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Paul Andrew "Andy" Richter (born October 28, 1966) is an American actor, writer, comedian, and late night talk show announcer. He is best known for his role as the sidekick of talk show host Conan O'Brien on NBC's Late Night between 1993 and 2000, and later The Tonight Show from 2009 to 2010, as well as on O'Brien's upcoming talk show, Conan on TBS. He is also known for his voice work in the Madagascar films and for starring in the sitcoms Quintuplets, Andy Richter Controls the Universe, and Andy Barker, P.I..

Early life and career

Richter, the second of four children, was born in Grand Rapids, Michigan. His mother, Glenda Swanson, was a kitchen cabinet designer, and his father, Laurence R. Richter, taught Russian at Indiana University for more than 32 years.[1][2][3] Richter was raised in Yorkville, Illinois. In high school, he was elected Prom King.[4]

In the late 1980s, Richter attended Columbia College Chicago as a film major. While at Columbia he learned the basics of comedic acting and writing by starring in numerous student films and videos. After leaving Columbia in 1988 Richter worked as a production assistant on commercial shoots in Chicago. In 1989, he began taking classes at Chicago's Improv Olympic. His quick wit and acting skills catapulted him from student to "House Performer" within a year. Richter branched out working with "The Comedy Underground" and the Annoyance Theater.

Richter's reputation earned him a writing job on the short-lived Jonathan Brandmeier television show.

In the early 1990s the Annoyance Theater hit gold when producer Jill Soloway staged The Real Live Brady Bunch with live, word-for-word performances of the '70s sitcom. The show was so popular that it attracted national attention and moved to New York City. Richter was not an original member of the cast but the actor who played "Mike Brady" in the Chicago cast opted not to go to New York. Richter asked Soloway if he could play "Mike" in New York and since Soloway hadn't cast a replacement, she agreed.[citation needed]

At the same time The Brady Bunch was playing in New York, two fellow Annoyance members were cast on Saturday Night Live. With friends on SNL, Andy was able to get into the after-show parties where he met SNL head writer Rob Smigel. Two years later, Smigel hired Richter for a new show he was producing, Late Night with Conan O'Brien. Originally hired as a writer, Richter was cast as Conan O'Brien's sidekick just weeks before the show aired in 1993.

Richter departed from Late Night in 2000. He later said of the decision, "After seven years of being on the show, I got itchy. I have a philosophy that if you enjoy good fortune, rather than sit there and say, 'Oh, that's fine, this amount is good enough for me,' you should try and push it. You should see how much you can stretch your good fortune. And I was curious."[5]

Television work

Series leads

Richter left his post at Late Night in 2000 to pursue a career acting in films and television. His first major venture, Fox's Andy Richter Controls the Universe, was canceled after two mid-season runs. His next Fox sitcom, Quintuplets, lasted one season. His most recent television series was Andy Barker P.I., which was co-written and executively produced by Conan O'Brien. In the series Richter played an accountant who could not attract clients.[6] After a woman comes to his office thinking he is the former tenant, a private investigator, she asks him to find her husband who she thinks faked his death. Barker decides to pursue this job and becomes a private detective in earnest, and continues to do his accounting job, which seems to pick up as the series goes on. The series played on NBC, with all six episodes in the first season on NBC.com. The series was canceled after very poor ratings despite being named by Entertainment Weekly as one of the Top Ten Shows of 2007.[7]

The Tonight Show

On February 24, 2009 it was announced that Richter would be joining Conan O'Brien once again as the announcer for The Tonight Show with Conan O'Brien in Los Angeles.[8] Richter frequently appeared in comedy sketches on the show and often commented and interacted with Conan during the opening monologue; he was also part of the show's writing staff. In mid-December 2009, Richter also began joining Conan on the couch during the celebrity interviews, much like he did in his former sidekick role on Late Night. Richter said he enjoyed having a steady paycheck again and not having to deal with production companies while developing television shows. Richter said, "Now I'm so happy to be back and making TV every night, not asking permission from somebody and waiting six months to get their sparklingly clear and cogent notes. And then wait another month for them to get back from Hawaii and say, 'Yes, now we can go make television.' I felt like a plumber who kept going into the building and saying, 'Can we put some pipes together?' and watching my wrenches gather dust."[5]

Other roles

In 1994-1995, Richter voice of a character Toothless Feathers on the TV show Mike & Spike in 2 episodes called "Person To Hat" and "Person To Alien". In 1994-1995, Richter voice of a character Boosca Feathers on the TV show Mike & Spike in 4 episodes called "Person To Hat", "Person To Clothes", "Person To Shoe" and "Person To Alien". He served a role on the tv series "Monk" as Hal Tucker, Monks "friend". Richter provides the voice for the character Ben on the TV show The Mighty B! and the voice of the character Mort on the TV show The Penguins of Madagascar, both of which air on Nickelodeon.

Richter was considered to be a potential host of the classic Pyramid game show that was being developed for CBS, but was ultimately not picked up by the network.[9] Had the series been picked up, it would not have affected Richter's role on the upcoming Conan O'Brien talk show on TBS, where Richter will return as announcer and sidekick to O'Brien.

In June 2010, Richter hosted the Team Coco Presents the Conan Writers Live comedy special for TBS at the Just for Laughs festival in Chicago. Richter hosted in place of O'Brien, who was still prohibited from hosting any television program until the fall of 2010.

Film work

In addition to his television work, Richter has appeared in motion pictures such as Big Trouble, Elf, Seeing Other People, New York Minute, Madagascar, Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa, Madagascar 3, My Boss's Daughter, Scary Movie 2, Cabin Boy, Frank McKlusky, C.I, Pootie Tang, Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby, Blades of Glory, Semi-Pro, Lenny the Wonder Dog, and Dr. T & the Women.

Richter appeared in the 2009 movie Aliens in the Attic, starring Ashley Tisdale and Robert Hoffman.

Other appearances

In July 2009, Richter played for the American League as a first baseman in the 2009 Taco Bell All-Star Legends and Celebrity Softball Game. Representing the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim, Richter hit a home run in the game.[10]

After the end of The Tonight Show with Conan O'Brien, Richter joined O'Brien on his Legally Prohibited from Being Funny on Television Tour, a stage show touring the United States and Canada over the spring of 2010. Richter served in his usual role as announcer/sidekick. Due to performing with O'Brien, Richter was forced to drop out of the Jeopardy! Million Dollar Celebrity Invitational, in which he was a semifinalist. Isaac Mizrahi replaced Richter in the tournament[11]. Richter also made an appearance on Suite Life on Deck as, a non-religious hooded brother, Brother Theodore in the episode Silent Treatment.

Personal life

Richter is married to comedic actress and writer/author Sarah Thyre, and they have two children, William and Mercy. Thyre was part of the cast of the cult comedy series Strangers with Candy, on which Richter made frequent cameo appearances. Richter and Thyre also appeared together playing Hansel and Gretel in an episode of the Upright Citizens Brigade sketch comedy series on Comedy Central in 1998.

Richter is an agnostic. [12]

References

External links

Media offices
Preceded by
John Melendez
The Tonight Show announcer
2009–2010
Succeeded by
Wally Wingert

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