Michael Showalter

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Michael Showalter
Michael Showalter May 2015 crop.jpg
Michael Showalter at the Montclair Film Festival, May 2015
Born (1970-06-17) June 17, 1970 (age 52)
Princeton, New Jersey, U.S.
MediumFilm, television
Years active1992–present
GenresSurreal comedy, improvisational comedy, farce, dark comedy, stand-up comedy, alternative comedy, sketch comedy, anti-humor, cringe comedy, physical comedy, satire / parody
Anne Kalin Ellis
(m. 2011)

Michael Showalter (born June 17, 1970) is an American comedian, actor, director, writer, and producer. He first came to recognition as a cast member on MTV's The State, which aired from 1993 to 1995. He and David Wain created the Wet Hot American Summer franchise, with Showalter co-writing and starring in Wet Hot American Summer (2001), and the Netflix series. Showalter wrote and directed The Baxter (2005), in which he starred with Michelle Williams, Justin Theroux, and Elizabeth Banks. Both films featured many of his co-stars from The State, and so do several of his other projects. Showalter is also a co-creator, co-producer, actor, and writer for the TV series Search Party. He directed the 2017 critically acclaimed feature film The Big Sick.

Early life[edit]

Showalter was born in Princeton, New Jersey, the son of Elaine Showalter (née Cottler), an author, feminist literary critic, and professor of English, and English Showalter, a Yale-educated professor of 18th century French literature.[1] His father is Episcopalian and his mother is Jewish.[2][3] He has one older sister, Vinca Showalter LaFleur, a professional speechwriter. He attended Princeton High School. For five years, Showalter shared an apartment with his friend, comedian and actress Andrea Rosen.[4]


Showalter began his undergraduate studies at New York University, where he joined the sketch comedy group The New Group. He transferred to and graduated from Brown University. After he completed college, The New Group changed its name to The State and began creating video shorts for an MTV show called You Wrote It, You Watch It, hosted by Jon Stewart. The comedy troupe then got its own sketch comedy TV series, The State , which aired for two years on MTV.

Showalter has also had several smaller roles in movies and TV shows. He played Ron Parker, the arrogant host of Cheap Seats, on ESPN Classic in the pilot episode. However, after a bookcase fell on Showalter's character, tape librarians (and brothers) Randy and Jason Sklar took over the hosting duties. Showalter spent a brief time as a correspondent on The Daily Show (1996). He is also one half of The Doilies, an acoustic comedy band, in which he sings lead vocals opposite guitarist Zak Orth. In 2005 he wrote, directed and starred in the film The Baxter.

Showalter in 2007

Showalter is the host of The Michael Showalter Showalter, an original Internet series on Collegehumor.com which premiered January 16, 2007. His first guest was comedian Zach Galifianakis. Other guests have included David Cross, Michael Ian Black, Paul Rudd, David Wain, Andy Samberg, Michael Cera, and Mike Birbiglia. In the fall and winter of 2006, Showalter toured the US with frequent collaborator Michael Ian Black. In March 2007 Showalter briefly toured as the opening act for Janeane Garofalo. The Ten reunites him with frequent collaborators from The State.

Showalter signed with JDub Records, a non-profit record label, in June 2007. He released his first stand-up CD titled Sandwiches & Cats in November 2007. He teaches screenwriting at New York University's Graduate Film School.

Showalter teamed up once more with Michael Ian Black in the Comedy Central series Michael and Michael Have Issues,[5] which premiered in July 2009.[6] The show detailed the two Michaels' trials and tribulations as they create a television series. They confirmed the series' cancellation in early 2010.

In an interview with The Rumpus in February 2009, Showalter talked about a memoir he is working on. "I am writing an 'important' memoir about not being able to write an important memoir. It winds up being kind of a novel-length comedic essay on insecurity and procrastination."[7] The book, Mr. Funny Pants, was published in February 2011.[8]

He appeared twice on the NBC drama Law & Order: in the episode "Endurance", which aired on October 18, 2000, and in the episode "Reality Bites", which aired on October 16, 2009.[9]

Showalter also appeared in a series of commercials advertising the Toyota Yaris, starting in late 2011.[10]

In 2013 Showalter and Michael Ian Black launched a podcast called "Topics" in which the duo discuss evergreen topics in a serious manner, although if something funny comes up, it's okay.[11]

Showalter was a writer on the ABC sitcom Super Fun Night.

In 2014, Showalter co-wrote with David Wain They Came Together. Wain and Showalter then co-wrote the eight-episode Netflix prequel Wet Hot American Summer: First Day of Camp based on the 2001 film with almost the entire cast of the original film returning. Showalter himself appeared as Gerald "Coop" Cooperberg and President Ronald Reagan in the series. The series premiered on July 31, 2015, and was more well received by critics. He also co-wrote and starred in the Netflix sequel Wet Hot American Summer: Ten Years Later which premiered in 2017.[12]

In 2015 his film Hello, My Name Is Doris debuted at SXSW, where it was acquired by Roadside Attractions. It was released in the United States in March 2016, and received critical acclaim.

His 2017 film The Big Sick starred Kumail Nanjiani, Zoe Kazan, Holly Hunter and Ray Romano. It saw a wide theatrical release and had an overwhelmingly positive 98% fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes, and was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Original Screenplay.

Showalter next directed the 2020 film The Lovebirds, starring Kumail Nanjiani of The Big Sick, along with Issa Rae, Anna Camp and Paul Sparks. The film was scheduled for theatrical release in the United States on April 3, 2020, however due to the worldwide COVID-19 pandemic its theatrical release was cancelled, similar to many other films, and it premiered on Netflix on May 22, 2020. More recently, he signed an overall deal with HBO Max.[13]

Personal life[edit]

Showalter married Anne Kalin Ellis on January 16, 2011, in New York.[14] Anne gave birth to their twin children in 2014.[15]



Year Title Director Producer Writer
2001 Wet Hot American Summer No Co-producer Yes
2002 Stella shorts Yes No Yes
2005 The Baxter Yes No Yes
2014 They Came Together No Yes Yes
2015 Hello, My Name Is Doris Yes Executive Yes
2017 The Big Sick Yes No No
2020 The Lovebirds Yes Executive No
2021 The Eyes of Tammy Faye Yes No No
2022 Spoiler Alert Yes Yes No
2024 The Idea of You Yes Yes No

Acting roles

Year Title Role Notes
1996 Tick Clifford Short film
2001 Wet Hot American Summer Gerald "Coop" Cooperberg / Alan Shemper
Kissing Jessica Stein Stephen
2002 Signs Lionel Prichard
2002 Stella shorts Michael
Operation Midnight Climax Chip
2004 Hair High Wally Voice role
2005 The Baxter Elliot Sherman
2006 Griffin & Phoenix Terry's Fiancé
2007 The Ten Police Lt. Flarn Bleern
Reno 911!: Miami Paul
2008 Birthday Michael Short film
2013 Bum Future Fred
2014 Two Night Stand Rick Raines


Year Title Director Writer Executive
Creator Notes
1992–1993 You Wrote It, You Watch It No Yes No No
1993–1995 The State No Yes No Yes 27 episodes
1995 The State's 43rd Annual All-Star Halloween Special No Yes No No TV special
1999 1999 MTV Movie Awards No Yes No No
Random Play No Uncredited No No Additional writer;
3 episodes
2003–2005 The Wrong Coast No Yes No No
2008 The Michael Showalter Showalter No No Yes Yes
2009 Michael & Michael Have Issues Yes Yes Yes Yes Directed 3 episodes
2005 Stella No Yes Yes Yes Wrote 10 episodes
2013 You're Whole Yes No No No 7 episodes
2013–2014 Super Fun Night No Yes No No 2 episodes
Newsreaders No Yes No No 2 episodes
2015 Wet Hot American Summer: First Day of Camp No Yes Yes Yes Mini-series
2015–2016 Childrens Hospital No Yes No No 4 episodes
2016–2018 Love Yes No No No 3 episodes
2016 Giles Vanderhoot Yes Yes Yes No TV movie
2016–2019 Grace and Frankie Yes No No No 2 episodes
2016–2022 Search Party Yes Yes Yes Yes Directed 3 episodes
2017 Wet Hot American Summer: Ten Years Later No Yes Yes Yes Mini-series
2019 In the Dark Yes No No No Episode: "Pilot"
Ray Romano Right Here, Around the Corner Yes No No No TV special documentary
2021 The Shrink Next Door Yes No Yes No Directed 4 episodes
2022 The Dropout Yes No Yes No Mini-series;
Directed 4 episodes
I Love That for You Yes No Yes No

Acting roles

Year Title Role Notes
1992–1993 You Wrote It, You Watch It Various characters
1993–1995 The State Various characters 27 episodes
1995 The State's 43rd Annual All-Star Halloween Special Various characters TV special
1997 Apartment 2F Phil 4 episodes
1999 Random Play Various characters 3 episodes
2000 Buzz Lightyear of Star Command Plasma Boy (voice) Episode: "The Plasma Monster"
2000, 2009 Law & Order Artie Kramer / Allen Gee 2 episodes
2003 Sex and the City Billy Episode: "The Post-It Always Sticks Twice"
2004–2006 Cheap Seats Ron Parker 6 episodes
2005 Stella Michael 10 episodes
2008 Wainy Days Landon Episode: "Molly"
The Michael Showalter Showalter Host 10 episodes
2009 Michael & Michael Have Issues Himself 7 episodes
2012 Late Night with Jimmy Fallon Gordon Scheer Uncredited
2013 You're Whole Dr. Robert Wexler Episode "Droppin' the 'G'/Ancient Egypt/Puffy Paints"
Inside Amy Schumer Steve Episode: "Bad Decisions"
2014 Bob's Burgers Ethan (voice) Episode: "The Kids Rob a Train"
Comedy Bang! Bang! Clyde Bryllis Episode: "Nick Offerman Wears a Green Flannel Shirt & Brown Boots"
2015 Wet Hot American Summer: First Day of Camp Coop / President Reagan Mini-series; 8 episodes
Jammers Jeremy / Cool Guy / Ol' Drippy (voice) TV short
The Grinder Sandy Malmuth Episode: "Dedicating This One to the Crew"
2015–2016 Childrens Hospital Nils Vildervaan 2 episodes
2016 Giles Vanderhoot Giles Vanderhoot TV movie
American Dad! Mark (voice) Episode: "Bahama Mama"
2016–2017 Search Party Max 5 episodes
2017 Wet Hot American Summer: Ten Years Later Coop / President Reagan Mini-series; 8 episodes
9JKL Walter Michaelson Episode: "Set Visit"
2018 Sugar Rush Himself (guest judge) Episode: "Camp Sugar Rush"[16]


  1. ^ "Michael Showalter Biography (1970–)". Filmreference.com. June 17, 1970. Retrieved November 15, 2012.
  2. ^ "Romantic Comedy Loser Finds Love", Jewish Journal, September 2, 2005.
  3. ^ The Jewish Chronicle: "'I’ve always been seen by other people as Jewish'" by Stephen Applebaum November 14, 2017
  4. ^ Eliot Glazer (October 11, 2007). "Inside With: Andrea Rosen". The Apiary. Archived from the original on February 10, 2008. Retrieved November 11, 2009.
  5. ^ "Michael Ian Black: Come See Michael & Michael Have Issues". Michaelianblack.typepad.com. July 31, 2008. Retrieved November 15, 2012.
  6. ^ Martin, Denise (February 18, 2009). "Comedy Central commits to 'Michael and Michael Have Issues'". LA Times. Retrieved February 19, 2009.
  7. ^ "The Rumpus Interview With Michael Showalter". The Rumpus.net. Retrieved November 15, 2012.
  8. ^ Showalter, Michael (February 22, 2011). Amazon.com: Mr. Funny Pants. ISBN 978-0446542104.
  9. ^ "the comic's comic: Law & Order sets new record for comedians in an episode that's not about comedy". Thecomicscomic.typepad.com. September 18, 2009. Retrieved November 15, 2012.
  10. ^ Friar, Christine (September 21, 2011). "Michael Showalter's Toyota Commercials Make Us Want To Buy A Yaris (VIDEOS)". Huffington Post.
  11. ^ "Topics". Archived from the original on December 29, 2013. Retrieved December 29, 2013.
  12. ^ Fleming, Mike Jr. (October 19, 2016). "Alyssa Milano Joins Season 2 Of 'Wet Hot American Summer'". Deadline. Retrieved October 25, 2016.
  13. ^ Goldberg, Lesley (May 11, 2021). "Mike Showalter Moves Overall Deal to HBO Max". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved May 13, 2021.
  14. ^ "Ep. 634: Where Michael Showalter | CNET TV | Video Product Reviews, CNET Podcasts, Tech Shows, Live CNET Video". Cnettv.cnet.com. July 15, 2010. Retrieved November 15, 2012.
  15. ^ "Michael Showalter Welcomes Twins With Wife Anne Kalin Ellis". June 24, 2014. Retrieved June 27, 2016.
  16. ^ Camp Sugar Rush, retrieved June 28, 2019

External links[edit]