Andy Richter

Not to be confused with Andy Ricker.
Andy Richter

Andy Richter smiling and waving wearing an elaborate and colorful costume

Richter as "Pope" of the "Intergalactic Krewe of Chewbacchus" at the 2015 New Orleans Mardi Gras parade on February 7, 2015.
Birth name Paul Andrew Richter
Born (1966-10-28) October 28, 1966
Grand Rapids, Michigan, United States
Medium Television, film
Nationality American
Alma mater Columbia College Chicago
Years active 1988–present
Genres Improvisational comedy, sketch comedy, cringe comedy, anti-humor, self-deprecation, blue comedy, alternative comedy, satire
Influences Paul Shaffer, Ed McMahon, Steve Allen, George Carlin, Sid Caesar, Woody Allen, Bill Cosby, Don Rickles, Robert Klein
Spouse Sarah Thyre (m. 1994)
Children 2
Notable works and roles

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 as Mort in the Madagascar films and for starring in the sitcoms Quintuplets, Andy Richter Controls the Universe, and Andy Barker, P.I.

Early life

Richter, the third of four children, was born in Grand Rapids, Michigan to mother, Glenda Swanson (née Palmer), a kitchen cabinet designer, and father, Laurence R. Richter, who taught Russian at Indiana University for more than 32 years.[1][2][3] Richter was raised in Yorkville, Illinois. He graduated from Yorkville High School in 1984, where he was elected Prom King.[4][5] His parents divorced when he was 4 and his father later came out as gay.[6]

Richter is of Swedish and German descent.[7][8]


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.

Andy Richter in mid-1997 at the Stephen C. O'Connell Center, in Gainesville, Florida

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.

Late Night with Conan O'Brien

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, Richter 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.[9]

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."[10]

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 2007 television series, Andy Barker P.I., was co-written and executive produced by Conan O'Brien. In the series, Richter played an accountant who could not attract clients.[11] 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.[12]

The Tonight Show

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.[13] 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."[10]


When Conan O'Brien returned to the air as host of his self-titled TBS show in 2010, Richter followed and resumed his roles as announcer, writer, general sidekick and participant in comedy sketches.

Other television appearances

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.

Richter appeared in "Monk" as a murderer posing as Adrian Monk's 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.

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

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.[14] 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.[15]

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.

In July 2013, Richter signed up to host a game show called Step Up, which was ordered by Fox.[16]

Richter currently holds the record for all-time highest one-day score on Celebrity Jeopardy!, winning $68,000 during a first round game of the 2009–10 season's "Million Dollar Celebrity Invitational". His earnings were donated to the St. Jude Children's Research Hospital.[17]


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

In 2008, Richter appeared in composer Marc Shaiman's satirical mini-musical called "Prop 8 — The Musical".[18] The three-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,[19] and won a GLAAD media award.[20]

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.[21]

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.[22] 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

Richter is married to comedic actress and writer/author Sarah Thyre and they have two children: son William (born 2001) and daughter Mercy (born 2007).[23] 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 a supporter of Planned Parenthood and has said he is "eternally grateful" to them for aborting a pregnancy with then-girlfriend Sarah Thyre in 1992.[24][25]

Richter is a member of the Sigma Phi Epsilon Fraternity. After leaving the Late Night show, Richter moved to Los Angeles.


Film and television
Year Title Role Notes
1993 The Positively True Adventures of the Alleged Texas Cheerleader-Murdering Mom Police Officer Television movie
1994 Cabin Boy Kenny
1996 Good Money Happy
1998 The Thin Pink Line Ken Irpine
1999 Barenaked in America Himself Documentary
2000 Dr. T & the Women Eli
2000 Book of Shadows: Blair Witch 2 Himself Archive footage
2001 Dr. Dolittle 2 Eugene Wilson
2001 Pootie Tang Record Executive
2001 Scary Movie 2 Father Harris
2001 Wild Desk Ride Himself/Host/Panelist
2001 Kids in the Hall: Same Guys, New Dresses Himself Documentary
2002 Gigantic (A Tale of Two Johns) Himself Documentary
2002 Run Ronnie Run Network Executive #2
2002 Martin & Orloff Maitre 'D
2002 Big Trouble Jack Pendick/Ralph Pendick
2002 Frank McKlusky, C.I. Herb
2002 God Hates Cartoons Drinky Crow
2002 The Cat Returns Natoru Voice (English version)
2003 End of the Century Himself Documentary
2003 My Boss's Daughter Red Taylor
2003 Elf Morris
2004 Sesame Street: Happy Healthy Monsters Himself Home video
2004 Death and Texas Congressman Jack Levanyt
2004 New York Minute Bennie Bang
2004 Seeing Other People Carl
2005 The Aristocrats Himself Documentary
2005 Madagascar Mort Voice
2005 Lenny the Wonder Dog Lenny Voice
2005 Will & Grace
2006 Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby Gregory
2006–2008 Monk Hal Tucker TV Series, 2 episodes
2007 The Procedure T.J. Short
2007 Blades of Glory Mountie
2007 30 Rock Mitch Lemon TV series
2008 Semi-Pro Bobby Dee
2008-2011 The Mighty B! Benjamin Higgenbottom Voice
2008 Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa Mort Voice
2008–2015 The Penguins of Madagascar Mort TV Series, Voice
2008 Prop 8 — The Musical Gay California Man Short
2008 Chuck Brad TV series
2005–2013 Arrested Development Himself, Chareth Richter, Donnie Richter, Emmett Richter, and Rocky Richter-Wang TV series; recurring characters in 8 episodes
2009 Aliens in the Attic Uncle Nathan Pearson
2011 Conan O'Brien Can't Stop Himself Documentary
2011–2015 China, IL Agent Green 4 episodes
2012 Madagascar 3: Europe's Most Wanted Mort Voice
2012 Halo 4 Marine Voice
2012 Metalocalypse Various Voices Recurring guest
2012–2013 Comedy Bang! Bang! Himself TV series; 2 episodes
2013 Happy Endings Roy TV series
2013 Madly Madagascar Mort Voice
2013 Brooklyn Nine-Nine Doorman TV Series
2014 The Millers Douglas Marie Dascal TV Series
2014 Penguins of Madagascar Mort Voice; uncredited cameo
2014 All Hail King Julien Mort Voice; TV Series
2015 Maron Himself 2 episodes
2015 Bob's Burgers Wayne Episode: "Adventures in Chinchilla-sitting"
2016 Donald Trump's The Art of the Deal: The Movie Pete Rozelle
2016 Bajillion Dollar Propertie$ Art Gordon Episode: "Inside Joke"
2016 The Jim Gaffigan Show Mitch Gaffigan Episode: "My Brother's Keeper"


  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. "Andy Richter - Biography". All Movie Guide.
  5. "Andy Richter Replaces Denny Hastert As The Star Of Yorkville, IL". TeamCoco. Conan O'Brien Show. June 2, 2015. Retrieved 3 June 2015.
  6. Fitzdog Radio,with Greg Fitzsimmons, guest Andy Richter 11.27.2012 51:05 mark
  7. Norm MacDonald on Conan 2011 05 17 on YouTube
  8. Richter on Conan on YouTube (April 13, 2012)
  9. Aisha Tyler (January 23, 2012). "Girl on Guy with Aisha Tyler 31 with Andy Richter". Retrieved February 4, 2012.
  10. 1 2 Sicha, Choire (May 31, 2009). "Andy Richter: 'I got itchy'". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved June 2, 2009.
  11. "Andy Barker, PI canceled",, April 11, 2007
  12. Flynn, Gillian (December 21, 2007). "Andy Barker, P.I.". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved May 11, 2008.
  13. Andy Richter named announcer for NBC's 'The Tonight Show with Conan O'Brien'
  14. "Andy Richter wrapping deal to host new version of 'Pyramid' for CBS", Los Angeles Times, May 27, 2010
  15. "TNT and TBS Announce Extensive Slate of New Projects from Top Talents". The Futon Critic. May 18, 2011. Retrieved May 25, 2011.
  16. "Andy Richter game show ordered by Fox". Digital Spy. Retrieved July 16, 2013.
  17. "Million Dollar Celebrity Invitational, Game 1 (Andy Richter vs. Dana Delany vs. Wolf Blitzer)". Jeopardy!. September 17, 2009. Syndicated.
  18. "Prop 8 - The Musical" starring Jack Black, John C. Reilly, and many more...". Funny or Die. December 2, 2008
  19. "Webby Nominees: 13th Annual Webby Awards Nominees & Winners". The Webby Awards. Retrieved 2013-03-19.
  20. "Shaiman's 'PROP 8-THE MUSICAL' Wins GLAAD Award Honors". Broadway World. 2009-04-21. Retrieved 2009-04-25.
  21. "Clouds give way to stars for softball game", Doug Miller,, July 12, 2009
  22. "Neil Patrick Harris Among Celebs In Million Dollar Jeopardy Semifinals", Entertainment Weekly, April 19, 2010
  23. King, Larry (19 November 2014). "Andy Richter" (Video interview). Larry King Now. Retrieved 6 December 2014.
  24. Williams, Maxwell. "Andy Richter Shares Personal Story of Abortion at Planned Parenthood Fundraiser". The Hollywood Reporter.
  25. Shepherd, Ken. "Comedian Andy Richter 'eternally grateful' for wife's 1992 Planned Parenthood abortion". Washington Times.

External links

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