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Paul Provenza

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Paul Provenza is an actor, comedian and filmmaker. Whilst in high school, he started performing stand-up comedy, and at just 17 made his stage debut at the original Improvisation in Manhattan. Provenza continued performing while attending the University of Pennsylvania, taking a year's leave of absence to study in London at the renowned Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts. While at R.A.D.A., he joined a classical repertory theater company, becoming one of few Americans to perform the role of "Romeo" on the London stage. He then graduated in 1979 from the University of Pennsylvania, with the first Theatre Arts degree ever awarded by that Ivy League school. At Penn, he wrote for the Pennsylvania Punch Bowl and was a cast member of The Mask and Wig Club. He has returned numerous times to perform with Mask and Wig in their annual Intercollegiate Comedy Festival. Provenza spent decades traveling the world as a stand up whilst also working in both theatre and television, appearing on TV shows including Northern Exposure and Empty Nest. He received critical acclaim for his work on stage, with his performance in the hit Off-Broadway play "Only Kidding!" nominated for a Drama Desk Award for Best Actor and winning the Theater World Award for Best Actor in a Play. He was honored with a caricature by the legendary Al Hirschfeld. After decades as a stand-up comic and actor, Paul Provenza found a new calling as an interviewer of other stand-ups. His passion for the craft was evidenced in his 2005 directorial debut The Aristocrats revered by many comedy fans "not merely for its unspeakable and hilarious filth but also for the truly magical way in which it captured the wonder and creativity of the world’s funniest comics" At the 2006 Edinburgh Fringe Festival, Provenza held a nightly show at the Underbelly, entitled "Talk of the Fest." The set up was described by Provenza as that of a "green room for the whole festival". Guests included Trey Parker and Matt Stone, the creators of South Park. The show was reprised by Provenza at the 2007 Just for Laughs comedy festival in Montreal, where guests included Billy Connolly, Eddie Izzard and members of The Kids in the Hall. Provenza is now based in Los Angeles and continues to write and perform.

 

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