|Attell entertains US soldiers at Manas Air Base, Kyrgyzstan, September 2005|
|Born||January 18, 1965
Queens, New York, U.S.
|Genres||Blue comedy, Insult comedy, Black comedy|
|Influences||Richard Pryor, George Carlin, Steven Wright, Richard Jeni, Bill Hicks, Sam Kinison, Redd Foxx, Don Rickles, Colin Quinn|
Born in Queens, New York, he grew up in Rockville Centre, New York and now lives in New York City. Attell's initial motivation to perform stand-up comedy is attributed to his indecisiveness as to what he should do after college. In 1987 he graduated from New York University with a degree in communications. Like many other fledgling comedians, he worked menial jobs during the day and put in his time at comedy clubs at night. He worked his first gig at Governor's in Levittown and, according to Attell, "totally bombed". After years of honing his act, he found himself being described as "the comedian's comedian". When working a club, the other comedians, such as Michael Royce (a producer/writer on Everybody Loves Raymond), David Juskow (a performer on TV Funhouse), Kevin Brennan (from Saturday Night Live and HBO's One Night Stand) and Jon Stewart, would come in to watch his act. While the audience didn't always follow his up-front delivery, fellow comedians were refreshed by his originality.
Attell often begins a joke in a relatively tame way, but then gets progressively stranger and ends in an obscene non sequitur. For example: "Sex is not important. What's important is that afterward part. When you're both naked and it's warm and you're watching the sun come up in the windshield. You look in her eyes, you look in her one good eye and help her strap on her leg and you know: you just fucked a pirate."
Attell is also notorious for comedically striking down hecklers to the point of embarrassment. Attell dated comedienne Sarah Silverman for a time prior to both of their respective professional primes and major fame. When asked about the relationship on The Howard Stern Show, she remarked that he was her first real boyfriend, saying among other things that he hadn't even smoked cigarettes before they started their relationship. Several weeks later Attell confirmed that she introduced him to "his two favorite things, alcohol and smoking", adding his belief that "Sarah was out of his league and ended up leaving him."
Attell's first appearance on television was in 1988 on VH1's Stand-Up Spotlight, which also featured early appearances by Lewis Black, Margaret Cho, Jeff Garlin, Jay Mohr and Wanda Sykes. The show was hosted by Rosie O'Donnell.
But perhaps his biggest break to date was achieved on November 23, 1993 when he made his debut on The Late Show with David Letterman. The appearance was seen by Saturday Night Live creator Lorne Michaels, who then recruited Attell to be a writer, and occasional performer, on SNL (you can see Attell behind Chris Farley during the famous "Rudy Giuliani Inauguration" sketch). Attell worked on the show for the '93-'94 season.
In 1995 Attell was featured on two HBO specials: alongside up-and-comers Louis C.K., Anthony Clark, Eric Tunney and Dave Chappelle, he was a featured performer on the 1995 Young Comedians Special, hosted by Garry Shandling. He was also given his own 60-minute special on the channel's "HBO Comedy Showcase". Subsequently, Attell was also given an episode of HBO Comedy Half-Hour in 1997.
Also in 1995, Attell appeared as Squiggly Dave on Dr. Katz, Professional Therapist, kicking-off a long-standing relationship between Attell and Comedy Central. In 1999 the network issued Attell an installment in their ever-popular Comedy Central Presents series.
The same year the network signed him on as a regular commentator on their satirical news show The Daily Show. When he arrived in 1999, the show was just finding its audience after the departure of host Craig Kilborn and the arrival of Jon Stewart, an old friend of Attell's from the New York comedy circuit. The three-year stint gave Attell access to a mass audience on a regular basis (The Daily Show has done much the same for comedians Stephen Colbert, Steve Carell, Lewis Black and others). Attell's series of commentary on the show was called "The Ugly American".
In 2003 Attell began appearing semi-regularly on Tough Crowd with Colin Quinn. The show featured many of the performers he works with every day at the underground comedy club the Comedy Cellar and is based on the conversations they would have off-stage at the Olive Tree Cafe, the restaurant above the club. The unscripted show was canceled in November 2004 due to poor ratings and controversial subject matter.
In 2007 Attell appeared in the Michael Addis film, Heckler. Heckler is a comedic feature documentary exploring the increasingly critical world we live in. Attell appeared on Comedy Central's Last Laugh in 2007.
In July 2008 Attell begins hosting The Gong Show with Dave Attell for Comedy Central. Like the 1970's version, the show will have a rotating panel of celebrity judges grading unusual acts.     
Other notable television roles for Attell:
Attell has also been on numerous talk shows, including The Late Show with David Letterman, The Tonight Show with Jay Leno, Late Night with Conan O'Brien and Last Call with Carson Daly. He is also a frequent guest on The Howard Stern Show.
Attell played the roles of "Don" in Los Enchiladas! The film was written, produced and directed by his friend, comedian Mitch Hedberg, and co-starred with Hedberg as well as fellow comedians Todd Barry and Marc Maron.
In the short film The Office Party, Attell once again played the role of "Don". The film co-starred ex-Karate Kid/Outsider Ralph Macchio, Jon Stewart, Carol Kane and Tate Donovan. The film was written and directed by Daily Show producer Chiara Edmands.
Pootie Tang saw Attell as the bumbling corporate lackey, "Frank". The film was written and directed by fellow comedian Louis C.K.. It co-starred Lance Crouther, Wanda Sykes and Chris Rock among others.
Attell also played "Efram the Driver" in the Independent feature My Suicidal Sweetheart, written and directed by filmmaking newcomer Michael Parness. The film co-starred Natasha Lyonne, David Krumholtz, Tim Blake Nelson, Lorraine Bracco, David Paymer and Rosanna Arquette.
Also Dave Attell had a cameo appearance in the film Abby Singer as well as Scary Movie 4.
Though not a film, the video game Outlaw Golf 2 featured the voice of Attell as the Color Commentator.
He plays the character Barker in the 2008 comedy film Harold.
Insomniac with Dave Attell is Attell's television show. The show, described by Attell as "Wild On E! for Ugly People", features Attell walking the streets of America's (later the world's) greatest (and some not-so-great) cities late at night, meeting the people in a haze of ecstatic inebriation. The show occasionally went overseas.
The American cities featured on the show were New York City (4 times), San Francisco, Miami, Kansas City, New Orleans, Houston, Baltimore, Memphis, Chicago, Philadelphia, Boston, Boise, Charlotte, Reno, Atlanta, Phoenix, Charleston (WV), Myrtle Beach, Portland, Albuquerque, Nashville, Anchorage, Cleveland, Little Rock, Oakland, Long Island, Columbus, Honolulu, Austin (2 times), Key West, Salt Lake City and Las Vegas.
The most common activity (besides roaming the street aimlessly and visiting bars) was visiting workers on their night shifts. Instead of spending time with gas station attendants, he went searching for odd professions to highlight. Among them were crime-scene cleaners, bail bondsmen, cow-milkers, brothel-hookers, bicycle cops, coal miners and porn overdubbers. Memorable episodes include a visit to Chicago's world-famous The Wieners Circle, where the staff routinely got in cursing matches with their customers, and a visit to a Phoenix nudist camp.
Throughout the run of the show, Attell carried around a one-time-use film camera and took pictures of random events, which would be shown during the end-credits.
The future of the show is not known, but Attell has said that he decided to more-or-less end Insomniac because the show had gotten too popular to establish a level of spontaneity. As soon as he would walk into a bar with a camera crew, crowds would surround them, desperate to be on his television show. He has said, though, that people aren't so aware of his show overseas, so he would more than likely do a few specials in other countries.
Attell can be seen touring occasionally. He is a mainstay on the New York comedy circuit and performs several times a week at the Comedy Cellar.
Attell's first one-hour special, Captain Miserable, aired December 8, 2007 on HBO.
In May 2008 Attell announced a casting call on his MySpace page for Comedy Central's relaunch of The Gong Show. Attell was host, along with Greg Fitzsimmons serving as head writer on the series. However, since the show began, The Gong Show with Dave Attell was cancelled.
He is also a mainstay on the USO circuit.
Attell performed at Funny for Fido, a benefit to help homeless animals in New York City, on June 3, 2009.