Telluride Comedy Fest: Meet Brian Huskey

Brian Huskey

Brian Huskey

Over the years, the Upright Citizens Brigade Theatre in New York’s Chelsea district developed a reputation as a kind of comedy factory, where some super star funny men and women got prepped and packaged for market. In through the front door marched student drop-outs, aspiring actors, writers tired of the actors getting fame and fortune by speaking their words, failed med students, failed Catholics, anybody who is nobody, even ex-photographers and bass players – like Brian Huskey. Out the back door went buffed out performers headed for “The Daily Show,” “Saturday Night Live” or “The Onion News”– like Huskey.

Brian Huskey is a featured guest at the 15th annual Telluride Comedy Fest, which opens for monkey business Thursday, February 13, with Locals’ Night and runs through the weekend to Sunday, February 16. The event takes place at the historic Sheridan Opera House, now celebrating its 100th anniversary.

Joining Huskey are friends Jeb Berrier, who has produced Comedy Fest since 2003 and is the evening’s host, also Rob Corddry ( of “The Daily Show” fame), Cameron Esposito, Seth Morris, Rob Huebel, Nick Kroll, Jason Mantzoukas, Paul Scheer, Joe Wengert.

Expect a blend of stand-up, sketch, and improvisational comedy.

Expect madness and mayhem.

Expect to your Laugh-O-Meter to hit the red zone.

Brian Huskey, born September 1968, is best known for his role as a correspondent on “The Onion News Network.” He currently appears as Chet on the Adult Swim series, “Children’s Hospital.”

Huskey has always wanted to be a comic and performer, but he began his life in comedy later than most (at the ripe age of 30).

Originally he went to New York to be a photographer, attending the International Center of Photography, after abandoning a no-paying, but fun career as bassist in a the North Carolina local indie rock band, “Bicycle Face,” band from Greensboro, North Carolina, that gigged from 1988 – 1994.

It was after a few years of working as a photographer’s assistant and then striking out on his own that Huskey met Rob Corddry through a mutual friend. The two became roommates and began to sniff around the alternative comedy scene developing around 1998, (just one year after the Upright Citizens Brigade launched its comedy training program) in New York’s Lower East Side.

At the time, Huskey continued to work as a photographer, but officially took the plunge into comedy when he started taking classes – guess where? – at the Upright Citizens Brigade Theater, where he still performs a weekly improv show called “Soundtrack.”

At U.C.B. Theatre, Huskey met Corddry, Morris and John Ross Bowie, and formed the Naked Babies improv and sketch group.  The original line up of the group also included Berrier, but he left to move back to Colorado. The Babies built a name for itself in the New York comedy scene, which led its members to commercial work: appearances on “Late Night with Conan O’ Brien,” and the thankless gig of opening for Tenacious D, an act whose fans notoriously hated the opening act.

But Naked Babies destroyed.

Thankfully.

Huskey went on to become a national TV commercial figure doing an ongoing campaign for Sonic Drive in with Chicago Improvisor Molly Erdman. In 2011 he was cast in a series of ads for Toyota’s Sienna, which led to the internet sensation, Swagger Wagon.

After writing two movie scripts with Mantzoukas for Paramount Pictures, Huskey moved to Los Angeles in 2006, where he lives today.  Since that that time Huskey has built an impressive list of roles and has earned  the honor of being a “That Guy,” which is Hollywood shorthand for “successful character actor.”

Huskey is known for his portrayal of Chet the Paramedic on “Children’s Hospital,” for which he also writes; Leon West on HBO’s Veep; and is the voice of Regular-Sized Rudy, and numerous others, on “Bob’s Burgers.”

Breaking from his typecasting trend – he is usually cast as an academic or doc –  recently Huskey is also lead/co-writer of Matt Walsh’s improvised indie “A Better You” (Release date TBD) and plays Seth Rogen’s clueless boss in the May 2014 release of “Neighbors” from Universal.

However, Huskey’s real claim to fame, according to Berrier, is the fact he played the original Cilantro the Schnauzer in the “Dogs” skit at Comedy Fest.

To learn more about Brian Huskey and the Telluride Comedy Fest, click the “play” button and listen to or chat.

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