–2019 Nailed It! Himself 2 episodes
2019 Legion Jerome Wolf Episode: "Chapter 25"
Dickinson Bee (voice) 3 episodes
2019–2020 Rise of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Carl Sando (voice) 3 episodes
2020 DuckTales Steelbeak (voice) 2 episodes
Solar Opposites Vanbo (voice) Episode: "Retrace-Your-Step-Alizer"
The Shivering Truth (voice) Episode: "Nesslessness"
2020–present Close Enough Alex (voice)
2020 Invincible Rex Sloan / Rex Splode (voice) Upcoming

References[edit]

  1. ^ "This Week in Comedy Podcasts: Mantzoukas on 'Reply All'". Vulture. January 24, 2019. Retrieved June 17, 2019.
  2. ^ Eakin, Marah (November 6, 2018). "Hey Nongman, there's a Comedy Bang! Bang! joke in Ralph Breaks The Internet". The A.V. Club. Onion, Inc.
  3. ^ Aukerman, Scott. "This week's @ComedyBangBang has the return of the Dink Dink Man himself, Jason Mantzoukas!". Instagram. Retrieved April 15, 2020.
  4. ^ a b Daigle, Beth (December 13, 2018). "Interview with Jason Mantzoukas". nshoremag.com. Retrieved April 24, 2020.
  5. ^ "Jason Mantzoukas Biography". TV Guide.
  6. ^ Gamerman, Ellen (June 21, 2017). "Now Starring With Will Ferrell and Amy Poehler: This Guy?". The Wall Street Journal.
  7. ^ a b c Rottenberg, Jason (May 18, 2012). "The Dictator's Jason Mantzoukas". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved August 2, 2016.
  8. ^ Jones, Patty (May 9, 2012). "The Dictator wields a comic arsenal". The Georgia Straight. Retrieved October 12, 2013.
  9. ^ Dax Shepard, Monica Padman (February 11, 2019). "Jason Mantzoukas". Armchair Expert (Podcast). Stitcher Radio. Event occurs at 33:55.
  10. ^ Dax Shepard, Monica Padman (February 11, 2019). "Jason Mantzoukas". Armchair Expert (Podcast). Stitcher Radio. Event occurs at 34:49.
  11. ^ dharmachine (July 2, 2019). "Jason Mantzoukas' Top Five 'Beach' Records". Discogs Blog.
  12. ^ a b c d e f g Offerman, Nick (November 9, 2014). "Kings of Comedy: Jason Mantzoukas by Nick Offerman". Interview.
  13. ^ "Shrewsbury: David Dragonetti Q&A". redbankgreen. November 2, 2018. I graduated from Swampscott High School...in 1991. Notable graduates include... actor/comedian Jason Mantzoukas.
  14. ^ Paul Scheer, Jason Mantzoukas, and June Diane Raphael (February 13, 2020). "Space Jam: LIVE!". How Did This Get Made? (Podcast). Earwolf. Event occurs at 50:24.CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)
  15. ^ "Arts Middlebury". Middlebury College. Archived from the original on October 5, 2016. Retrieved August 2, 2016.
  16. ^ a b c d e Marc Maron (June 27, 2017). "Episode 824 - Jason Mantzoukas". WTF with Marc Maron (Podcast).
  17. ^ Goldstein, Ian (June 28, 2017). "Improvising Through Life with Jason Mantzoukas". Vulture. Retrieved December 17, 2018.
  18. ^ Riedel, Michael (February 4, 1996). "Learning the Blues". New York Daily News. ...Jason Mantzoukas. A 23-year-old student at Middlebury College, Mantzoukas drove down from Vermont this morning for the audition.
  19. ^ Dax Shepard, Monica Padman (February 11, 2019). "Jason Mantzoukas". Armchair Expert (Podcast). Stitcher Radio. Event occurs at 53:24.
  20. ^ a b c d e Shashoua, Michael. "The Jester Interview: Jason Mantzoukas". The Jester Journal.
  21. ^ Dax Shepard, Monica Padman (February 11, 2019). "Jason Mantzoukas". Armchair Expert (Podcast). Stitcher Radio. Event occurs at 1:19:15.
  22. ^ Dax Shepard, Monica Padman (February 11, 2019). "Jason Mantzoukas". Armchair Expert (Podcast). Stitcher Radio. Event occurs at 1:06:10.
  23. ^ Dax Shepard, Monica Padman (February 11, 2019). "Jason Mantzoukas". Armchair Expert (Podcast). Stitcher Radio. Event occurs at 1:08:06.
  24. ^ "The Mantzoukas Brothers". BestNewYorkComedy.com. July 8, 2012. Retrieved October 12, 2013.
  25. ^ Zinoman, Jason (March 8, 2006). "Being in Love Is Impossible, but Being Alone Is Even Worse". The New York Times.
  26. ^ "Review: We Used to Go Out". UCB Comedy.
  27. ^ Fox, Jesse David (April 25, 2012). "Talking with Jessica St. Clair & Lennon Parham About Best Friends Forever". Vulture.
  28. ^ "Jason Mantzoukas: 'Improv is Funny, But it Doesn't Have to Be'". The Off Camera Show. May 16, 2019.
  29. ^ "Baby Mama Cast and Crew". TV Guide.
  30. ^ Barker, Andrew (June 28, 2009). "I Hate Valentine's Day". Variety.
  31. ^ Busch, Anita (May 21, 2018). "Halle Berry, Anjelica Huston Join Returning Cast For 'John Wick'". Deadline Hollywood.
  32. ^ a b "Jason Mantzoukas – IMDb". IMDb.
  33. ^ Desta, Yohana (February 7, 2018). "T.J. Miller Is Too Problematic to Play Talking Mucus in a Commercial". Vanity Fair.
  34. ^ Andreeva, Nellie (July 1, 2008). "Comedy duo goes 'Off Duty'". The Hollywood Reporter.
  35. ^ Andreeva, Nellie (November 29, 2009). "Ice Cube film, Fox comedy on scribe's plate". The Hollywood Reporter.
  36. ^ Dax Shepard, Monica Padman (February 11, 2019). "Jason Mantzoukas". Armchair Expert (Podcast). Stitcher Radio. Event occurs at 1:18:05.
  37. ^ "Jason Mantzoukas". SF Sketchfest. 2012. Archived from the original on February 26, 2014.
  38. ^ Whittaker, Richard (June 7, 2019). "How Did How Did This Get Made? Get Made?". The Austin Chronicle.
  39. ^ "Search". Gimlet. Retrieved 2020-07-30.
  40. ^ McGlynn, Katla (May 1, 2019). "23 Comedy Bang! Bang! Guests Reveal Their Favorite Moments From the Podcast". Vulture.
  41. ^ Cannon, Benjamin; Jakes, Dan; Colburn, Randall; DiClaudio, Dennis; Caffrey, Dan; Jacobs, Nowah; Fitchette, Dan (April 27, 2015). "Jessica St. Clair debuts highly anticipated Womp It Up!". The A.V. Club.
  42. ^ Metz, Nina (November 13, 2018). "My Worst Moment: Jason Mantzoukas and the dangerous granola". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved December 17, 2018.
  43. ^ Dax Shepard, Monica Padman (February 11, 2019). "Jason Mantzoukas". Armchair Expert (Podcast). Stitcher Radio. Event occurs at 23:37.
  44. ^ Dougherty, Margot (September 15, 2009). "Connie Britton: What 40 Feels Like". Redbook. I have a great man in my life — he's a comedy writer [Jason Mantzoukas], but I probably shouldn't say much more than that! — but that's awesome. And that happened after I turned 40.
  45. ^ Petersen, Anne Helen (November 9, 2014). "The Cult of Connie Britton". BuzzFeed. ...Britton’s been linked with comedian Jason Mantzoukas...
  46. ^ Yahr, Emily (December 31, 2019). "Obsessed with Wikipedia 'personal life' entries? You're not alone". The Washington Post. Retrieved December 31, 2019.

External links[edit]