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Dave Attell
Dave Attell 2009.jpg
Attell in 2009
Born (1965-01-18) January 18, 1965 (age 59)
New York City, New York, U.S.
Medium Stand-up, television, film

David Attell (born January 18, 1965) is an American stand-up comedian, actor and writer best known as the host of Comedy Central's Insomniac with Dave Attell, which earned him a cult following. His work has drawn admiration from many comedians.

Early life

Attell was born in the New York City borough of Queens to a Jewish family. He was raised in Rockville Centre, New York, on Long Island. He graduated from South Side High School.

After graduating from New York University in 1987 with a degree in communications, Attell began performing at open-mic nights.


Attell's first appearance on television was in 1988 on VH1's Stand-Up Spotlight, which also featured early appearances by Lewis Black, Margaret Cho, Jeff Garlin, Jay Mohr and Wanda Sykes.

On November 23, 1993, he made his first appearance on Late Show with David Letterman. The appearance was seen by Saturday Night Live creator Lorne Michaels, who then recruited Attell to be a writer, and occasional performer, on SNL. Attell can be seen behind Chris Farley during the "Rudy Giuliani Inauguration" sketch. Attell worked on the show for the 1993–94 season.

In 1995, Attell was featured on two HBO specials: alongside up-and-comers Louis C.K. and Dave Chappelle. He was a featured performer on the 1995 Young Comedians Special hosted by Garry Shandling. He was given his own 60-minute special on the channel's HBO Comedy Showcase. Subsequently, Attell was also given an episode of HBO Comedy Half-Hour in 1997. Attell's first one-hour special, Dave Attell: Captain Miserable aired December 8, 2007, on HBO.

His comedy special Dave Attell: Road Work aired 2014 on Comedy Central.

In 1995, Attell appeared as Squiggly Dave on Dr. Katz, Professional Therapist. In 1999, the network issued Attell an installment in the second season of Comedy Central Presents series.

The same year the network signed him as a regular commentator to its satirical news series The Daily Show, on which he appeared for three years. Attell's commentary segment was called "The Ugly American". He returned for the finale episode of host Jon Stewart's tenure.

In 2001, the television series Insomniac with Dave Attell premiered on Comedy Central. Attell described it as "Wild on E! for Ugly People".

In 2003, Attell began appearing on Tough Crowd with Colin Quinn. The show featured many of the performers he works with at the New York City comedy club the Comedy Cellar and is based on the conversations they would have off-stage at the Olive Tree Cafe, the restaurant above the club.

Attell appeared on Comedy Central's Last Laugh in 2007. In 2008, Attell began hosting The Gong Show with Dave Attell for Comedy Central. Like the 1970s version, the show had a rotating panel of celebrity judges grading unusual acts.

Other notable television roles featuring Attell:

In May 2008, Attell announced a casting call on his MySpace page for Comedy Central's relaunch of The Gong Show. Attell was host, along with Greg Fitzsimmons serving as head writer on the series. However, The Gong Show with Dave Attell aired only from July to September 2008.

In April 2014, Comedy Central premiered Comedy Underground with Dave Attell, a late-night stand-up comedy show taped live in New York.

In 2018 he toured with Jeff Ross on the Bumping Mics Tour. Over the last three days of the tour they taped a three-part documentary series, Bumping Mics with Jeff Ross & Dave Attell for Netflix. Interspersed footage showcases the duo's interactions both off-stage and on as they return to the Comedy Cellar, where a spontaneous first performance marked the birth of their ensemble act.

Film appearances

Attell played the role of "Don" in Los Enchiladas!, a film written, produced and directed by comedian Mitch Hedberg, starring Hedberg as well as fellow comedians Todd Barry and Marc Maron.

In the short film The Office Party, Attell once again played the role of "Don". The film co-starred ex-Karate Kid Ralph Macchio, Jon Stewart, Carol Kane and Tate Donovan. The film was written and directed by Daily Show producer Chiara Edmands.

Pootie Tang saw Attell as the bumbling corporate lackey, "Frank". The film was written and directed by his friend Louis C.K. It co-starred Lance Crouther, Wanda Sykes and Chris Rock among others.

Attell also played "Efram the Driver" in the Independent feature My ... Sweetheart, written and directed by filmmaking newcomer Michael Parness. The film co-starred Natasha Lyonne, David Krumholtz, Tim Blake Nelson, Lorraine Bracco, David Paymer, and Rosanna Arquette.

Attell has cameo appearances in the films Abby Singer and Scary Movie 4.

He plays the character Barker in the 2008 comedy film Harold.

Attell had a cameo appearance in the Judd Apatow film Funny People which starred Adam Sandler.

He voiced the GPS on the Mystery Machine in the 2010 film Scooby-Doo! Abracadabra-Doo.

He appeared in Trainwreck as the main character's homeless friend Noam.

He appeared in I Feel Pretty as the bartender.

He appeared in the 2017 documentary Gilbert about comedian and actor Gilbert Gottfried.



Year Title Role Notes
1990 Caesar's Salad Policeman Short film
1999 Los Enchiladas! Don
2000 The Office Party Don Short film
2001 Pootie Tang Frank
2005 Crazy for Love Efram
2006 Scary Movie 4 Knifeman
2007 Twisted Fortune Abbot
2007 Heckler Himself
2008 The Great Buck Howard Las Vegas Husband Credited as David Attell
2008 Harold Barker
2009 Funny People Himself
2010 Scooby-Doo! Abracadabra-Doo The G.P.S. Voice, direct-to-video
2015 Trainwreck Noam
2017 Gilbert Himself Documentary film
2018 I Feel Pretty Really Tan Dude

Stand-up releases

Year Title Notes
1996 HBO Comedy Half-Hour Special
1999 Comedy Central Presents Special
2003 ... for the Memories... Album
2005 Hey, Your Mouth's Not Pregnant! DVD
2006 Dave Attell's Insomniac Tour Special
2007 Dave Attell: Captain Miserable Special
2014 Dave Attell: Road Work Special


Year Title Role Notes
1988-1991 Stand-Up Spotlight Himself
1995–1997 Dr. Katz, Professional Therapist Dave Voice, 2 episodes
1996–1997 Everybody Loves Raymond Dave 2 episodes
2001–2004 Insomniac with Dave Attell Himself 44 episodes
2002 Crank Yankers Frank Demore Voice, episode: "David Alan Grier & Dave Attell"
2003 Ed Brad Campbell Episode: "Business as Usual"
2005 Arrested Development Himself 2 episodes
2005 New Car Smell Harry Television film
2008 The Gong Show with Dave Attell Himself 8 episodes
2013 Inside Amy Schumer Ghost Episode: "Terrible People"
2014 Louie Dave Episode: "So Did the Fat Lady"
2014 Comedy Underground with Dave Attell Himself 8 episodes
2014 TripTank Dave Attell Voice, episode: "Roy & Ben's Day Off"
2014 Teachers Lounge School Photographer
2015–2016 The Jim Gaffigan Show Himself 3 episodes
2017 Bob's Burgers Scalper Voice, episode: "The Laser-inth"
2017 Difficult People New York City Voice, episode: "Sweet Tea"
2017–2019 Crashing Himself 3 episodes
2018 The Simpsons Luke Voice, episode: "Bart's Not Dead"
2018 Bumping Mics with Jeff Ross & Dave Attell Himself 3 episodes

Video games

Year Title Role Notes
2004 Outlaw Golf 2 Commentator
2009 Leisure Suit Larry: Box Office Bust Merv Wallski
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