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Paul F. Tompkins - Biography


Paul F. Tompkins - Biography
Photo by Rex Bullington


September 12, 1968

Paul F. Tompkins Overview:

Paul F. Tompkins (who people may recognize as "the guy in the suit" on VH1's Best Week Ever) has been a staple of the Los Angeles comedy scene for years. He boasts a unique voice, mixing absurdist commentary with deadpan delivery. In many ways a throwback to the comics of the 1950s and '60s (wearing a suit; staging a regular variety show), Tompkins combines an old-school sensibility with a modern alternative comedy edge.

Quick Paul F. Tompkins Facts:

  • Paul F. Tompkins is a native of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
  • He began doing stand-up comedy in 1986.
  • He moved to Los Angeles in 1994 and began regularly performing at clubs like Un-Cabaret, Largo and the Upright Citizens Brigade Theater.
  • Tompkins was a regular cast member and writer on the HBO sketch show Mr. Show with Bob and David.
  • He's a regular contributer to VH1's Best Week Ever.
  • Tompkins hosts a regular variety show in Los Angeles, called "The Paul F. Tompkins Show."
  • He released his first stand-up album, Impersonal, in 2007.

Early Life:

Born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, in September of 1968, Paul F. Tompkins always knew he wanted to be part of show business. A self-described "class clown," Tompkins grew up watching Johnny Carson, Saturday Night Live and SCTV. In 1986, he began his professional stand-up career performing at The Comedy Works in his home town of Philadelphia.

Out West:

In 1994, Tompkins moved out to Los Angeles and became a part of the comedy scene there. Shortly thereafter, he met comedian Jay Johnston and the two formed the sketch group The Skates. In 1996, he broke through on television (along with Johnston) as a cast member and writer on the HBO sketch show Mr. Show with Bob and David. Two years later, Tompkins had his own one-man HBO special called Driven to Drink. That same year, he became a contributor to (a pre-Jon Stewart) Daily Show.

Modern Paul F. Tompkins:

In the 2000s, Tompkins became visible everywhere. He regularly performed stand-up around Los Angeles at clubs like Un-Cabaret, Largo and Comedy Death-Ray. In 2002, he started "The Paul F. Tompkins Show," a moving variety show with comedians, sketch actors and musicians performed once a month. He also became recognizable as host of VH1's Best Week Ever. In 2007, he released his first stand-up album, Impersonal.

His second stand-up album, Freak Wharf, was released in 2009 on AST Records.

Additional Paul F. Tompkins Facts:

  • Tompkins appeared on most episodes of the Tenacious D HBO show, playing the host of the open mic the duo regularly performed at. He reprised his role in the 2006 feature film Tenacious D in The Pick of Destiny.
  • Alongside fellow Mr. Show alum, he was a cast member on 2005's extremely short-lived Kelsey Grammar Presents: The Sketch Show on FOX.
  • He had a small role in director Paul Thomas Anderson's Academy Award-nominated 2007 film There Will Be Blood.
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