★webstar DIRECT-2-FAN : Independent feature


Steven Wright - Comedian

Shared by: Conan O'Brien : Johnny Carson : Saturday Night Live

★webstar review

Steven Wright didn't do the regular stand-up act that was common in the early eighties. He stood out, and his career took off after US chat show host Johnny Carson invited him onto his show in 1982.

Wright's performance is a series of mumbling and space that revolves around lateral thinking and exploration of meaning and language. He wanders around the stage as he muses about a variety of surreal notions, and the possibilities of theoretical situations that are condensed into one-liners or short self-contained segments. His onstage persona ranges from lethargic to quietly anxious, and he allows time between ideas for the meaning of his word-play to sink in, which results in a paced performance instead of the quick-fire style used by many comedians.

Wright's stage work was released as critically acclaimed audio albums (the debut album I have a pony was released in 1985), and his journeys into philosophical worlds naturally progressed on to more fleshed out themes, resulting in short film production. Early films included the the Oscar winning The Appointments of Dennis Jennings (1988). The small cast included Rowan Atkinson in the role of psychiatrist, with Wright in the lead role as patient Dennis Jennings, a troubled and paranoid man who was a victim of the uncaring people around him, and his own anxiety.

Steven Wright is still active, and touring mostly in the USA. He continues with his other interests including art, music, and writing. Observe the world through Wright's eyes and you may end up with more questions than answers, but the process of such exploration results in subtle humour that's well crafted and enjoyed by his many fans.

The following embedded clip is from carsonpodcast.com and features Mark Malkoff in conversation with Steven Wright with a focus on the early influence of Johnny Carson and The Tonight Show.