From Alternative To Mainstream: '90s Comedians

Bob Odenkirk to Paul F Tompkins


Bob Odenkirk

Patton Oswalt

Dino Stamatopoulos

Paul F Tompkins

From Alternative To Mainstream: '90s Comedians CONTINUES...


12. Bob Odenkirk
A comedy obsessive from an early age, Odenkirk got his start as a writer on Saturday Night Live during its late '80s heyday. Citing his desire to perform, Odenkirk left Saturday Night Live to become a cast member on the Emmy-winning The Ben Stiller Show, where he first met David Cross. Odenkirk took the lessons he learned from both endeavors to Mr. Show with Bob and David on HBO, a cult classic now considered a landmark sketch comedy show and the centerpiece of the alternative comedy movement of the '90s. Odenkirk became a guest star on dozens of sitcoms (most notably as a blowhard dog-obsessed lawyer on How I Met Your Mother), before landing a standout dramatic role on Breaking Bad as corrupt lawyer Saul Goodman. Odenkirk has also personally mentored later generations of comedy stars, including Comedy Bang Bang host Scott Aukerman, Tim Heidecker, Eric Wareheim, and even his brother Bill.

Explore Odenkirk's extensive career in the Paley Center Collection.



13. Patton Oswalt
One of the greatest standups of the past 30 years, Oswalt made his first foray into television as a writer on MADTv, a role Oswalt mocks to this day. Nonetheless, the job landed him a regular spot on the cast of The King of Queens, which ran for nine seasons and over 200 episodes. Oswalt’s big break in acting came when he voiced Remy the Rat, the main character of the Pixar classic Ratatouille. He would continue his career in acting and standup simultaneously, starring in the dark comedy Big Fan before receiving Oscar consideration and several film festival awards for his role in Diablo Cody’s Young Adult.



14. Dino Stamatopoulos
Dino Stamatopoulos was the most prominent force in television comedy you’d never heard of, as a writer on just about every comedy variety show throughout the '90s. Along with Robert Smigel and Louis C.K., Dino was one of the engines behind Late Night with Conan O’Brien’s early writing team, and a key player behind the scenes on Mr. Show with Bob and David. Later, Stamatopoulos created two dark comedy series for Adult Swim, Moral Orel and Mary Shelley's Frankenhole. Stamatopoulos’s breakout role as Star Burns on Community finally honors the man whom every insider cites as one of the main comic geniuses of the past twenty years.



15. Paul F. Tompkins
Another standup talent to emerge from Mr. Show, Paul F. Tompkins, a regular performer and writer on the show throughout its run, has gained plaudits for his prolific standup career and his absurdist, faux-highbrow mannerisms. For the last decade, Tompkins has hosted The Paul F. Tompkins Show at the famed Largo venue in Los Angeles, and was the host of the beloved VH1 show Best Week Ever. After becoming one of the most celebrated character actors on Aukermann’s Comedy Bang Bang podcast, Paul F. Tompkins started his own podcast, The Pod. F. Tomkast, which was listed as the funniest podcast on the internet by Rolling Stone. Tompkins has produced two comedy albums and four Comedy Central specials, expanding the fan base he has built with his podcast performances.



"Careers of '90s Sketch Comedy Legends" Pages 1 | 2 | 3 | 4