A comedian noted for his deadpan delivery, Steven Wright has built up a following, and while he has not followed many of his contemporaries into sitcom or big screen stardom, he did win an Academy Award for the short The Appointments of Dennis Jennings (1988). Steven Wright coproduced, cowrote and costarred in the film, playing a man who goes to a psychotherapist and meets with unexpected results.
Steven Wright began performing in Boston comedy clubs in the late 1970s, and by 1982 had made his first appearance on The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson. He went on to make nine appearances over the next three years. HBO took notice, and gave Wright his first chance to headline a TV special, 1985’s On Location: Steven Wright. The next year, Wright appeared on the first Comic Relief special, and has performed a routine on each one since.
During the 80s Wright also guest hosted Saturday Night Live (NBC), guest starred on The Smothers Brothers Thanksgiving Special (CBS, 1988) and even appeared on The Prince’s Trust Gala (TBS, 1989), an uppercrust affair of the royals in the UK. Steven Wright also had a recurring role as Warren, Paul Reiser’s laconic cameraperson, on Mad About You (NBC), and made a memorable guest appearance on HBO’s The Larry Sanders Show in 1992.
Steven Wright made his screen debut playing the dentist Larry Stillman in Desperately Seeking Susan (1985), and later appeared in the ensemble cast of Stars and Bars (1988). He voiced the DJ in Reservoir Dogs (1992) before playing the unskilled pilot in So I Married An Axe Murderer (1993). In 1994, he was featured in a number of roles, including Dr. Reingold in Natural Born Killers, the man at the phone booth in Mixed Nuts and voiced the ironically named turtle Speed in the animated children’s film The Swan Princess. Steven has also appeared in Speechless (1994), Canadian Bacon (1995), Half-Baked (1998), Babe, Pig in the City (1998), and The Muse (1999). Most recently, he directed and appeared in the HBO film One Soldier (1999), and appeared in Loser (2000).
On occasion, Steven Wright has written for film and TV, notably Jim Jarmusch’s Coffee and Cigarettes (1986), in which he also appeared, and his own special, Wicker Chairs and Gravity (HBO, 1990). He also writes articles for numerous publications, including The New York Times, The New York Post, and GQ.