Andy Richter

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Andy Richter
Andy Richter 1997 cropped.jpg
Andy Richter in mid-1997 at the Stephen C. O'Connell Center, in Gainesville, Florida
Birth namePaul Andrew Richter
Born(1966-10-28) October 28, 1966 (age 48)
Grand Rapids, Michigan, U.S.
MediumTelevision, film
Years active1988–present
SpouseSarah Thyre (1994–present)
Notable works and rolesLate Night with Conan O'Brien
The Tonight Show with Conan O'Brien
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Andy Richter
Andy Richter 1997 cropped.jpg
Andy Richter in mid-1997 at the Stephen C. O'Connell Center, in Gainesville, Florida
Birth namePaul Andrew Richter
Born(1966-10-28) October 28, 1966 (age 48)
Grand Rapids, Michigan, U.S.
MediumTelevision, film
Years active1988–present
SpouseSarah Thyre (1994–present)
Notable works and rolesLate Night with Conan O'Brien
The Tonight Show with Conan O'Brien

Paul Andrew "Andy" Richter (born October 28, 1966) is an American actor, writer, comedian, and late night talk show announcer. He is best known for his role as the sidekick of Conan O'Brien on each of the host's programs: Late Night and The Tonight Show on NBC, and Conan on TBS. He is also known for his voice work in the Madagascar films and for starring in the sitcoms Quintuplets, Andy Richter Controls the Universe, and Andy Barker, P.I..

Early life and career[edit]

Richter, the third of four children, was born in Grand Rapids, Michigan. His mother, Glenda Swanson (née Palmer), was a kitchen cabinet designer, and his father, Laurence R. Richter, taught Russian at Indiana University for more than 32 years.[1][2][3] Richter was raised in Yorkville, Illinois. His parents divorced when he was 4 and his father later came out as gay.[4] He is of Swedish and German descent.[5][6] In high school, he was elected Prom King.[7]

In the late 1980s, Richter attended Columbia College Chicago as a film major. While at Columbia he learned the basics of comedic acting and writing by starring in numerous student films and videos. After leaving Columbia in 1988 Richter worked as a production assistant on commercial shoots in Chicago. In 1989, he began taking classes at Chicago's Improv Olympic. He went from student to "House Performer" within a year. Richter branched out working with "The Comedy Underground" and the Annoyance Theater.

Richter wrote for the short-lived Jonathan Brandmeier television show.

In the early 1990s the Annoyance Theater hit gold when producer Jill Soloway staged The Real Live Brady Bunch with live, word-for-word performances of the '70s sitcom. The show was so popular that it attracted national attention and moved to New York City. Richter was not an original member of the cast but the actor who played "Mike Brady" in the Chicago cast opted not to go to New York. Richter asked Soloway if he could play "Mike" in New York and since Soloway had not cast a replacement, she agreed.[citation needed]

At the same time The Real Live Brady Bunch was playing in New York, two fellow Annoyance members (Beth Cahill and Melanie Hutsell, who played Marcia and Jan Brady in the "Real Live Brady Bunch" stage show) were hired as cast members on Saturday Night Live. With friends on SNL, Andy was able to get into the after-show parties where he met SNL writer Robert Smigel. Two years later, Smigel hired Richter for a new show he was producing, Late Night with Conan O'Brien. Originally hired as a writer, Richter was upgraded to Conan O'Brien's sidekick just weeks before the show began airing in 1993, after it became clear the two had a strong rapport, something Smigel noticed after sending Richter to join O'Brien on stage during a practice run-through when the production staff was testing lighting angles and sound.[8]

After seven years with the show, Richter departed from Late Night after the May 26, 2000 show. He later said of the decision, "After seven years of being on the show, I got itchy. I have a philosophy that if you enjoy good fortune, rather than sit there and say, 'Oh, that's fine, this amount is good enough for me,' you should try and push it. You should see how much you can stretch your good fortune. And I was curious."[9]

Television work[edit]

Series leads[edit]

Richter left his post at Late Night in 2000 to pursue a career acting in films and television. His first major venture, Fox's Andy Richter Controls the Universe, was canceled after two mid-season runs. His next Fox sitcom, Quintuplets, lasted one season. His most recent television series was Andy Barker P.I., which was co-written and executive produced by Conan O'Brien. In the series Richter played an accountant who could not attract clients.[10] After a woman comes to his office thinking he is the former tenant, a private investigator, she asks him to find her husband who she thinks faked his death. Barker decides to pursue this job and becomes a private detective in earnest, and continues to do his accounting job, which seems to pick up as the series goes on. The series played on NBC, with all six episodes in the first season on The series was canceled after very poor ratings despite being named by Entertainment Weekly as one of the Top Ten Shows of 2007.[11]

The Tonight Show[edit]

On February 24, 2009 it was announced that Richter would be joining Conan O'Brien once again as the announcer for The Tonight Show with Conan O'Brien in Los Angeles.[12] Richter frequently appeared in comedy sketches on the show and often commented and interacted with Conan during the opening monologue; he was also part of the show's writing staff. In mid-December 2009, Richter also began joining Conan on the couch during the celebrity interviews, much like he did in his former sidekick role on Late Night. Richter said he enjoyed having a steady paycheck again and not having to deal with production companies while developing television shows. Richter said, "Now I'm so happy to be back and making TV every night, not asking permission from somebody and waiting six months to get their sparklingly clear and cogent notes. And then wait another month for them to get back from Hawaii and say, 'Yes, now we can go make television.' I felt like a plumber who kept going into the building and saying, 'Can we put some pipes together?' and watching my wrenches gather dust."[9]


When Conan returned to the air as host of his self-titled TBS show, Richter followed. He again reprised his roles as announcer, writer, general sidekick and participant in comedy sketches.

Other roles[edit]

In April 2002, Richter appeared in the Fox series Malcolm in the Middle. In "Clip Show", he played a psychiatrist giving therapy to Malcolm, Reese and Dewey.

In October 2005, Richter appeared in the NBC sitcom Will & Grace. In "The Old Man and the Sea", he played an annoying blind date that was teased and misled by Grace Adler, who only dated him to prove she was not a snob.[13]

Richter appeared in "Monk" as his best friend in the episode "Mr Monk Makes a Friend"

Richter appears in the Fox series Arrested Development in the 2006 episode "S.O.B.s." He plays every member of a fictional group of identical Richter quintuplets, Donnie, Chareth, Rocky, Emmett, and himself. He reprises the roles in several episodes of season 4.[14]

From 2006–2008 Richter had a recurring role as "Sad Dad" Stan in the TV show The New Adventures of Old Christine.[14]

He also provides the voice for the character Ben on the TV show The Mighty B!, Simon Cristini on True Jackson, VP, and the voice of the character Mort on the TV show The Penguins of Madagascar, all of which air on Nickelodeon.

Richter was considered to be a potential host of the classic Pyramid game show that was being developed for CBS, but was ultimately not picked up by the network.[15] Had the series been picked up, it would not have affected Richter's role on Conan. On May 18, 2011, TBS announced development of a possible new version of Pyramid, again to be hosted by Richter.[16]

In June 2010, he hosted the Team Coco Presents the Conan Writers Live comedy special for TBS at the Just for Laughs festival in Chicago. Richter hosted in place of O'Brien, who was still prohibited from hosting any television program until fall 2010.[citation needed]

In July 2013, Richter signed up to host a game show called Step Up, which was ordered by Fox.[17]

Film work[edit]

In addition to his television work, Richter has appeared in motion pictures such as Aliens in the Attic, Big Trouble, Elf, Seeing Other People, New York Minute, Madagascar, Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa, Madagascar 3: Europe's Most Wanted, My Boss's Daughter, Scary Movie 2, Cabin Boy, Frank McKlusky, C.I., Pootie Tang, Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby, Blades of Glory, Semi-Pro, Lenny the Wonder Dog, and Dr. T & the Women.

Other appearances[edit]

In 2008 Richter appeared in composer Marc Shaiman's satirical mini-musical called "Prop — The Musical". The 3-minute video was distributed on the internet at In addition to Richter, the cast includes Jack Black, John C. Reilly, Craig Robinson, and many other celebrities, directed by Adam Shankman. The video won the 2009 Webby Award category Comedy: Individual Short or Episode,[18] and won a GLAAD media award.[19]

In July 2009, Richter played for the American League as a first baseman in the 2009 Taco Bell All-Star Legends and Celebrity Softball Game. Representing the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim, Richter hit a home run in the game.[20]

After the end of The Tonight Show with Conan O'Brien, Richter joined O'Brien on his Legally Prohibited from Being Funny on Television Tour, a stage show touring the United States and Canada over the spring of 2010. Richter served in his usual role as announcer/sidekick. Due to performing with O'Brien, Richter was forced to drop out of the Jeopardy! Million Dollar Celebrity Invitational, in which he was a semifinalist. Isaac Mizrahi replaced Richter in the tournament.[21] Richter also made an appearance on the Disney Channel sitcom The Suite Life on Deck as, a non-religious hooded brother, Brother Theodore in the episode "Silent Treatment".

Personal life[edit]

Richter is married to comedic actress and writer/author Sarah Thyre, and they have two children, William and Mercy. Thyre was part of the cast of the cult comedy series Strangers with Candy, on which Richter made frequent cameo appearances. Richter and Thyre also appeared together playing Hansel and Gretel in an episode of the Upright Citizens Brigade sketch comedy series on Comedy Central in 1998. Richter is also a member of the Sigma Phi Epsilon Fraternity.


1993The Positively True Adventures of the Alleged Texas Cheerleader-Murdering MomPolice OfficerTelevision movie
1994Cabin BoyKenny
1996Good MoneyHappy
1998The Thin Pink LineKen Irpine
1999Barenaked in AmericaHimselfDocumentary
2000Dr. T & the WomenEli
2000Book of Shadows: Blair Witch 2HimselfArchive footage
2001Dr. Dolittle 2Eugene Wilson
2001Pootie TangRecord Executive
2001Scary Movie 2Father Harris
2001Wild Desk RideHimself/Host/Panelist
2001Kids in the Hall: Same Guys, New DressesHimselfDocumentary
2002Gigantic (A Tale of Two Johns)HimselfDocumentary
2002Run Ronnie RunNetwork Executive #2
2002Martin & OrloffMaitre 'D
2002Big TroubleJack Pendick/Ralph Pendick
2002Frank McKlusky, C.I.Herb
2002God Hates CartoonsDrinky Crow
2002The Cat ReturnsNatoruVoice (English version)
2003End of the CenturyHimselfDocumentary
2003My Boss's DaughterRed Taylor
2004Sesame Street: Happy Healthy MonstersHimselfHome video
2004Death and TexasCongressman Jack Levanyt
2004New York MinuteBennie Bang
2004Seeing Other PeopleCarl
2005The AristocratsHimselfDocumentary
2005Lenny the Wonder DogLennyVoice
2006Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky BobbyGregory
2006-2008MonkHal TuckerTV Series, 2 episodes
2007The ProcedureT.J.Short
2007Blades of GloryMountie
2008Semi-ProBobby Dee
2008Madagascar: Escape 2 AfricaMortVoice
2008Prop 8 — The MusicalGay California ManShort
2008ChuckBradTV series
2005 - 2013Arrested DevelopmentHimself, Chareth Richter, Donnie Richter, Emmett Richter, and Rocky Richter-Wang.TV series; recurring characters in 8 episodes
2009Aliens in the AtticUncle Nathan Pearson
2011Conan O'Brien Can't StopHimselfDocumentary
2012Madagascar 3: Europe's Most WantedMortVoice
2012Halo 4MarineVoice
2012MetalocalypseVarious VoicesRecurring guest
2013Happy EndingsRoyTV Series
2013Madly MadagascarMortVoice
2013Brooklyn Nine-NineDoormanTV Series
2014The MillersDouglas Marie DascalTV Series


  1. ^ "Statement on the retirement of Laurence R. Richter", ""
  2. ^ Andy Richter Biography (1966-)
  3. ^ Dietrich, Matthew (September 17, 1998). "Life as a Late-Night Sidekick". State Journal Register. Retrieved October 12, 2010. 
  4. ^ Fitzdog Radio,with Greg Fitzsimmons, guest Andy Richter 11.27.2012 51:05 mark [1]
  5. ^ Video on YouTube
  6. ^ Richter on Conan on YouTube (April 13, 2012)
  7. ^ "Andy Richter > Biography". All Movie Guide. 
  8. ^ Aisha Tyler (January 23, 2012). "Girl on Guy with Aisha Tyler 31 with Andy Richter". Retrieved February 4, 2012. 
  9. ^ a b Sicha, Choire (May 31, 2009). "Andy Richter: 'I got itchy'". The Los Angeles Times. Retrieved June 2, 2009. 
  10. ^ "Andy Barker, PI canceled",, April 11, 2007
  11. ^ Flynn, Gillian (December 21, 2007). "Andy Barker, P.I.". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved May 11, 2008.
  12. ^ Andy Richter named announcer for NBC's 'The Tonight Show with Conan O'Brien'[dead link]
  13. ^ Will & Grace - "The Old Man and the Sea" at the Internet Movie Database
  14. ^ a b Andy Richter at the Internet Movie Database
  15. ^ "Andy Richter wrapping deal to host new version of 'Pyramid' for CBS", Los Angeles Times, May 27, 2010
  16. ^ "TNT and TBS Announce Extensive Slate of New Projects from Top Talents". The Futon Critic. May 18, 2011. Retrieved May 25, 2011. 
  17. ^ "Andy Richter game show ordered by Fox". Digital Spy. Retrieved July 16, 2013. 
  18. ^ "Webby Nominees: 13th Annual Webby Awards Nominees & Winners". The Webby Awards. Retrieved 2013-03-19. 
  19. ^ "Shaiman's 'PROP 8-THE MUSICAL' Wins GLAAD Award Honors". Broadway World. 2009-04-21. Retrieved 2009-04-25. 
  20. ^ "Clouds give way to stars for softball game", Doug Miller,, July 12, 2009
  21. ^ "Neil Patrick Harris Among Celebs In Million Dollar Jeopardy Semifinals", Entertainment Weekly, April 19, 2010

External links[edit]

Media offices
Preceded by
John Melendez
The Tonight Show announcer
Succeeded by
Wally Wingert