Brian Dunkleman (born September 25, 1971, in Ellicottville, New York) is a comedian and actor. He is best known as being co-host with Ryan Seacrest on the first season of American Idol on the Fox Network.
Dunkleman began doing stand-up comedy in 1992, winning the title Buffalo’s Funniest New Comedian. Since then he’s also performed at HBO’s US Comedy Arts Festival in Aspen, NBC’s Late Friday, and TBS’s Very Funny at the Laugh Factory. He has also appeared on on The Tonight Show.Script error
During his 2008 appearance on the sixth season of the reality television weight loss show, Celebrity Fit Club on which he lost 15 pounds, and won the grand prize with his team, he spoke about his reasons for leaving American Idol following its first season. He stated his departure was due to the terrible way they treated the young contestants on the show, staging the fights between the judges and reshooting contestants with producer-provided, glycerin tears in their eyes. He went on to say that leaving the show was a mistake. However, Dr. Ian K. Smith, one of the doctors on the panel, opined that he made the right decision.
In appearances on The Howard Stern Show, he had insisted that he intended to leave Idol to pursue a career in stand-up comedy and acting, but in 2008, Dunkleman admitted to Stern that leaving the show was a mistake. Dunkleman conceded that he experienced several months of depression, and also still harbored resentment against current show host Ryan Seacrest, but has come to terms with his situation. Stern has compared Dunkleman to Pete Best of The Beatles and several other famous celebrities who chose to leave (or were forced to leave) successful show business careers, only to wind up as has-beens. Dunkleman good-naturedly put up with the ribbing from the Stern crew, but insisted he was happy with his current life.Script error
Dunkleman has also appeared in pilots for ABC and 20th Century Fox and guest-starred on the late night talk show Talkshow with Spike Feresten, Ghost Whisperer and Las Vegas. He had a recurring guest role on Two Guys and a Girl, played a stand-up comic suspected of murder in NYPD Blue, and appeared in an independent film called Comedy Hell.
Dunkleman played himself on an episode of My Name is Earl, hosting a reality contest show called Estrada or Nada, in which contestants show their skills in an America's Got Talent-esque show starring Eric Estrada. As Dunkleman ended a segment of the show he said, "Dunkleman... out. Hack stole it from me."
In 2009 he was reported to be pitching a fictional series about his life after American Idol entitled American Dunkleman. The series is a fictional account of the actor-comic's life, following the fictional Dunkleman as he tries to work his way back to the television industry, embarrassing himself and disappointing his friends while constantly being reminded that he "could have been a millionaire" had he stuck with Idol.
He does stand up regularly in Los Angeles at the Laugh Factory and Improv, and he makes regular appearances as the host of Family Feud Live in Las Vegas and Atlantic City for Fremantle Media.
In popular culture
A fictionalized version of Dunkleman was featured on Comedy Central's Drawn Together on the November 14, 2007 series finale. He declined to voice himself; instead, his voice was impersonated by series co-creator Matt Silverstein.
In an extra scene from The Simpsons Movie DVD, Marge, Lisa, and Homer, acting as Randy Jackson, Paula Abdul, and Simon Cowell, respectively, audition the actual Simon Cowell for a role. When he fails, they drop him into a pit of lions, where Bart, acting as Ryan Seacrest, says that they "haven't eaten this well since Dunkleman".
- ↑ Brian Dunkleman Pitching Fictional Series About His Post American Idol Life Reality Blurred, January 28, 2009
- Los Angeles Times: The Return of Brian Dunkleman
- AOL News: Ex-Idol host Dunkleman pitches a comeback
- Anorak UK: American Idol Brian Dunkleman: The Man Who Turned Down Simon Cowell
- AOL Video: American Dunkleman
- Los Angeles Times: Neil Innes says, "Dunkleman for President!"
- American Dunkleman website