Paul F. Tompkins

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Paul F. Tompkins
Paul F. Tompkins in March 2012.jpg
Paul F. Tompkins in March 2012
Born Paul Francis Tompkins
(1968-09-12) September 12, 1968 (age 46)[1]
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Occupation Comedian, actor, screenwriter, television producer
Years active 1986–present
Spouse(s) Janie Haddad (2010–present)

Paul Francis Tompkins[1] (born September 12, 1968[1][2][3]), best known as Paul F. Tompkins, is an American comedian, actor and writer. He is known for his work in television on such programs as Mr. Show with Bob and David, Real Time with Bill Maher and Best Week Ever,[3][4][5] later renamed Best Week Ever with Paul F. Tompkins.[1][6]

He is well known for his numerous appearances on podcasts, including his 100+ appearances on Comedy Bang! Bang!. He is also the host of the Fusion Channel talk show No, You Shut Up!, The Dead Authors Podcast, the online Made Man interview series Speakeasy with Paul F. Tompkins, the Earwolf podcast SPONTANEANATION with Paul F. Tompkins, and The Pod F. Tompkast, which was ranked #1 by Rolling Stone on their list of "The 10 Best Comedy Podcasts of the Moment" in 2011.[7]

As of July 2014, he is also a main cast member of the Superego podcast, a regular player on Thrilling Adventure Hour podcast, and a voice actor on the Netflix animated series BoJack Horseman.

In December 2014, Paste named his Twitter one of the "The 75 Best Twitter Accounts of 2014" ranking it at #70.[8]

Early life[edit]

Paul Francis Tompkins was born September 12, 1968 in Mount Airy, Pennsylvania. He has 2 brothers (one older, one younger) and 3 sisters (all older).[3][9][10]

Career[edit]

Early work[edit]

In 1986 Tompkins first performed comedy at 17 years of age at The Comedy Works in Philadelphia (a club now located in Bristol, Pennsylvania) where he performed as half of a sketch comedy duo with the late Rick Roman.[10][11][12] Tompkins attended Temple University; however, he dropped out[citation needed] and left for Los Angeles, California in 1994.[10][12][13]

Tompkins met actor Jay Johnston in L.A. through their mutual friend, actor and director Adam McKay.[citation needed] McKay and Tompkins had become friends in Philadelphia, where they had both started to perform stand-up at around the same time.[5][14] McKay later moved to Chicago and met Johnston; Johnston moved to L.A. at around the same time as Tompkins and McKay introduced the two.[5] Tompkins and Johnston went on to create a live sketch comedy show called "The Skates" that was seen by Bob Odenkirk and David Cross and helped get them hired to work on Mr. Show with Bob and David in 1996.[5][10][12]

Live comedic performance[edit]

Tompkins' comedy career has included stand-up, sketch comedy and a variety of other live performances.

Tompkins stand-up comedy performances are of a storytelling and observationalist style.[4][15][16][17] His shows often consist of extended riffs and long anecdotes.[3][6] Tompkins deals topics of the bizarre and the absurd[3][4] — such as a rant about peanut brittle,[6][18] a discussion about cake versus pie,[18] and smashed coins[16] — in addition to recounting stories about his own life experiences and family.[3][14][15][18] His comedic style has been described as alternative comedy;[10][18][19] Tompkins has stated that he is not bothered by the label and that he likes the term.[20]

Tompkins is known for his style of dress during his live comedic performances, always performing in suit and tie,[6][14] sometimes in pinstripes and with a bowtie;[15][21] his look has been described by some in the press as "dapper".[15][16][18][22] Tompkins has described his look as "foppish" and "just this side of Cedric the Entertainer."[18]

Tompkins is based in Los Angeles and performs regularly in the city.[14][19] Since 2002 he has performed a monthly show called The Paul F. Tompkins Show at Largo, an L.A. nightclub and cabaret.[3][23][24] His show has featured such guests such as Fiona Apple, Jack Black, Dave Foley, Zach Galifianakis, Ed Helms, Aimee Mann and Weird Al Yankovic.[3] Since its inception in 2005, Tompkins has taken part in the Thrilling Adventure Hour, a staged production in the style of old-time radio that is also held monthly at Largo.[25][26][27] The show began podcasting in January 2011; in October of that same year the show's podcasts moved to the Nerdist Industries podcast network created by Chris Hardwick.[28] Tompkins is a member of the Upright Citizens Brigade Theatre (UCB) Los Angeles.[29] His comedy album "Impersonal" was recorded live at the UCB Theatre.[30] He also performs monthly at the "Dead Authors" show at UCB Theatre in support of the nonprofit organization 826LA;[31][32] Tompkins plays the role of H.G. Wells who serves as the host of the show.[31]

Tompkins has toured in the US and Canada[33] and prefers to perform in independent venues, rather than conventional comedy clubs.[34][35] Starting in 2009 he embarked on his "Tompkins 300" tour;[9][22][33] Tompkins had been preparing for his one-hour Comedy Central special You Should Have Told Me at the Laughing Skull Lounge theatre in Atlanta, Georgia — a small theatre that seats about 74 people.[9][22][36] In order to fill the seats for the recording of his special, Tompkins required about 280 people in the audience over the course of 4 nights for the recording of his show.[9][22][35] Tompkins decided to announce on Twitter that he needed 300 people to fill the seats each night;[9][22][35] Bob Kerr, a Canadian comedian, saw the Twitter post and asked if Tompkins would like to perform in Toronto.[9][22][35] Tompkins advised Kerr that if he was able to get 300 people to state that they would definitely see his show he would come to Toronto.[9][22][35] Kerr then started a Facebook group called "I Wanna See Paul F. Tompkins in Toronto" and managed to get 300 people to join.[9][22][35] In October of that same year Tompkins performed at the The Rivoli theatre in Toronto,[9][35] the same theatre in which the sketch comedy troupe The Kids in the Hall got their start.[22][37] Facebook groups were subsequently started in other North American cities[22] and in 2010 he stated that he had stopped promoting his shows on the radio.[38] In 2011 he said that the Facebook 300 groups had become his main method of booking comedy shows.[3]

Tompkins wrote and performed in his one-man show, Driven to Drink which aired on HBO in 1998.[4][13] He appeared on 6 episodes of Late Night with Conan O'Brien between 1998 and 2008[9][13] as well as two episodes of Conan in 2011 and 2012. He has recorded three comedy albums: "Impersonal" in 2007,[5][11][30] "Freak Wharf" in 2009, and "Laboring Under Delusions" in 2012.[32] His stand-up appearances on the Comedy Central network include being featured in episodes of Comedy Central Presents in 2003 and 2007,[32] hosting an episode of Live at Gotham in 2009,[32] performing on John Oliver's New York Stand Up Show in 2010,[32] and recording two original one-hour comedy specials — You Should Have Told Me which aired in 2010[18][39] and Paul F. Tompkins: Laboring Under Delusions in 2012.[18][39][40] He also appeared in the RiffTrax live broadcast of House on Haunted Hill.

Acting and writing[edit]

Tompkins wrote for and performed on Mr. Show with Bob and David from 1995 to 1998; the show's writers, including Tompkins, were nominated for an Emmy Award in 1998 for "Outstanding Writing for a Variety or Music Program".[4]

Tompkins' work with Mr. Show's creators Bob Odenkirk and David Cross also led to his recurring role on the Tenacious D TV series.[10][14] Tompkins played the character of a nightclub manager who is duped into reading Tenacious D’s ridiculous introductions during their open mic performances.[10] He revived the role in the comedic band's film Tenacious D in The Pick of Destiny released in 2006.

Longtime friend Adam McKay consulted Tompkins regarding the screenplay for Talladega Nights.[10] Tompkins also played the MC of a cat show in McKay's Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy.[13][14][41]

Tompkins has appeared on television programs including NewsRadio, Frasier, Weeds, The Sarah Silverman Program, Pushing Daisies, Community and Curb Your Enthusiasm.[3][5][6][9] Tompkins played the role of Prescott in Paul Thomas Anderson's film There Will Be Blood (2007);[5][6] Anderson had previously cast Tompkins in a small role in the 1999 film Magnolia after watching Tompkins perform at Largo.[5][6][13] Tompkins also played FBI Agent Anthony D’Angelo in Steven Soderbergh's The Informant! (2009).[9] He has a recurring role in the Canadian TV series The L.A. Complex as a fictionalized version of himself. He also appeared in the music video for Nick Lowe's song "Stoplight Roses" and in the Ted Leo and the Pharmacists song "Bottled In Cork" Tompkins wrote for Real Time with Bill Maher in 2003 and 2009, in addition to being a show correspondent in the show's first season.[13][14] In 2011 Tompkins was asked to write humorous recaps of American Idol episodes for New York magazine’s online blog Vulture.[3][42][43]

Tompkins has expressed in interviews that he dislikes writing (particularly writing for others), preferring instead to perform in front of a camera.[10][11]

Voice acting[edit]

Tompkins has done voice work for many animated television series including Dr. Katz, Professional Therapist, King of the Hill and Bob's Burgers, where he voices the recurring character Randy. He lent his voice to a character in an unaired 2007 episode of Aqua Teen Hunger Force titled "Boston" that was supposed to be the premiere episode of the show's fifth season, but it was pulled by Turner Broadcasting System to avoid further controversy surrounding the 2007 Boston bomb scare.[44] Tompkins later appeared in an episode during the show's 7th season. He was also the voice of one of the thugs in Walt Disney Animation Studios' 2010 computer animated film Tangled. Tompkins was the voice of Benton Criswell, a character in MTV series Super Adventure Team which featured marionettes in the style of the 1960s British series Thunderbirds; the role was credited under the stage name Francis Mt. Pleasant. He was the voice of a puppet in ads for the Ford Focus.[39] Tompkins plays Mr. Peanutbutter in the 2014 Netflix original animated series BoJack Horseman.

Political and social commentary[edit]

Tompkins has appeared on several television programs devoted to discussing politics, popular culture and current events; however, he says he does not consider himself to be a political comic.[45]

Tompkins was a contributor to the "Us People's Weekly Entertainment" segment of The Daily Show in 1998.[9][14] In 2003 he was a writer and correspondent for Real Time with Bill Maher in the show's first season[13][14] and wrote again for the show in 2009. He appeared on Tough Crowd with Colin Quinn in 2004.[32] In 2004 he also became a pop culture analyst on VH1's Best Week Ever;[1][46] in 2008 the show was retooled and relaunched as Best Week Ever with Paul F. Tompkins with Tompkins as host.[1][6][46] From 2006 to 2008 he was a regular guest on Countdown with Keith Olbermann.[5][6][11] In 2008 he appeared on Lewis Black's Root of All Evil[32][47] and took part in a panel on Larry King Live in an episode titled "Politics & Humor".

Tompkins has appeared in documentaries such as Jamie Kennedy's Heckler (2007) and Doug Benson's Super High Me (2007). He also appeared in The Bitter Buddha (2013), a documentary about the career of actor and comedian Eddie Pepitone.[48][49]

Paul F. Tompkins later became the host of a discussion show called No, You Shut Up! by The Jim Henson Company under its Henson Alternative banner.

Podcasts, webcasts and radio[edit]

In 2010 Tompkins launched his podcast called The Pod F. Tompkast.[32][50] The podcast is a mixture of Tompkins discussing various topics, clips from his live show at Largo, and segments where Tompkins voices a variety of celebrities speaking with one another.[7][32][51][52] Comedian Jen Kirkman is a regular contributor on the show.[7][19][51]

The Thrilling Adventure Hour comedy show at Largo began podcasting in January 2011; in October of that same year the show's podcasts moved to the Nerdist Industries podcast network created by Chris Hardwick.[28]

Dead Authors, a live show that Tompkins hosts at the UCB Theatre in Los Angeles, also began podcasting in September 2011.[53]

In May 2012 Tompkins started a weekly web series called Speakeasy. Hosted by the Break Media site MadeMan.com, the series features Tompkins interviewing various guests in the entertainment industry, such as Ty Burrell, Nathan Fillion, Zach Galifianakis, Chris Hardwick, Oscar Nunez, Weird Al Yankovic and Alison Brie.[54][55][56] The interviews are conducted as casual conversations between Tompkins and his guest over cocktails at various bars in the L.A. area.[54][55][56]

Tompkins has appeared several times as a guest, and twice as a guest host, on Comedy Bang Bang (formerly Comedy Death-Ray Radio),[5][19][22] a weekly audio podcast hosted by Scott Aukerman, a comedian who also wrote for Mr. Show with Bob and David.[57][58] The show's format mixes conversation between the host and guests, and usually includes improv games. Some guests play characters or impersonate certain celebrities, sometimes for the entirety of the episode; Paul F. Tompkins has impersonated celebrities such as rapper Ice-T, composer Andrew Lloyd Webber, and Buddy Valastro from the reality television series Cake Boss.[19]

In addition to Aukerman's Comedy Bang! Bang!, Tompkins regularly appears on the podcasts of other fellow comedians such as WTF with Marc Maron,[19] Jimmy Pardo's Never Not Funny,[43] Jessica Chaffin and Jamie Denbo's Ronna and Beverly podcast,[19] and the Superego podcast with Jeremy Carter, Matt Gourley, and Mark McConville.[59] Tompkins has also been a regular guest on the radio show and podcast The Best Show on WFMU with Tom Scharpling.[19][43]

In 2015, Tompkins created his own podcast on the Earwolf podcast network called SPONTANEANATION with Paul F. Tompkins. This podcast is similar to the Pod F. Tompkast, however SPONTANEANATION is fully improvised and in-the-moment, as opposed to the Tompkast, which was highly produced. SPONTANEANATION begins with an improvised monologue, accompanied on piano by Eban Schletter, much like the Pod F. Tompkast. The next segment is an interview with one of Tompkins's famous friends. The final segment is one long improvised story performed by Paul and guest improvisers, based on ideas discussed in the interview segment.

Filmography[edit]

Film[edit]

Year Title Role Notes
1998 Jack Frost Audience Member
1999 Magnolia Chad, Seduce & Destroy Voice Role
2004 Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy Cat Show Competition Host
2006 Tenacious D in The Pick of Destiny Open Mic Host
2007 Super High Me Himself Documentary
2007 There Will Be Blood Prescott
2009 The Informant! FBI-agent Anthony D’Angelo
2010 Tangled Short Thug Voice Role
2010 Drones Jafe
2014 Jason Nash Is Married Dr. Glen

Television[edit]

Year Title Role Notes
1996–1998 Mr. Show with Bob and David Various Featured Cast Seasons 1-4, Also Writer
1997 Tenacious D Paul 5 episodes
1998 The Daily Show Himself Contributor
1998 Super Adventure Team Dr. Benton Criswell Voice role
1999 NewsRadio Justice of the Peace Episode: "Wedding"
1999 Dr. Katz, Professional Therapist Paul Voice role; Episode: "Vow of Silence"
2000–2001 DAG Sullivan Pope Main cast
2003 Comedy Central Presents': Paul F. Tompkins Himself
2003 Frasier Steve Episode: "The Harassed"
2003 Real Time with Bill Maher Himself
2004 Tough Crowd with Colin Quinn Himself
2005 King of the Hill Professor Twilley Voice role; Episode: "A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Clown"
2005 Kelsey Grammer Presents: The Sketch Show Various
2005 Too Late with Adam Carolla Himself
2006–2008 Countdown with Keith Olbermann Himself Regular contributor
2007 Comedy Central Presents': Paul F. Tompkins 2 Himself
2007 The Sarah Silverman Program Paul / Police Officer No. 1 4 episodes
2007 Weeds Bob 2 episodes
2008 Best Week Ever Himself
2008 Larry King Live Himself
2008 Lewis Black's Root of All Evil Himself 6 episodes
2008 Pushing Daisies Gunther Pinker Episode: "Oh Oh Oh... It's Magic"
2010 Aqua Teen Hunger Force Angel / Police Officer Voice roles; 2 episodes
2010 Community Robert Episode: "Mixology Certification"
2010 Nick Swardson's Pretend Time Various Episode: "I Just Got Voodoo'd"
2010 True Jackson, VP Royce Bingham Episode: "True Fear"
2010–2012 Regular Show Various 5 episodes
2010–2012 The Life & Times of Tim Donnie / Kyle Zander Voice roles; 2 episodes
2011 Curb Your Enthusiasm Andrew Berg Episode: "The Divorce"
2011 Raising Hope Jeff Episode: "The Cultish Personality"
2011, 2014 Talking Dead Himself 2 episodes
2011 Last Man Standing Chester McAllister Episode: "Last Baby Proof Standing"
2011 Up All Night Dave Episode: "Week Off"
2011–2014 Bob's Burgers Randy / Pierre / Bronconius 6 episodes
2012 Key & Peele Congressman Episode: "Dueling Magical Negroes"
2012–2015 Comedy Bang! Bang! Various 9 episodes
2012 The L.A. Complex Paul F. Tompkins 6 episodes
2012–2013 Adventure Time Various Voice roles; 2 episodes
2013 Ghost Ghirls Antonio Episode: "Something Borrowed, Something Boo"
2013–present No, You Shut Up! Himself
2013–2015 @midnight Himself 11 episodes
2014–present BoJack Horseman Mr. Peanutbutter / Andrew Garfield / Heckler Main cast; voice role
2015 The Thundermans King Crab Episode: "A Hero Is Born"
2015 Kroll Show Andy Downpour Episode: "The Commonwealth Games"
2015 Rick and Morty Voice role; episode: "A Rickle in Time"

Discography[edit]

Podcast and radio appearances[edit]

Tompkins is well known for his many podcast appearances, as well as hosting a few of his own. He is often referred to as the mayor of podcasts.[60]

Year Title Notes
2006–2014 Never Not Funny
2006–2007 The Sound of Young America
2006, 2011-2012 Guys With Feelings[61]
2007–2011 The Best Show on WFMU with Tom Scharpling
2008–2009, 2011 Comedy and Everything Else[62]
2009–present Comedy Bang! Bang! Both guest and guest host
2009, 2011 WTF with Marc Maron
2009 Kevin Pollak's Chat Show
2009 Jordan, Jesse Go!
2009 The TVA Podcast[63]
2009 KUCI: Naked Comedy
2009-2012 Am I Right?[64]
2009-2013 A Bit of a Chat[65]
2009–2014 Stop Podcasting Yourself
2010 Host and Guest
2010–2013 The Pod F. Tompkast Host
2010, 2012 Comedy Film Nerds[66][67]
2010-2012, 2014 The David Feldman Show[68]
2010–2014 Doug Loves Movies
2010–2014 Superego Guest (2010–2013) / Official cast member (2014-2015)
2010, 2012 The Nerdist Podcast Guest (2010) / Guest co-host (2012)
2010–2014 Sklarbro Country
2011–2015 The Thrilling Adventure Hour'' WorkJuice Player
2011 The Anytime Show with Dominic Dierkes
2011 Citizen Radio[69]
2011–present The Dead Authors Podcast Host (as H.G. Wells); guest (as Mark Twain)
2011–2012, 2014 Ronna and Beverly
2011–2015 Who Charted?
2011 The Wolf Den
2011 The Moth[70]
2011 The Apple Sisters
2011, 2014 Totally Laime
2011 Professor Blastoff
2011 Earwolf Challenge
2011 The Mental Illness Happy Hour
2011 Gather Around Me[71]
2011 Saturn Scene[72]
2012 Quit It[73]
2012 The Adam Carolla Show[74]
2012 The Fogelnest Files
2012 Yo, Is This Racist?
2012 Team Coco[75]
2012 The Long Shot Podcast[76]
2012, 2015 International Waters
2012 Shortwave with Grant-Lee Phillips Guest host
2012 You Made It Weird
2012 Paul and Storm Talk About Some Stuff For Five To Ten Minutes (On Average)
2012 Alison Rosen Is Your New Best Friend
2012–2013 Pop My Culture
2012–2014 The Todd Glass Show
2012–2014 Wits
2013–2014 Analyze Phish Sometime co-host (with Howard Kremer)
2013 Nerdist Writers Panel
2013 The Reality Show Show
2013, 2015 Hollywood Handbook
2013, 2015 How Did This Get Made?
2013, 2014 James Bonding
2013 Judge John Hodgman[77]
2012–2013 Dining with Doug and Karen
2013 The K Ohle
2013 Pappy's Flatshare Slamdown[78] Recorded at the Soho Theatre
2013–2014 Go Bayside!
2014 The Andy Daly Podcast Pilot Project
2014 U Talkin' U2 To Me?
2014 The JV Club
2014–2015 improv4humans
2014 This Week in Marvel
2014 Slumber Party with Alie & Georgia
2014 I Was There Too
2014 Feliz Navipod
2014–2015 With Special Guest Lauren Lapkus
2014 Baby Geniuses
2015 A Beautiful Podcast[79]
2015–present SPONTANEANATION with Paul F. Tompkins Host
2015 Pistol Shrimps Radio
2015 WOMP It Up!
2015 The Indoor Kids
2015 Superego: Forgotten Classics Cast member

References[edit]

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