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Brian Dunkleman

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

Brian Dunkleman (born September 25, 1971) is an American comedian and actor. He is best known as being co-host with Ryan Seacrest on the first season of American Idol in 2002.


  • Career 1
    • American Idol 1.1
    • Other work 1.2
  • References 2
  • External links 3


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 U.S. Comedy Arts Festival in Aspen, NBC's Late Friday, and TBS's Very Funny at the Laugh Factory. He has also appeared on The Tonight Show.

American Idol

In 2002 Dunkleman appeared as the co-host with Ryan Seacrest during the first season of American Idol. After the season ended, it was reported that he had quit from co-hosting. Various news outlets later on said that he "had his career completely destroyed" for doing so, before it became enormously popular and made Seacrest very wealthy. However, one journalist believes that Dunkleman would have been fired had he not quit earlier.[1]

During his 2008 appearance on the sixth season of the reality television weight loss show, Celebrity Fit Club on which he lost 15 pounds, and won the grand prize with his team, he spoke about his reasons for leaving American Idol following its 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, Ian K. Smith, one of the doctors on the panel, opined that he made the right decision.

In appearances The Howard Stern Show, 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 stated he was happy with his current life.

Other work

In 2000 Dunkleman appeared in "The One With The Ring", a sixth season episode of Friends, as the man who buys the engagement ring Chandler wants to buy Monica.

Dunkleman has also appeared 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 had a recurring guest role on Two Guys and a Girl, played a stand-up comic suspected of murder in NYPD Blue, and appeared in an independent film called Comedy Hell.

His voice acting includes voicing himself in an episode of The Proud Family, in which the show parodied American Idol, did voices for the animated 3 South, and playing Ruiga in Naruto.

Dunkleman 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, in which contestants show their skills in an America's Got Talent-esque show starring Erik Estrada. As Dunkleman ended a segment of the show he said, "Dunkleman... out. Hack stole it from me."

Dunkleman was also parodied on the series finale of Drawn Together. In the episode his inner dialog expresses jealousy of Ryan Seacrest's last name, and his charisma.

In 2009 Dunkleman pitched a TV series about his life after American Idol entitled American Dunkleman. 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.[2]

He does stand up regularly in Los Angeles at the Laugh Factory and The Improv, and he makes regular appearances as the host of Family Feud Live in Las Vegas and Atlantic City for Fremantle Media.


  1. ^ Potts, Kim. American Idol: The Untold Story' Book Author Richard Rushfield Talks Past 'Idol' Scandals, Backstage Divas and Season 10"'". TV Squad. Retrieved 2010-01-18. 
  2. ^ Denhart, Andy (January 28, 2009). "Brian Dunkleman Pitching Fictional Series About His Post American Idol Life". Reality Blurred.

External links

  • Los Angeles Times: The Return of Brian Dunkleman
  • AOL News: Ex-Idol host Dunkleman pitches a comeback
  • Anorak UK: American Idol Brian Dunkleman: The Man Who Turned Down Simon Cowell
  • AOL Video: American Dunkleman
  • Los Angeles Times: Neil Innes says, "Dunkleman for President!"
  • American Dunkleman website
  • Brian Dunkleman at the Internet Movie Database
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