Jeff Altman

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Jeff Altman
Altman in 1980
Born (1951-08-13) August 13, 1951 (age 72)
Occupation(s)Stand-up comedian, actor
Years active1974–present
(m. 1979, divorced)
  • Bonnie Goldstein
    (m. 19??)
Children2 (1 stepdaughter)

Jeff Altman (born August 13, 1951) is an American stand-up comedian and actor[1] who has appeared as a guest on Late Night with David Letterman and Late Show with David Letterman a combined 45 times. Altman mesmerized contemporaries like David Letterman and Jerry Seinfeld, and inspired future comedians like Judd Apatow.[2]

Altman has also had numerous acting roles in movies and television such as Dr. Gene Splicer in Tiny Toon Adventures, Professor Dweeb in Slimer and The Real Ghostbusters, Clint Mullet on Mork and Mindy, and five different guest characters on Baywatch. He had a recurring role as Hughie Hogg, the nephew of Jefferson Davis Hogg, on The Dukes of Hazzard.

Early life and education[edit]

Altman was born in Syracuse, New York, to Genelle, a housewife, and Arthur, a sales manager. At Nottingham Senior High School in Syracuse, he played third singles on the school's tennis team and was on the wrestling team. He graduated from Johns Hopkins University in 1974 with a degree in social sciences.[3]


Altman began his career in 1974 at the Comedy Store.

In 1976, came his first appearance on television, on Cos, a Bill Cosby children's variety show . A year later he joined Starland Vocal Band Show, where he was alongside celebrities such as David Letterman and Mark Russell.[4] In 1978 he appeared as sleazy record promoter Lennie Richfield in the movie American Hot Wax. Altman also had a starring role as the host of the short-lived NBC variety show Pink Lady and Jeff in 1980, which TV Guide has ranked No. 35 on its "50 Worst TV Shows of All Time" list.[5] Altman appeared on the first episode of An Evening at the Improv.

Later in the decade, he became the in-house comedian on Solid Gold,[4] where his characters included Al Punker, fast-talking proprietor of "Al Punker's Music Barn," the "music vampire Count Downula," and the ex-boxer Leonard Moon, the last of whom would state "I don't have the brains of a ice cube" and claim, "I am the Solid Gold music critic. Tonight, my subject is music."

Altman has directed many sitcoms. In the mid-1980s, he was the spokesman for Arby's restaurants, Tostitos corn chips, and Valvoline motor oil,[6] and by 1990 he was a Budweiser spokesman.[7]

In 1982, he appeared in a movie, Send in the Clowns.[8]

In 1989, Altman released his one and only comedy record album, titled "I'll Flip You Like A Cheese Omelette" (Mercury 842 070–1) and the same year had appeared in three Hollywood clubs: the Laugh Factory, the Comedy Store and the Irvine Improvisation.[9] He also has been the (uncredited) host of the defensive driving course available through Blockbuster Video.

In the 1990s, Altman was on the NBC series Nurses during its first season (1991–1992).[10] He was written out as the show was re-worked for its second season.

A regular feature of his stand-up act has typically included a comical impression of his father, and Altman continued to find his Nixon impression humorous well into the 1980s. In 1991 he was a host of The Sunday Comics, but later was replaced by Lenny Clarke.[11] On February 22, 1991, Altman had created his own show called Jeff Altman's Scrap Book, where he continued to parody his "Dad" as Uncle Carl which he started back in early 1980s.[12]

In 2017, Jeff Altman played a fundraiser, at the Chicago branch of the Laugh Factory, for McCormac College of Lake View, Chicago.[13]

Altman and Letterman[edit]

Altman met Letterman in 1975 at the Comedy Store in Hollywood. After a few dinners and even attending Indianapolis 500 together, they became great friends. During one such outing, a woman, who was a huge Letterman fan, had approached them and asked if Altman could take a picture of her and Letterman, using her camera. As they posed and Altman was lining up the shot, he suddenly broke away and ran, pretending to steal the camera. Since that time, Jeff Altman appeared on Late Night with David Letterman and Late Show with David Letterman a combined 45 times.[12]

Personal life[edit]

Altman is a drummer, and a longtime fan of Buddy Rich,[14] whom he once enticed to appear at Hopkins for one of his classes. In 1979 he married Leslie Ackerman and together they had a daughter, Faith.[3]

Altman is also an accomplished magician. A much admired "card man," one of his effects has been included in the famous Tarbell Course in Magic.



Year Title Role Notes
1977 Record City Engineer
1978 American Hot Wax Lennie Richfield
1982 Wacko Harry Palms
1983 Easy Money Bill Jones
1985 Doin' Time Juke Jarrett
1986 Soul Man Ray McGrady
1991 Highlander II: The Quickening Doctor
1993 Russian Holiday Milt Holly
1994 Chantmania: The Benzedrine Monks of Santo Damonica Don Keydick
2001 Holiday in the Sun Chad
2004 Back by Midnight Doctor
2006 Cloud 9 Drunk lawyer
2007 Bee Movie Uncle Carl Voice
Urban Decay Man in dumpster


Year Title Role Notes
1976 Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman Johnny Tilson 2 episodes
1977 All's Fair President Carter
1978 The Young Pioneers Dr. Hayes Episode: "The Promise of Spring"
Maude President Carter Episode: "Maude's Big Move: Part 3"
Mork & Mindy Clint Mullet Episode: "Mork Goes Public"
1979 Amateur Night at the Dixie Bar and Grill Marvin Laurie Television film
Legends of the Superheroes Weather Wizard 2 episodes
WKRP in Cincinnati Murray Gressler Episode: "Johnny Comes Back"
1979–1985 The Dukes of Hazzard Hughie Hogg 6 episodes
1980 Pink Lady Various roles Episode #1.6
1981 Archie Bunker's Place Gary Bernstein 2 episodes
Bulba Gary Holmes Television film
1982 Scared Silly Donovan Scott
Drop-Out Father Harry
In Love with an Older Woman Gordon
1984 Scene of the Crime Jack Morton Episode: "A Very Practical Joke"
1986 It's a Living Brian Jackson Episode: "American Sweetheart"
Night Court Judge Mike Watson Episode: "The New Judge"
1987 Stingray Jeff Episode: "The First Time Is Forever"
1988–1989 The Real Ghostbusters Professor Norman Dweeb Voice; 11 episodes
1989 Thirtysomething Monty Ovary Episode: "Trust Me"
Little White Lies Technician Television film
1989–1998 Baywatch Various roles 7 episodes
1990 Tiny Toon Adventures Lloyd / Dr. Gene Splicer Voice; 2 episodes
1991–1992 Nurses Greg Vincent 22 episodes
1994 Thunder in Paradise George Langston Sibley VI Episode: "Gettysburg Change of Address"
1996 Caroline in the City Howie Bloom Episode: "Caroline and the Movie"
Land's End Lou Episode: "Who's Killing Cole Porter?"
2008–2010 Late Show with David Letterman Various roles 30 episodes


  1. ^ Caesar, Sid; Friedfeld, Eddy (2003). Caesar's hours: my life in comedy, with love and laughter. PublicAffairs. pp. 268–. ISBN 978-1-58648-152-0.
  2. ^ "Letterman and Seinfeld on the Comic Genius of Jeff Altman". Esquire. August 13, 2015.
  3. ^ a b Tom Gliatto and Michael Alexander (May 14, 1990). "Kinetic Comic Jeff Altman Wants to Flip You Like a Cheese Omelette". People. Vol. 33, no. 19.
  4. ^ a b Pierce, Scott D. (May 5, 1990). "Jeff Altman Makes a Comeback". Deseret News.
  5. ^ Rabin, Nathan (November 5, 2015). "Lost in translation case file #48: Pink Lady And Jeff". The A.V. Club. Retrieved February 12, 2019.
  6. ^ Rothenberg, Randall (August 29, 1988). "Comedians as Ad Stars: Absurd Yet Credible". The New York Times.
  7. ^ Leader, Jody (May 5, 1990). "Comedian Jeff Altman Worries That Nobody Knows Who He Is". Los Angeles Daily News. Chicago Tribune.
  8. ^ Saad, Nardeen (April 11, 2018). "Mitzi Shore's Comedy Store legacy was inked long ago, as told to The Times". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved February 12, 2019.
  9. ^ Strauss, Duncan (July 1, 1989). "Jeff Altman to Play Irvine: Character Comic--Or Just Nuts?". Los Angeles Times.
  10. ^ Marbella, Jean (July 18, 1991). "Whether a man of letters or a man of Letterman, Jeff Altman keeps on joking". The Baltimore Sun.
  11. ^ Scripps Howard News Service (July 18, 1991). "Call of the Casting Agent is Answered". Deseret News.
  12. ^ a b McLellan, Dennis (January 19, 1991). "Stand-Up Comic Does Bang-Up Job: Comedy: Jeff Altman, who performs Sunday night at the Irvine Improv, is known for his highly physical approach". Los Angeles Times.
  13. ^ Lewis, Cairo (April 26, 2017). "Comedian Jeff Altman dishes on his bromance with Letterman and Seinfeld". WGN-TV. Retrieved February 12, 2019.
  14. ^ "Anton Fig". Rhythm. August 28, 2018. Retrieved February 12, 2019 – via PressReader.

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