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Creator / Steven Wright

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"Like my daddy used to say, 'worst comes to worst, we're screwed'."

Steven Alexander Wright (born December 6, 1955) is a Boston-born comedian with a trademark deadpan delivery. Wright popularized a new style of Stand-Up Comedy, consisting of a series of short, surreal statements with odd internal logic.note  Some famous examples include, "I woke up one morning to find that everything in my apartment had been stolen and replaced with an exact replica", "I put instant coffee in the microwave and almost went back in time", or "I bought a packet of instant water but I didn't know what to add". Sometimes he throws in bizarre songs or rambling anecdotes that go absolutely nowhere. You can hear traces of his style in later comedians like the late Mitch Hedberg and Demetri Martin.

You may know him as the super-bored DJ voice on the radio in Reservoir Dogs. He also frequented late night talk shows, debuting on The Tonight Show in 1982, and was a recurring guest on The Late Late Show With Craig Ferguson. Also, in the late 80s, he won an Academy Award for writing and producing the short film The Appointments of Dennis Jennings. His acceptance speech began "Now I'm glad I cut the other 90 minutes out."

Not to be confused with Stevie Wright, lead vocalist of The Easybeats; BBC Radio 2 DJ Steve Wright; or former Boston Red Sox knuckleballer Steven Wright.

Tropes present:

  • Beam Me Up, Scotty!: Steven Wright has had a plethora of jokes misattributed to him, which he's not exactly happy about.
  • Black Comedy: His song "Friends Of Mine" details a number of his former friends' deaths.
    • "One time I was playing poker with Tarot Cards. I got a full house and four people died."
  • Blatant Lies: "I'm feeling kinda hyper tonight."
  • Brick Joke: The title of his first album was I Have a Pony. Twenty-two years later, the title of his second album was I Still Have a Pony.
  • Butterfly of Doom: Subverted. "I was wondering how my life would have been different if I'd been born one day earlier, and I thought maybe it wouldn't be different at all, except that I'd have asked that question yesterday."
  • Catchphrase: He starts all of his sets with a tired and unenthusiastic "Thanks..." in response to his introductory applauses.
  • Cloud Cuckoo Lander: Even though his delivery's so deadpan, he is still clearly not on the same track as most people. He also makes his grandfather out to be this way: the man's will was an IOU.
  • Crazy Is Cool:invoked "Imagine Pulitzer Prizefighting. Just two writers beating the shit out of each other."
  • Comically Missing the Point: "I was driving and saw a hitchhiker with a sign that said 'Heaven', so I hit him. I think he went there; he seemed like a nice guy."
  • The Comically Serious: His lethargic tone is what makes his one liners so funny.
  • Deadpan Snarker: With his trademark low monotone, it literally doesn't get more deadpan than this.
  • Driven to Suicide: One of his jokes consists of getting a paper cut while writing a suicide note. "It's a start."
    • Another of his jokes consists of him trying to hang himself with a bungee cord.
  • Felony Misdemeanor:
    • "I was arrested for lip-syncing karaoke."
    • "I was arrested for scalping low numbers at the deli."
  • Girl on Girl Is Hot: Deconstructed.
    "I asked my girl if she ever had sex with another woman. She said no. I said, 'you should try it, it's fun!' And she did; now she's gone..."
  • Literal-Minded: A large portion of his one-liners.
    "Twenty-four hour banking? I don't have time for that."
    "I passed a sign that said 'Rest Area 20 miles.' I said, 'wow, that's pretty big. People must get really tired around here.'"
  • Mathematician's Answer: A staple of his comedy:
    "[The police] said 'Why were you going so fast?' I said 'Why? I had my foot to the floor. It sends more gas through the carburetor.'"
  • No Ending: He has one bit on I Still Have A Pony about going to the doctor's office that ends abruptly. After a moment of confused laughter, he asks the audience "What'd you think was gonna happen?"
  • Noodle Incident: His joke regarding a friend he knew who had an automatic house. There were all kinds of devices and switches, but one in particular didn't seem to do anything, no matter how many times he flipped it. "Then one day a lady in Germany called him. She said, 'Stop it.'" Even aside from the Surreal Humor of wondering how in the world she got his number (or even knew who to call), just what was the switch doing in her home...?
  • Precision F-Strike: He uses this a couple times in his CD I Still Have A Pony, in contrast to his previous album in which he didn't swear at all.
  • Poor Communication Kills: "Eddie was a friend of mine, he was killed playing Checkers / You know that term 'king me'? The other guy wasn't sure what he said."
  • Schedule Slip: His second comedy CD was released in 2007, twenty-two years after his first one. A few years earlier, he explained the long gap:
    When I made ["I Have a Pony"], I noticed that the material on it became so well-known that I couldn't really perform it anymore. And I didn't know how many things I was going to be able to think of. I knew if I made a second album, I'd have to make a third album's worth of stuff to take out live, so audiences wouldn't just hear the same things they'd already heard before. I didn't know at the time if I had that in me, but I just kept accumulating new material. If I had the business sense of a hubcap, I would have said, "I'm up to the third album worth of stuff, so let's record the second one now," but I forgot about it. I just kept piling more and more material up, and didn't think about albums anymore. See, the album helped me go from clubs into theaters, but I didn't think I needed to make another one, because I'm still in theaters.
  • The Stoic: Does he ever smile?
  • Surreal Humor: A Steven Wright specialty. His sets are mostly just one Mind Screw after another.
  • Voodoo Doll: Inverted. "I once saw a voodoo acupuncturist. I didn't have to go to his office. I just walked down the street and, hey my headache's gone."

"Don't think about it; it doesn't mean anything."