Paul Provenza is a television presenter and actor, actor on stage, radio panelist, stand-up comedian, filmmaker, and skeptic based in Los Angeles. He has appeared on several podcasts and in recent years has interviewed other stand-up comedians. In 2005 he became a director, in 2010 an author and in 2011 he started producing for comedy festivals and television.
Provenza made his first appearance on The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson on March 25, 1983. Additional television work includes hosting a short-lived Nickelodeon TV show from 1988 until 1989 called Kids Court, appearing as Patrick in Empty Nest, and playing Dr. Phil Capra in Season 6 of CBS's Northern Exposure, opposite Teri Polo.
While working as a standup comedian and on television, Provenza also found work in theatre. He received critical acclaim for his work on stage, with his performance in the Off-Broadway play Only Kidding! being nominated for a Drama Desk Award for Best Actor and winning the Theater World Award for Best Actor in a Play. He was the stand-up comedian opening act for Diana Ross for three years or more. He was honored with a caricature by the legendary Al Hirschfeld. He also is a frequent panelist on Wait Wait Don't Tell Me on National Public Radio
After decades as a stand-up comic and actor, Provenza found a new calling as an interviewer of other stand-ups, culminating in his 2005 directorial debut, The Aristocrats (made with Penn Jillette). At the 2006 Edinburgh Fringe Festival, Provenza held a nightly show at the Underbelly, Talk of the Fest. Held at 11pm each night of the festival, the set up was described by Provenza as that of a "green room for the whole festival". Guests included Trey Parker and Matt Stone, the creators of South Park. The show was reprised by Provenza at the 2007 Just for Laughs comedy festival in Montreal, where guests included Billy Connolly, Eddie Izzard, and members of The Kids in the Hall. In 2010, Showtime picked up the show and on June 12, 2010, The Green Room with Paul Provenza debuted with many of the same festival guest line-ups.
In May, 2010, Provenza's book, ¡Satiristas!, with photography by Dan Dion was released by Harper-Collins. It features in-depth interviews with Stephen Colbert, Bill Maher, George Carlin, Marc Maron, among others.