Michael Paul began his career in local television production at the young age of age 16 at the iconic KYW-TV, followed by a 25-year comedy career touring with such names as James Brown, Lisa Lampanelli, Wynonna, Joan Rivers and Don Rickles. An audience with Queen Elizabeth II, voted Atlantic City Magazine’s “Act of the Year,” becoming a headliner in over 40 countries along with television credits on The Tonight Show, Saturday Night Live, America’s Got Talent & Youtube videos hitting over 13 million.
Michael’s film career includes motion pictures such as “27 Dresses” opposite Katherine Heigl, “The Ten” co-starring with Winona Ryder and Paul Rudd, and “The Ventriloquist” with Kevin Spacey.
Also lending his voice or hands to Pixar, Jim Henson Productions, Cartoon Network, Disney and is well known for creating branded puppet characters including, “Nadia Coma: The World’s Oldest Gymnast” and MTV‘s “CJ and Peanut” as well as training casts of “The Lion King” and “Avenue Q”.
Michael’s published works include comedic editorials for USA Today, Huffington Post, LaughSpin and his all star book “Breaking Out of Show Business: What I Discovered by Not Being Discovered” (by Post Hill Publishing) can be found at numerous book outlets including Amazon and Barnes and Noble.
Behind the scenes, Michael has provided script coverage or directing for Netflix, ABC Digital, The Disney Channel, CBS Comedy Division, Robert DeNiro, Jennifer Hudson, Tiffany Haddish, Jodie Foster, Bill Maher, the Comedy Central Roasts. He teaches at UCLA, NYC, PACE, SAG-AFTRA’s Master Class and the Eugene O’Neil Conference, as well as a leadership coach and content creator for corporate clients that include Thermo Fisher and Forbes.
THE LONG STORY
1986: Michael Paul’s professional career began at age 16 in local television within the 4th largest market of Philadelphia. He landed himself a job at WPHL-TV working on the local, “Dancin’ On Air” and national sister show “Dance Party USA” on the USA Network after convincing high school officials to excuse him from elective courses.
1987: While a part of a studio audience at KYW-TV3, he snuck away giving himself an unauthorized tour of the station, then becoming the youngest production assistant hired at an NBC o/o station. He was assigned to TV Programming with production formats including magazine, talk, late night, telethon, parade & news with now established producers including Ed Glavin (The Ellen DeGeneres Show), Ray Murray (Trading Spaces) and Glen Davish (The View).
1988: Michael & his teen-crew sneak into the Grammy Awards reporting and interviewing from the red carpet and press room.
1989: His contract ended and Michael needed work or he would have to go back to class full time. By day, he got a job in WCAU CBS – News Talk Radio’s PR/Marketing Department, which he landed after being the only applicant to venture out in the biggest blizzard of the season for the interview.
These jobs that began in production, would later open the door to being cast as “talent” including stints as the “Eyewitness Teen Reporter“, and radio host of “A Turn For Teens“. And after a strategic encounter with his childhood hero, Muppet creator Jim Henson, Michael was invited to New York to assist in the workshop and later on Sesame Street after jumping off a Disney studio tour mid-tram ride to meet the puppet patriarch.
1990: He also accepted a night job with Greg Thompson Productions as a local theater stage technician. Over the next several years he toured with the casino revue show producer, mounting shows in every major resort destination around the globe as performance coordinator, road manager, technical director, special appearances coordinator or casting and scouting. It is also where he met and was fostered by Patricia Ziegfeld, daughter of the Follies producer, Florenz and took the family name for the next 20 years of his career.
1992: Michael was drawn to the comedy acts he befriended slowly experimenting in stand-up comedy and eventually going on tour. After three years and eventually headlining name clubs like Caroline’s, The Comedy Stop and The Funny Bone, he was introduced to name ventriloquist, Ronn Lucas who inspired him to revisit his childhood love of puppetry when another club circuit staple, Dan Horn taught him the basics of the ventriloquism technique.
With the over-saturation of stand-up comedians in the 90’s, Michael added ventriloquism into his stage show giving him a marketing edge in bookings. The 20-year comedy career had him sharing the bill with names like James Brown (he was the only white guy in the room), Wynonna Judd (the only Jew in the room), Joan Rivers, Don Rickels, The Mills Brothers, The Beach Boys, Kenny Rogers, Jeff Foxworthy, The Pointer Sisters, Lisa Lampanelli, headlining stage shows in Las Vegas, Atlantic City, Reno, Tahoe, Biloxi, New York, Hollywood, cruise lines, and corporate clients with an act that included stand-up, improv, audience participation, music and his ventriloquist characters, “The International Bird of Prey“, “The World’s Oldest Gymnast” and a talking plate of food.
1994: Michael had an audience with Her Royal Majesty, Queen Elizabeth II after sneaking into the receiving line dressed as security.
1998: He was voted Atlantic City’s “Act of the Year” by Atlantic City Magazine, TV appearances included The Tonight Show with Jay Leno, Comedy Central Mix, The Grammy Awards, The Jerry Lewis Telethon.
1999-2006: Produced his first comedy DVD, “Jewicidal Tendencies” from the famed Stand-Up New York comedy club, and branched out into acting with a voice-over career lending voice to Saturday Night Live’s irreverent, TV Funhouse, Ritz Crackers, The Moodsters, The American Music Awards, Coca-Cola, Mc Donald’s, Crank Yankers and a puppeteering career creating characters for The Jim Henson Company, Pixar, MTV, Disney and Comedy Central.
2007: He co-starred with Winona Ryder & Paul Rudd in David Wain’s The Ten playing duel roles of “Harlan Swallow” and “Gary” a disturbed assistant to a superstar agent (Ron Silver). He also premiered his critically acclaimed, off-Broadway show “Ziegfeld’s Folly: My Rise to the Middle of Show Business” later running in Los Angeles.
2008: Michael played opposite Katherine Heigl in 27 Dresses. After the audition, the character was given a threaded role in the film and renamed “Ziggy”, Michael’s actual nickname.
2012: He wore multiple hats on the indie film, The Ventriloquist as Kevin Spacey’s performance coach, consultant on production, and special effects performer.
Partners with Emmy© nominated choreographer, Brian Thomas and TV production services director, Nick Buzzell ( www.NBTVInc.com ) as the go-to creative team specializing in the creating and branding of television & live productions for clients like David Gest, NBC, Siegfried & Roy, Club Med, Global Industries, Texas Instruments, Health South, The Miss America Association, Mystic Lake Hotel & Casino, Dick Clark Productions, Anheuser-Busch International, Big Brothers, Caesars Palace, Celebrity Cruises, and pilots like “The Pasek & Paul Show” and “College Cooking”.
2013: House show director at the prestigious Beverly Hilton Hotel’s International Ballroom, home of The Golden Globes and over 15 red carpet events a year.
2014: Writing, directing and developing branded television & digital media content, plucked to direct the long-awaited tribute to songstress, Phyllis Hyman live from the Apollo Theater, the magazine/fashion TV show Heel Me, The Legends of Aviation, and the 43rd Academy of Magical Arts Awards. Writing for The Friar’s Roasts, Real Time with Bill Maher, Disney Television Productions, The Late Show, The Huffington Post, USA Today.
2015: Michael authored his first book to great reviews. “Breaking Out of Show Business” by Post Hill Publishing is now in stores and Amazon.com. He joins NBC Universal to develop three unscripted series for the 2016 season including “Making the Move” and “It’s Not ME It’s YOU”.
2016: Consulted, coached, re-worked or re-cast productions for CBS Comedy Development, TNT, Oscar winner, Kevin Spacey, Wayne Brady (Who’s Line), Jai Rodriguez (Queer Eye/Mailbu Country), Bobby Cassell (Spring Awakenings), Jeri Sager (Cats/Sunset Blvd), Branden James (America’s Got Talent) and Deepak Sethi (Family Guy/Dumb & Dumber).
2017: Teaching at UCLA, NYU, PACE, Eugene O’Neil Conference
2018: Appearing in the show “Wondertown”, coverage writing or directing America’s Got Talent stars, The Legacy Awards at the Hollywood Dolby Theater, Robert DeNiro and the cast of The Greatest Showman, Harrison Ford, Morgan Freedman, John Travolta.Writing/co-directing “Hotline” with Alex Griffin (Jim Henson Puppet Dreams).
2019: Appears on America’s Got Talent getting 4 “yeses” and the video hitting the 13 million mark online (between YouTube & Talent Recap). The “Breaking Out” book goes into reprint with new epilogue pages and critic’s reviews. He also creates and performs puppet look-a-like board members to star in informational, comedic video and social media content for the Thermo Fisher Scientific national conference.
2020: In the midst of COVID-19, re-imagines global, live, digital and virtual events and broadcasts to rave reviews for Evite.com family programming, Oaktree Financial, Major League Baseball, Women’s Leadership Network, Forbes Luxury Summit his own LATE NIGHT MAGIC TOUCH with MICHAEL PAUL produced by Ryan Joyce (Penn & Teller’s Fool Us). He joins ACM PROductions, producing critically acclaimed programming including “45 Minutes of Inspiration” starring Billy Crystal, Tiffany Haddish, Ben Platt & more.
2021: Produces, writes and directs The 34th American Cinematheque Awards Honoring Spike Lee, hosted by Jodie Foster. Wins 4 Telly Awards for directing & program content, the Academy of Visual Arts’s Communicator Award for branded editorial experience and directed The Golden Globe Nominations.
2022: Creative on the Warner Media Upfronts, Hell’s Kitchen with Gordon Ramsey and Paramount+ PICARD: Season 2 launch.