Woliner in July 2011.
June 1, 1980 |
The Bronx, New York, U.S.
|Occupation||Director, Writer, Actor|
Jason Woliner (born June 1, 1980) is an American comedy director, writer, and a former child actor. He was the non-performing member of the comedy group Human Giant and directed the bulk of their output. The group, which also consisted of comedians Aziz Ansari, Rob Huebel, and Paul Scheer, produced an MTV sketch comedy show that ran for two seasons. He has been directing, writing on, and executive producing the Adult Swim series Eagleheart, starring Chris Elliott. The show has completed production of three seasons and is on hiatus. Woliner has directed episodes of Fox TV's The Last Man On Earth, NBC's Parks and Recreation, and Comedy Central's Nathan for You and Jon Benjamin Has A Van, among others.
Early life and acting career
Woliner was born in The Bronx, New York and began acting when he was four years old, having been discovered performing in a "father/son magician team" (alongside his father, Alan, who did children's birthday parties under the name "Amazing Alan The Magical Rabbit"). He appeared in over thirty television commercials, including those for Kix Cereal, LEGO, Teddy Ruxpin, Apple Jacks, Burger King, Fruit Roll-Ups, and Kool Aid. Woliner also appeared in the commercial parody "McSooshi" on Saturday Night Live and as "Matt", a series regular during the first season of PBS's Shining Time Station. On Broadway, he performed in the play Conversations with My Father and he played the role of "Bratty Kid" in the cult film Weekend at Bernie's. Woliner attended Pelham Memorial High School and for higher study at Sarah Lawrence College from 1998 to 2000 before dropping out to pursue a directing career.
After leaving school, Woliner began making films and videos, both on his own and with comedians in New York, and screening them at shows like Invite Them Up, the monthly First Sundays film festival, Baltimore's now defunct MicroCineFest, UCB, and others. It was at these shows that he met and began working with the comedians who would become Human Giant. During this period, Woliner also frequently collaborated on short films with Frank Lesser, an author and former writer for Comedy Central's The Colbert Report.
The first three Human Giant videos ("Shutterbugs", "Illusionators", and the "Shittiest Mixtape Boombox Blast") caught the eyes of executives at MTV, who offered the group a pilot. The resulting pilot got a green light, and the show ran for two seasons. Woliner, in addition to directing the majority of the series, served on the writing staff and wrote or co-wrote sketches such as "Camping Weekend", "Car Accident (a.k.a. Gay Porn Ghost)", "Bruce Willis Lookalike", "Sci-Fi Makeup", "Foley Artist", and "Rollerblading". He also served as an executive producer and lead editor on the series.
Woliner is working with Red Hour Films on an untitled Human Giant feature project and directing television projects for HBO, Comedy Central, Adult Swim, PBS, and SpikeTV. He has directed several episodes of the NBC comedy series Parks and Recreation, including "Beauty Pageant", "Woman of the Year", and the second season finale, "Freddy Spaghetti".
Working with frequent collaborator Aziz Ansari, Woliner directed and co-wrote the mockumentary shorts series RAAAAAAAANDY, based on Ansari's character in Judd Apatow's Funny People. After the success of those shorts, Apatow and Universal signed a deal with Woliner and Ansari to write three movies. The pair are working on the first of those screenplays, a comedy about a disgraced astronaut (Ansari) who must figure out a way to return to the moon and clear his name. Woliner has also directed Ansari's stand-up specials Intimate Moments for a Sensual Evening and Dangerously Delicious, and two recent specials of comedian Patton Oswalt.
He has collaborated with writer-performer Brett Gelman on a series of horror/comedy specials for Adult Swim. The first of these, titled Dinner with Friends with Brett Gelman and Friends, aired in April 2014, and the most recent special, titled Dinner with Family with Brett Gelman and Brett Gelman's Family, aired in February 2015. Woliner and Gelman wrote the specials together; Gelman stars and Woliner directed.