Background information on the stars of Players.
Matt Walsh returns to television as the creator, executive producer and star of a new half-hour comedy series “Players,” premiering March 2, 2010 on Spike TV. Walsh reunites with long time comedy partner Ian Roberts in the series, playing two brothers with opposite personalities who run a sports bar together. Walsh also appears in Fox Searchlight film “Cyrus” opposite Marisa Tomei, Jonah Hill and John C. Reilly, which premiered at the 2010 Sundance Film Festival. Walsh also had a role in the Warner Brothers feature film comedy “The Hangover” with Bradley Cooper, Heather Graham and Ed Helms.
Along with Roberts, Amy Poehler and Matt Besser, Walsh is a founding member of The Upright Citizens Brigade improv comedy troupe in Chicago. Founded in 1990, The Upright Citizens Brigade is an award-winning performing group and remains a training ground for up and coming, cutting-edge comedians. Walsh has instructed accomplished comedians such as Ed Helms, Rob Corddry and Rob Riggle. Walsh played the role of Trotter in the troupe’s eponymous sketch comedy series, which ran for three seasons on Comedy Central. The first two seasons were released on DVD, and, in 2008, the UCB released ASSSSCAT!, an all-new improv DVD that breaks down each sketch for a better understanding of the UCB method. ASSSSCAT! features guests Will Arnett, Ed Helms, Kate Walsh, Horatio Sanz and Andrew Daly. After the success of their television series, the UCB comedy foursome went on to found two highly successful Upright Citizens Brigade comedy theaters located in New York and Los Angeles.
Previously, Walsh produced and starred in the 2006 Comedy Central mockumentary series “Dog Bites Man.” He was a correspondent on “The Daily Show” and made regular appearances in comedy sketches on “Late Night with Conan O’Brien” and MTV’s “Human Giant.”
Walsh has also made memorable scene-stealing appearances in many popular comedy films over the last several years including “I Love You Man,” “Role Models,” “Step Brothers,” “Semi Pro” and “Old School.” Walsh wrote and starred in the cult indie-comedy “Martin & Orloff” and consulted on this summer’s comedy “Bruno” starring Sacha Baron Cohen.
Walsh currently resides in Los Angeles with his wife and child.
A native of Secaucus, NJ, Ian Roberts graduated from Grinnell College in Iowa in 1987, where he was an ardent student of improv comedy. After graduating, Roberts was one of the founding members of the sketch comedy troupe The Upright Citizens Brigade and its affiliated Upright Citizens Brigade Theatre.
He has appeared in such television shows as “Reno 911!,” “Parks & Recreation” and “Arrested Development,” as well as a dozen feature films, including “I Love You, Man” and “Step Brothers.”
Roberts lives in Los Angeles with his wife Katie and their two children.
One of the comedy world’s most impressive new talents, June Diane Raphael, is translating her successful sketch and improv comedy background to the big screen.
Raphael most recently starred in the Harold Ramis comedy “Year One,” opposite Jack Black and Michael Cera. She also co-wrote and co-starred in the hit comedy “Bride Wars” opposite Kate Hudson and Anne Hathaway. The comedy has grossed over $100 million at the box office.
Her next movie role has her starring in the Ryan Piers Williams’ drama “The Dry Land” opposite Emmy®-winner America Ferrera and Oscar®-nominated actress Melissa Leo. The film centers on a U.S. soldier returning home from war who is struggling to reconcile his experiences abroad with the life and family he left in Texas.
Raphael will star in Spike TV’s new comedy “Players,” which is a “Cheers” meets “It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia” series set in a sports bar from The Upright Citizens Brigade co-founders Matt Walsh and Ian Roberts. She recently appeared on ABC’s “In The Motherhood,” with Emmy® winner Megan Mullally and Emmy nominee Cheryl Hines. “In The Motherhood” premiered in March 2009 on ABC’s Thursday night lineup and is inspired by the outrageous real life experiences of actual moms.
Raphael broke onto the comedy scene with the lauded two-woman sketch comedy show, “Rode Hard and Put Away Wet” alongside “Saturday Night Live’s” Casey Wilson. Raphael and Wilson performed it at the Upright Citizen’s Brigade Theatre in New York. “Rode Hard” was also chosen as an official selection of the 2005 HBO Comedy Arts Festival in Aspen, CO. Together, the pair was named Best Comedic Duo at the 2005 Emerging Comics of NY (ECNY) Awards.
She continues to perform at the The Upright Citizens Brigade Theatre in Los Angeles. She has cemented her place in comedy by working along with Jemaine Clement and Bret McKenzie on HBO’s “Flight Of The Conchords,” the wildly successful folk music comedy, as well as MTV’s “Human Giant.”
A skilled dramatic actress, Raphael has worked with Oscar-nominated director, David Fincher, on the thriller “Zodiac” with Oscar nominees Jake Gyllenhaal and Robert Downey, Jr. She previously worked with producer Judd Apatow on the comedy “Forgetting Sarah Marshall.”
Raised in Long Island, NY, Raphael graduated from New York University and is truly making a name for herself with her authentic and innovative comedic style.
Born and raised in the south Bronx, veteran character actor Jack McGee is the youngest of eight children. Admittedly, this may have been his impetus to strive to get noticed, and successfully so, as he was the president of his senior class and a star football player. Shortly thereafter he realized he had a knack for performing, and joined the 1960s rock band “The Young Rascals.” Eventually transitioning into acting, he was able to make ends meet by becoming a New York City firefighter in the late 1970s. Appropriately, he got his first big role in the 1985 firefighter film, “Turk 182,” and then moved to Hollywood where he went on to appear in a series of feature films, television movies and TV series. Jack’s most notable role has been as Chief Jerry Reilly on FX’s edgy firefighter drama, “Rescue Me.” Most recently he has guest-starred on such TV shows as “CSI: Miami,” “Criminal Minds,” “Brotherhood,” “CSI: NY,” “The Cleaner,” “Monk” and “Castle.” Additionally, Jack appeared in the Tom Twyker action thriller “The International” along with Clive Owen and Naomi Watts.
Later this year, McGee can be seen in the Spike TV series “Players,” as well as “The Fighter,” opposite Mark Wahlberg, Christian Bale, Amy Adams and Melissa Leo. He will also appear in the comedies “Father of Invention,” starring Kevin Spacey and Garry Marshall’s “Valentine’s Day.”
A native of Louisville, KY, James Pumphrey is a comedic writer/performer based in Los Angeles and a member of The Upright Citizen’s Brigade Theater.
Pumphrey was the official interviewer for the companion website to Fox’s cultural phenomenon “American Idol,” americanidol.com, which generates 2.6 million unique uses per month. As a member of the UCB Theater, he made a big splash as one half of the sketch duo “Two Dudes Kissing” and now performs a new sketch show monthly with “The Midnight Show” where he is a writer and performer. FunnyOrDie.com has commissioned him to do a number of shorts for their site, and he also created the web series “House Arrest: Palm Springs 92292” for HBO’s Runaway Box site.
A New York native and graduate of New York University’s prestigious Tisch School of the Arts, Schneider performed and taught at The Upright Citizens Brigade Theatre in New York City before moving to Los Angeles with her husband, fellow comedian Matt Besser.
Schneider was a panelist on VH1’s “Best Week Ever” and has appeared on FOX’s “My Big Fat Obnoxious Boss,” Nickelodeon’s “Glenn Martin DDS” and UPN’s “Love, Inc.”Her feature film credits include “Step Brothers” with Will Ferrell and John C. Reilly and “Spring Breakdown” with Amy Poehler and Parker Posey.