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
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."
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
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!