T. J. Jagodowski

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T. J. Jagodowski
T.J. Jagodowski at iO Chicago, April 2013.jpg
Jagodowski sits on stage after a show at iO Chicago in April 2013.
Thomas James Jagodowski

(1971-09-02) September 2, 1971 (age 48)
EducationSyracuse University
Known for"Two Guys" ad campaign for Sonic

Thomas James "T. J." Jagodowski[1] (born September 2, 1971) is an American comedian, actor, and improvisational performer who lives in Chicago. He has been a member of The Second City as well as a performer and teacher at iO Theater, formerly known as "Improv Olympic". He has appeared in movies such as Stranger Than Fiction, The Ice Harvest, No Sleep Till Madison, Get Hard and the television show, Prison Break. He is most recognizable from the long-running series of improvised Sonic Drive-In commercials featuring himself and Peter Grosz.

Life and career[edit]

Jagodowski was born in Holyoke, Massachusetts. He attended Blessed Sacrament school and graduated as salutatorian of Holyoke Catholic High School in 1988.[2] While in college at Syracuse University,[1] a vending machine fell on his leg, breaking multiple bones. He had plates and screws installed in his right leg, though a rampant staph infection took hold.[1] Doctors told him he was one week away from losing the leg to gangrene. T. J. discussed this during a performance of "The Armando Diaz Theatrical Experience and Hootenanny", a weekly show at iO that uses one performer's/guest monologist's stories as inspiration for improvised scenes. T. J. was the monologist that evening and noted while telling the story that he generally hates when other monologists tell "these kinds of stories".[citation needed]

Jagodowski began improvising in the early 90s. He started out on several Harold teams at iO Chicago. In 1998, he was cast in the Mainstage cast of The Second City, where he appeared in revues on both Mainstage and e.t.c. stages alongside Kevin Dorff, Susan Messing, Stephnie Weir, and many others. Since 2002, he has been performing at iO with David Pasquesi in the long-running improv show "TJ & Dave."

The 2009 South by Southwest Film festival included the documentary "Trust Us, This is All Made Up" directed by Alex Karpovsky, which chronicles a "T. J. and Dave" performance.[3][4]

The Chicago Improv Festival called Jagodowski "The best improviser in Chicago". New City Chicago said, "If Miles Davis had pursued comedy instead of music, the results might have looked something like this."[5] Jagodowski performs weekly in Chicago in a variety of improv programs, but most notably in "T. J. and Dave" with David Pasquesi, which the Chicago Reader has described as "an hour of subtle character development, verbal facility, and pantomimic agility that anticipates and plays off the audience's reactions."[6] Since 2006, the duo performs this show monthly at The Barrow Street Theatre in New York City, and have been performing the show weekly since 2002 in Chicago.[1]

Since 2004 T. J. has starred as one half of the "Two Guys" for the Sonic Drive-In commercials alongside fellow improviser Peter Grosz.[7]

Jagodowski was a guest on the NPR program Wait Wait... Don't Tell Me! on the weekend of November 2–3, 2013.

In 2019, the Holyoke St. Patrick's Day Committee honored Jagodowski with the John Fitzgerald Kennedy National Award.[8] The John Fitzgerald Kennedy Award is presented annually to an American of Irish descent who has distinguished themselves in their chosen field. Past winners included Jimmy Breslin, Doris Kearns Goodwin, Tom Clancy, David McCullough, Leo Edward O'Neil, Art Rooney, Dan Devine, Tip O'Neill, Dennis Day, Neil Sheehan, as well as John F. Kennedy and Ted Kennedy.[9]



Year Film Role
1999 Serious Business Improv Nerd
2001 Soul Survivors ER Doctor
2002 No Sleep 'til Madison Greg
2002 Streetriffs Skeets
2005 The Ice Harvest Officer Tyler
2006 Stranger Than Fiction IRS Co-Worker #4
2009 Club83
2010 The Moleman of Belmont Avenue Paulie
2012 Close Quarters Patrick
2013 Oz the Great and Powerful Quadling Mayor
2015 Get Hard Chris
2015 Open Tables William Burns


Year Show Role Notes
2006 Prison Break Pilot 2 Episodes
2012 Shrink Yourg 2 Episodes
2014 Couch Surferz Gandulf 1 Episode
2016 Chicago Fire Rodney Ogle 1 Episode
2016 Easy Bern Episode: "The Fucking Study"
2019 “Chicago Fire” Rodney Ogle 1 episode


  1. ^ a b c d Anne Ford (June 5, 2008). "Life Without a Script: how funnyman TJ Jagodowski fell into improv—and the mysterious affliction that keeps him from leaving it". Chicago Reader. Retrieved February 15, 2016.
  2. ^ https://www.chicagoreader.com/chicago/life-without-a-script/Content?oid=1109666
  3. ^ Daily Texan online Archived September 16, 2009, at the Wayback Machine
  4. ^ Austin Decider.com Archived August 21, 2009, at the Wayback Machine
  5. ^ Acorn Theater.com Archived June 11, 2008, at the Wayback Machine
  6. ^ Chicago Reader Archived August 18, 2008, at the Wayback Machine
  7. ^ Andrew Adam Newman (February 21, 2012). "Sonic Drive-In revives 'out of work' spokesmen". The New York Times. Retrieved February 15, 2016.
  8. ^ https://www.masslive.com/news/index.ssf/2019/01/sonic_drive-in_ad_star_thomas_tj_jagodowski_named_2019_jfk_award_recipient.html
  9. ^ http://holyokestpatricksparade.com/awards/

External links[edit]