INDIANAPOLIS — Several heavyweight comedians call Indiana home. Here’s a list of Hoosiers who made it big and are beloved superstars across the globe:
One of the most famous Hoosiers among us, David Letterman was born and raised in Indianapolis. Letterman graduated from Broad Ripple High School in Indianapolis and Ball State University in Muncie. He is best known for the long-running talk segment, Late Show with David Letterman. Currently, he host the show My Next Guest Needs No Introduction with David Letterman where he brings in celebrities such as Kim Kardashian, President Barack Obama, and Jay-Z.
A true hometown hero, Mike Epps was born and raised in Indianapolis. Epps has starred in a myriad of major productions including The Hangover, You People, as well as installments in the Friday series. Epps is currently on tour, and most recently debuted season 4 of his Netflix series The Upshaws that is based in Indianapolis.
Jim Gaffigan was raised in the small town of Chesterton and even spoke about his community on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert. Gaffigan has a massive following as he has been featured in multiple productions such as That’s 70s Show, Scooby-Doo and Guess Who?, and even his own namesake television series, The Jim Gaffigan Show. Gaffigan is currently on tour and you can watch his newly released special, Dark Pale, on Amazon Prime.
American sweetheart, Sasheer Zamata, was raised in Indianapolis and graduated from Pike High School. Zamata has starred in four seasons of the ultimate comedic series Saturday Night Live. She was also a cast member in Hulu’s Woke, I Feel Pretty, and the Netflix film Deidra & Laney Rob a Train. Currently, she is an actress on the ABC comedy series Home Economics, on the podcast Best Friends with Nicole Byer and Sasheer Zamata, and released a standup special titled The First Woman on Tuesday. Listen to Zamata speak about her stand-up special in an interview with NPR here.
Born in Indianapolis, Marc Summers, is a comedian, producer, and most notably an illustrious game show host. Summers has hosted the Food Network series Unwrapped, and the Nickelodeon shows What Would You Do? and Double Dare. Summers currently works on the podcast Marc Summers Unwraps where he dishes with celebrity guest such as Al Roker, Gabriel Iglesias (Fluffy), and Howie Mandel.
Actress Shelley Long was born and raised in Indian Village, Fort Wayne. She moved to Illinois for college where she eventually became a member of the famous improv group, The Second City troupe. Throughout her career, she was a cast member in star studded shows including: Cheers, Frazier, and Modern Family. Long continues to feature in television and movie roles today.
Born in Vincennes, Red Skelton was introduced to comedy when he was 7-years-old at a vaudeville show. He left to pursue his career at 10-years-old, by age 15 he had began working in vaudeville shows, according to IMDb. He debuted on Broadway and radio in 1937 and film in 1938. He is most known for his show, The Red Skelton Hour, that was featured on NBC and CBS for decades from 1951-1971. Skelton died at 84-years-old from pneumonia.
Originally from DeMotte, the northwestern part of the Hoosier state, Ryan Niemiller catapulted to fame after being featured on season 14 of Americas Got Talent. Known as the Cripple Threat of Comedy, Neimeller placed 3rd in Americas Got Talent. He is currently performing stand-up on tour around the country.
Herb Shriner was a musician and comedian raised in Fort Wayne where he was able to get his start in radio at the station WOWO. Shriner frequently spoke of Indiana in his stand-up and even has a daughter named Indy, along with two other children Wil and Kin. Shriner is best known for his role in the film Main Street to Broadway, the TV series Your Show of Shows, and even hosted a game show called Two for the Money on NBC, according to IMDb. Emmy nominated Shriner died in a car accident with his wife of 26 years, Eileen, when he was 51 years old and she was 43.
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