All this and more, PAUL PROVENZA has been on the cutting edge of comedy for the past decade. Funny, confident, and always challenging, Paul’s stand-up comedy has been critically acclaimed as bright, edgy, and honest by journalists from coast to coast. An accomplished comedian and classically trained actor, he has scored successes on television, the stage, and virtually every major comedy venue in North America.
Paul recently joined the cast of the CBS hit show "NORTHERN EXPOSURE as the new doctor in town replacing Rob Morrow. Paul portrays "Dr. Phillip Capra" who relocates from Los Angeles, with his wife to find paradise and a life that is lived in the Alaska wilds. Paul happily relocated to Seattle and is thoroughly enjoying acting on a one hour drama. Television viewers last saw Paul as Dinah Manoff’s boyfriend in the NBC comedy "EMPTY NEST".
Paul was the writer, producer and star of Comedy Central’s innovative comedy/talk show. COMICS ONLY. On COMICS ONLY, Paul used his keen sense of comic timing to interview and improvise with today’s hottest comedians, as well as performing some outrageous and bold TV comedy of his own. A favorite of critics, the show was honored with two nominations for the prestigious Cable ACE Award: one for Best Comedy Series and for Paul’s work as Best Entertainment Host.
On Showtime, Paul wrote and starred in his own one-man show, THE INCREDIBLE MAN BOY, which critics hailed as "flawlessly written and performed," and "the best half hour of comedy as you are likely to find anywhere." The special was named in several "ten best TV show" lists in newspapers around the country that year.
In a memorable dramatic performance, Paul starred opposite Keanu Reeves and Andy Griffith in the highly acclaimed CBS movie-of-the-week UNDER THE INFLUENCE, for which he received rave notices as the struggling son of an alcoholic father.
For TBS, Paul helped develop and starred in yet another critically acclaimed special, ELVIS USA. In this unique comedy/documentary hybrid, he traveled the US in a 58 Cadillac convertible probing the lives of people obsessed with the King. The success of that experiment led to BORN TO BE WILD on Showtirne, where Paul’s spontaneous and irreverent comedy met head on with the Harley Davidson biker phenomenon.
Paul’s comedy style tells where he’s been: It’s street smart and pulls no punches, yet highly intelligent. Born and raised in New York City, he attended the prestigious Bronx High School of Science. At 16, he began writing and performing stand-up.
Following in the footsteps of his comedic idols (Robert Klein, George Carlin, Woody Allen) Paul headed for open mike night at the IMPROV. Still waiting to go on at about 3:00 AM, he asked the MC if he could get on soon, since he had to be at school in a couple of hours. A struggling young unknown himself, the MC laughed and said, "Sure kid!" as he brought Paul onstage. Years later, Paul was on the panel of THE TONIGHT SHOW (where he is a favorite regular guest) reminding that very same MC, Jay Leno - of that night he gave Paul his first shot at stand-up comedy.
He continued performing comedy as a student at the Ivy League’s University of
Pennsylvania, graduating with the first Theater Arts degree in the history of the University. He took time out to study in London with the renowned ROYAL ACADEMY of DRAMATIC ARTS. While at R.A.D.A., he joined a classical repertory theater, and became one of few Americans to play the role of Romeo on the London stage.
Serious about his work in theater, Paul was nominated for a Drama Desk Award for Best Actor, and won the Theater World Award for Best Actor for his outstanding performance in the hit Off-Broadway play, ONLY KIDDING! (He was also honored with a caricature by the legendary Al Hirschfeld.) He recently returned to the L.A. stage in the innovative CHICAGO CONSPIRACY TRIAL, earning rave reviews as Abbie Hoffman.
Paul’s versatility and range have taken him in dizzying direction. In between theater and stand-up appearances, Paul starred in his own ABC series THE PURSUIT OF HAPPINESS (with Brian Keith); played a recurring role on THE FACTS OF LIFE; co-starred in the HBO feature ODD JOBS with Paul Reiser and Robert Townsend; starred in the action-adventure feature SURVIVAL QUEST with Dermot Mulroney and Lance Henricksen; hosted Nickelodeon’s award winning children’s show KID’ COURT’ guest starred on numerous series and appeared on every major talk show from LATE NIGHT WITH DAVID LETTERMAN and THE JON STEWART SHOW to LIVE WITH REGIS & KATHY LEE.
Equally at home on stages of all sizes, he recently performed for an audience of over 80,000 at the University of Florida’s Homecoming "Gator Growl" He has toured with such superstars as Diana Ross and The Beach Boys, appeared in the Montreal’s JUST FOR LAUGHS FESTIVAL and the ASPEN COMEDY FESTIVAL, and continues writing and performing in clubs, theaters and colleges all over the US.