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Brian Dunkleman
Born September 25, 1971 (1971-09-25) (age 38)
Ellicottville, New York, U.S.
Occupation Comedian, actor, television personality

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 has appeared on The Tonight Show, had a recurring guest role on Two Guys and a Girl, played a stand-up comic suspected of murder in NYPD Blue, voiced himself in an episode of The Proud Family, in which the show parodied American Idol, did voices for the animated 3 South, and is acting in an independent film called Comedy Hell. He also had a small role on an episode of Friends as the man who buys the engagement ring Chandler wants to buy Monica.

Dunkleman recently was a co-host with Eric the Midget on The Idol Re-cap Show on Sirius’s Howard 101. He also did voice over for the 1st season of American Idol Rewind.

Dunkleman played himself on an episode of My Name is Earl, hosting a reality contest show called "Estrada or Nada," where contestants show their skills in an America's Got Talent-esque show starring Eric Estrada. As Brian ended a segment of the show he said, "Dunkleman... out. No, Ryan Seacrest did not steal it from me."

He is currently pitching a fictional series about his life after American Idol entitled American Dunkleman.[1] 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.

Reality television

Having admitted a weight problem, Dunkleman appeared on the sixth season of VH1's Celebrity Fit Club. It was on Celebrity Fit Club that he spoke about his reasons for leaving American Idol after hosting the 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, reminded Dunkleman that acting according to one's values is never a mistake. Dunkleman lost 15 pounds on the show, and his team won the grand prize.

Radio appearances

Dunkleman has been an occasional interview guest on The Howard Stern Show on Sirius Satellite Radio. In past appearances, 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.


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's also acted 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 can also be seen doing 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.

He recently ventured into voice work playing Ruiga in Naruto.

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".


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