Wayne Federman (born June 22, 1959) is an American comedian, actor, author, and comedy writer. He is noted for his numerous stand-up comedy appearances in clubs, theaters, and on television; his biography of "Pistol" Pete Maravich; and his supporting comedic acting roles in The X-Files, The Larry Sanders Show, Curb Your Enthusiasm, Legally Blonde, 50 First Dates, The 40-Year-Old Virgin, and Step Brothers. He was the head monologue writer for NBC's Late Night with Jimmy Fallon in its first season.
Early years: 1959-1976
Federman was born in Los Angeles, California, one of six children. He grew up in Silver Spring, Maryland, attended East Silver Spring Elementary and then, at age 10, moved to Plantation, Florida. He played the drums and, at age 14, began performing in a band at weddings. He also taught himself ventriloquism and performed at various school (South Plantation High School) functions as well as local churches and service organizations. He delivered his high school's sports results on Miami radio station WWOK. He made his local television debut on WPLG's Youth and the Issue. In 1976, Federman worked as an extra, in John Frankenheimer's Black Sunday – shot at the old Miami Orange Bowl.
New York City: 1977-1986
In the fall of 1977, Federman was accepted into the Tisch School of the Arts at New York University. There he studied with legendary acting coach, Stella Adler. He performed his own show, Comedy Tonight, at the Eisner and Lubin Auditoruium along with future Broadway star Donna Murphy.
After college Federman brought his one-man show to the 13th Street Theater. There he performed in rotation with Brother Theodore. He also starred in the theater’s production of Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, where he played six roles. Soon he was performing stand-up comedy at various New York Comedy Clubs, most notably The Comic Strip and Catch a Rising Star. It was during these years that he incorporated music into his act. He closed his sets by playing hard rock tunes from Led Zeppelin, Jimi Hendrix, Iron Butterfly, and The Rolling Stones on his electric ukulele.
Federman made his national television debut on the syndicated stand-up program Comedy Tonight in 1986. He also appeared in two home videos: New Wave Comedy and the Dodge Comedy Showcase.
In 1987, Federman moved to Los Angeles and began working at the The Improv, IGBYs, The Laugh Factory, and the Comedy and Magic Club. He taped a series of televised stand-up performances including Evening At The Improv, George Schlatter’s Comedy Club, CBS Morning Show, 2 Drink Minimum, Star Search, Good Times Cafe, The A-List, and MTV ½ Hour Comedy Hour. He toured extensively, performing at over 200 colleges. He co-founded the improvisational group, "No Fat Guy," with Marc Raider, Scott LaRose, and Steve Hytner and later briefly formed a music comedy team with Jordan Brady.
Federman began booking television commercials and appeared in dozens of national spots for clients including: Eureka Vacuums, Holiday Inn, U.S. Navy, Wendy's, Taboo, Eagle cars (w/ Greg Kinnear), McDonalds, Glad Bags, Sprite, Total Raisin Bran, Ford, U.S. Olympic Team, Suzuki Samurai, Sizzler, Del Monte, U.S. Cellular, Coors, and 7-11. He gained some prominence as the first "not exactly" guy in the long running Hertz Rent A Car campaign. Federman began landing small television parts on Baywatch, Amen, Dear John, A Different World, Doogie Howser, News Radio, and recurring roles on L.A. Law (3 episodes) and Living Single (3 episodes).
In 1992, Federman made his debut on The Tonight Show and has subsequently appeared many times times on the program. He also appeared on Late Fridays, Comedy Showcase, and Premium Blend. In 2004, he taped his own 1/2 hour stand-up special for the series, Comedy Central Presents. In 1998, Wayne appeared as Larry Sander's brother, Stan, and was later reunited with Garry Shandling on The X-Files episode "Hollywood A.D.". Written and directed by David Duchovny, the creative episode followed Wayne Federman, a Hollywood producer/writer and college friend of assistant FBI director, Walter Skinner. Television led Wayne to film roles in Jack Frost (1998 film), Dill Scallion, Legally Blonde, 50 First Dates, Charlie's Angels: Full Throttle, The 40-Year-Old Virgin, Unaccompanied Minors, Knocked Up, and Step Brothers.
In 2006, Federman landed the recurring role of "Johnson" on the short-lived CBS sitcom, Courting Alex. Federman co-wrote and starred in Max and Josh, a short film that premiered at the 2006 Sundance Film Festival, where it won the Volkswagen Relentless Drive Award.
In 1990, while shooting a television commercial campaign for McDonalds (directed by Henry Winkler), Federman recorded a series of tie-in radio commercials. This launched his voice-over career. Since then he has recorded hundreds of radio and television spots. His distinctive voice is currently heard on the Cartoon Network and Nick at Night.
Federman was the voice of the talking "ham and cheese" sandwich in the long running Florida Orange Juice campaign. He has dabbled briefly in animation, heard on The Wild Thornberrys and King of The Hill.
In 2007, Federman voiced a series of Labatt Beer commercials, portraying a fish ("real good Steve"), deer, boulder, and slab of ice.
The Pete Maravich Project
In 2000, Federman began co-authoring (with Marshall Terrill) a new, authorized biography of NBA basketball legend Pete Maravich. Working closely with the Maravich family, the book, entitled Maravich, was released on January 3, 2007. It became an Amazon Sports Bestseller.
In 2000, Federman was interviewed for, and served as senior consultant, on the Emmy award-winning CBS Sports documentary, Pistol Pete: The Life and Times of Pete Maravich. He was also featured on ESPN SportsCentury: Pete Maravich.
In 2007, Federman edited a highlight montage entitled The Ultimate Pistol Pete Maravich MIX. It was a mixture of clips from Maravich's college and pro career. It was posted on YouTube, Yahoo Video, and Google video. It garnered over one million hits in its first month, and featured in both Sports Illustrated and Dime magazines.
New York City: 2009-present
In 2009, Federman was the head monologue writer for NBC's Late Night with Jimmy Fallon for its first season. Federman left the show in January 2010.
In April 20, 2010, Federman unearthed a long "lost" live episode of the General Electric Theater while working on a television retrospective for the Reagan Centennial Celebration. The episode, from December 1954, was noteworthy because it teamed Ronald Reagan with James Dean. Highlights were broadcast on the CBS Evening News, NBC Nightly News, and Good Morning America.
In July 2009, Federman was part of the last comedians to tour and perform for U.S. combat troops throughout Iraq during Operation Iraqi Freedom.
- Curb Your Enthusiasm (2009)
- Late Night with Jimmy Fallon (2009)
- Kathy Griffin: My Life on the D-List (2009)
- Head Case (2008)
- Wizards of Waverly Place (2007)
- Wildest Court Show Moments (2007)
- Heist (2006)
- Courting Alex (2006)
- Cheap Seats (2006)
- Heist (2006)
- King of the Hill (2005)
- Comedy Central Presents (2004)
- Oliver Beene (2003)
- The Late Late Show with Craig Kilborn (2002)
- Pistol Pete: The Life and Times of Pete Maravich (2001)
- ESPN SportsCentury (2001)
- Late Friday (2001)
- The Sports List (2001)
- The X-Files (2000)
- NewsRadio (1999)
- The Wild Thornberrys (1998)
- The Larry Sanders Show (1998)
- The New Adventures of Robin Hood (1997)
- Don't Quit Your Day Job (1996)
- Living Single (1995)
- Almost Home (1993)
- Doogie Howser, M.D. (1993)
- A Different World (1992)
- L.A. Law (1991)
- Baywatch (1990)
- Dear John (1990)
- Comedy Tonight (1986)