Michael Paul – BIOGRAPHY
Philly native, Michael Paul began his career in local television at age 16. Sustaining a 25 year comedy career, he honed his craft touring with such names as James Brown, Lisa Lampanelli, Wynonna, Joan Rivers and Don Rickles. An audience with Queen Elizabeth II, voted Atlantic City Magazine’s “Act of the Year,” becoming a headliner in over 40 countries along with television credits on The Tonight Show, Saturday Night Live & America’s Got Talent.
Michael’s film career includes motion pictures such as “27 Dresses” opposite Katherine Heigl, “The Ten” co-starring with Winona Ryder and Paul Rudd, and “The Ventriloquist” with Kevin Spacey.
Also lending his voice to Pixar, Jim Henson Productions and Disney and is well known for creating branded puppet characters including, “Nadia Coma: The World’s Oldest Gymnast” and MTV‘s “CJ and Peanut” as well as training casts of “The Lion King” and “Avenue Q”.
Michael’s published works include comedic editorials for USA Today, Huffington Post, LaughSpin and his all star book “Breaking Out of Show Business: What I Discovered by Not Being Discovered” (by Post Hill Publishing) can be found at numerous book outlets including Amazon and Barnes and Noble.
Behind the scenes Michael has provided script coverage or directing for ABC Digital, The Disney Channel, CBS Comedy Division, Robert DeNiro, Jenifer Hudson, Joshua Rush, Bradley Cooper, punched up jokes for David Letterman, Bill Maher, the Comedy Central Roasts and he has taught at UCLA, NYC, PACE, SAG-AFTRA’s Master Class and the Eugene O’Neil Conference.
Michael resides in Los Angeles and continues to work in movies, television and as a comedy writer & script and show consultant.
THE LONG STORY
1986: Michael Paul’s professional career began at age 16 in local television within the 4th largest market of Philadelphia. He landed himself a job at WPHL-TV working on the local, “Dancin’ On Air” and national sister show “Dance Party USA” on the USA Network after convincing high school officials to excuse him from elective courses.
1987: While a part of a studio audience at KYW-TV3, he snuck away giving himself an unauthorized tour of the station, then becoming the youngest production assistant hired at an NBC o/o station. He was assigned to TV Programming with production formats including magazine, talk, late night, telethon, parade & news with now established producers including Ed Glavin (The Ellen DeGeneres Show), Ray Murray (Trading Spaces) and Glen Davish (The View).
1989: His contract ended and Michael needed work or he would have to go back to class full time. By day, he got a job in WCAU CBS – News Talk Radio’s PR/Marketing Department, which he landed after being the only applicant to venture out in the biggest blizzard of the season for the interview.
These jobs that began in production, would later open the door to being cast as “talent” including stints as the “Eyewitness Teen Reporter“, and radio host of “A Turn For Teens“. And after a strategic encounter with his childhood hero, Muppet creator Jim Henson, Michael was invited to New York to assist in the workshop and later on Sesame Street after jumping off a Disney studio tour mid-tram ride to meet the puppet patriarch.
1990: He also accepted a night job with Greg Thompson Productions as a local theater stage technician. Over the next several years he toured with the casino revue show producer, mounting shows in every major resort location around the globe as performance coordinator, road manager, technical director, special appearances coordinator or casting and scouting. It is also where he met and was fostered by Patricia Ziegfeld, daughter of the Follies producer, Florenz and took the family name for the next 20 years of his career.
1992: Michael was drawn to the comedy acts he befriended slowly experimenting in stand-up comedy and eventually going on tour. After three years and eventually headlining name clubs like Caroline’s, The Comedy Stop and The Funny Bone, he was introduced to name ventriloquist, Ronn Lucas who inspired him to revisit his childhood love of puppetry when another club circuit staple, Dan Horn taught him the basics of the ventriloquism technique.
With the over-saturation of stand up comedians in the 90’s, Michael added the ventriloquism into his stage show giving him a marketing edge in bookings. The 20 year comedy career had him sharing the bill with names like James Brown (he was the only white guy in the room), Wynonna Judd (the only Jew in the room), Joan Rivers, Don Rickels, The Mills Brothers, The Beach Boys, Kenny Rogers, Jeff Foxworthy, The Pointer Sisters, Lisa Lampanelli, headlining stage shows in Las Vegas, Atlantic City, Reno, Tahoe, Biloxi, New York, Hollywood, cruise lines, and corporate clients with an act that included stand-up, improv, audience participation, music and his ventriloquist characters, “The International Bird of Prey“, “The World’s Oldest Gymnast” and a talking plate of food.
1994: Michael had an audience with Her Royal Majesty, Queen Elizabeth II after sneaking into the receiving line dressed as security.
1998: He was voted Atlantic City’s “Act of the Year” by Atlantic City Magazine, TV appearances included The Tonight Show with Jay Leno, Comedy Central Mix, The Grammy Awards, The Jerry Lewis Telethon.
1999-2006: Produced his first comedy DVD, “Jewicidal Tendencies” from the famed Stand Up New York comedy club, and branched out into acting with a voice over career lending voice to Saturday Night Live’s irreverant, TV Funhouse, Ritz Crackers, The Moodsters, The American Music Awards, Coca-Cola, Mc Donald’s, Crank Yankers and a puppeteering career creating characters for The Jim Henson Company, Pixar, MTV, Disney and Comedy Central.
2007: He co-starred with Winona Ryder& Paul Rudd in David Wain’s The Ten playing duel roles of “Harlan Swallow” and “Gary” a disturbed assistant to a superstar agent (Ron Silver). He also premiered his critically acclaimed, off-Broadway show “Ziegfeld’s Folly: My Rise to the Middle of Show Business” later running in Los Angeles.
2008: Michael played opposite Katherine Heigl in 27 Dresses. After the audition, the character was given a threaded role in the film and renamed “Ziggy”, Michael’s actual nick name.
2012: He wore multiple hats on the indie film, The Ventriloquist as Kevin Spacey’s performance coach, consultant on production, and special effects performer.
Michael is bi-coastal, living in Hollywood, California while his main office of The Ziegfeld Company Incorporated & Michael Paul: Behind the Scenes, is based in New York City. He built the company to include Emmy© nominated choreographer, Brian Thomas, TV production services director, Nick Buzzell ( www.NBTVInc.com ) and others as the go-to creative team specializing in the creating and branding of television & live productions for clients like David Gest, NBC, Siegfried & Roy, Club Med, Global Industries, Texas Instruments, Health South, The Miss America Association, Mystic Lake Hotel & Casino, Dick Clark Productions, Anheiser-Busch International, Big Brothers, Caesars Palace, Celebrity Cruises, house director at the prestigious Beverly Hilton Hotel’s International Ballroom, home of The Golden Globes, and pilots like “The Pasek & Paul Show” and “College Cooking”.
2014: Writing, directing and developing branded television & digital media content, plucked to direct the long awaited tribute to songstress, Phyllis Hyman live from the ApolloTheater, the magazine / fashion TV show Heel Me, The Legends of Aviation and the 43rd Academy of Magical Arts Awards. Writing for The Friar’s Roasts, Real Time with Bill Maher, Disney Television Productions, The Late Show, The Huffington Post, USA Today.
2015:Michael authored his first book to great reviews. “Breaking Out of Show Business: What I Discovered by Not Being Discovered”by Post Hill Publishing is now in stores and Amazon.com.
2016: Consulted, coached, re-worked or re-cast productions for CBS Comedy Development, TNT, Oscar winner, Kevin Spacey, Wayne Brady (Who’s Line), Jai Rodriguez (Queer Eye/Mailbu Country), Bobby Cassell (Spring Awakenings), Jeri Sager (Cats/Sunset Blvd), Branden James (America’s Got Talent) and Deepak Sethi (Family Guy/Dumb & Dumber).
2017: Teaching at UCLA, NYU, PACE, Eugene O’Neil Conference
2018: Appearing in the show “Wondertown”, coverage writing or directing America’s Got Talent stars, The Legacy Awards at the Hollywood Dolby Theater, Robert DeNiro and the cast of The Greatest Showman, Harrison Ford, Morgan Freedman, John Travolta. Writing/co-directing “Hotline” with Alex Griffin (Jim Henson Puppet Dreams), and more production work at www.MichaelPaulBTS.com
2019: Appears on America’s Got Talent getting 4 “yeses” and the video hitting the 11 million mark online (between YouTube & Talent Recap). The “Breaking Out” book goes into reprint with new Epilogue pages and critic’s reviews.