Mary Ellen Hooper

America is falling in love with MARYELLEN HOOPER and it's easy to see why. With her unique brand of physical humor and quirky facial expressions, she's quickly becoming comedy's brightest star. A favorite headliner at clubs and colleges across the country, MARYELLEN was named Best Female Stand-Up at the 12th Annual American Comedy Awards (stand-up's highest honor) in March '98 and made her debut on "The Tonight Show with Jay Leno" that same year. Her first comedy CD, aptly titled "Dignity Under Duress", was recorded live at the legendary Ice House Comedy Club in Pasadena and released in February '99 on the Uproar label. With her many accomplishments already, the sky's the limit for this talented performer.

One smitten reviewer said, "Heard of perfect date movies? Female comedian of the year Maryellen Hooper is the perfect date comic." Known for providing nonstop laughter, HOOPER describes her material as "just silly, fun stuff that everybody can appreciate." She deftly comments on the travails of being a woman without sounding cynical, bitter or trashy as she takes the audience along on a delightfully loopy ride. A very gifted physical comedian as well, she uses her body to accentuate the punchlines to even greater hilarity. Her persona has been described as "... if Lucille Ball and Dick Van Dyke had a baby girl" which MARYELLEN jokingly explains is "because I have red hair and trip over ottomans."

The first time she knew she was funny was when she was seven years old. Her dad was enrolled in a speech course and had to take her along. His professor told her jokingly that if she stayed in class with her dad she'd have to give a speech too. She said okay and proceeded to stand up and give her dad's speech which she'd heard him practice over and over. "Needless to say, I made everyone laugh... except my dad." From that point on, her future course was set.

Born on Long Island, she grew up in the Tampa area. Her family moved around a lot and MARYELLEN quickly learned that being a chameleon helped her fit in to the many schools she attended and being funny was a good way to be accepted. She used both those traits to great advantage acting in high school and community theater and always got the funny parts but it wasn't until 1985 that she truly considered comedy as a career. She went to a comedy club and watched an amateur night and then signed up for an "open mike night" herself. She went home, wrote some material about her family, performed and was hooked. She started entering talent competitions at nearby clubs and it wasn't long before she headed to New York.

Of course, she didn't give up her day job(s) right away and she's had some doozies! While learning the ropes of the New York comedy club scene by night, she juggled a trio of jobs: cutting hair in an upscale Manhattan salon, working as a "rolling billboard" complete with orange jumpsuit, helmet and skates advertising a variety of products around Wall Street and cutting kids' hair at the FAQ Schwarz salon for little darlings.
After a couple of years of this hectic schedule, she moved to Philadelphia where she honed her comedy skills even more and her contemporaries included Ray Romano, Drew Carey, Ralph Harris and Jim Breuer. Moving back to New York a short time later, she became one of the top college acts in '94 finding herself much in demand at campuses throughout the country.

It was also in '94 that she made the big move to Los Angeles and started her winning streak of accolades. She was nominated for the NACA (National Association for Campus Activities) Comedy Entertainer of the Year and she won the Colorado Comedy Invitational in Vail. As part of the latter competition she was asked to pick a local charity to align herself with. She chose Canine Companions for Independence, a nonprofit organization dedicated to providing trained dogs to serve the needs of disabled people, and has been involved with them ever since including volunteering her services - and those of her famous friends - at their fundraising events. Also that year, she was invited to perform on Lifetime's stand-up series, "Girls Night Out", with Brooke Shields as the host that night. The two hit it off immediately and a lasting friendship was formed.

As an up-and-comer on the comedy circuit, MARYELLEN soon found herself in demand as an opening act for such talents as Jerry Seinfeld, Gilbert Gottfried, Tommy Davidson, Andrew Dice Clay (!), and Wynonna Judd (with whom she continues to work and who sent congratulatory flowers backstage for her debut on "The Tonight Show"). In addition to "Girl's Night Out", her television credits include her own half-hour special on Comedy Central's "Lounge Lizards", two appearances on "NBC's Friday Night Videos", A&E's "Evening At the lmprov" and "Louie Anderson's Comedy Showcase".

On the personal side, MARYELLEN lives in the L.A. area with her boyfriend Mark. They met while she was on the big college tour and e-mailed each other for four months before their schedules coincided long enough for a real date. It's a love match, for sure: both are vegetarians, animal lovers (they have a terrier mix/"kennel mutt" named Dublin) and they share a passion for antiques, collectibles, vintage clothes and furnishings.
Having achieved success as a stand-up in a very short time, MARYELLEN has her sights now set on a television future. "As far as comics getting on sitcoms," she muses, "if it's alphabetical then my name should be coming up soon." Stay tuned for greatness!


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