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Orville Willis "Will" Forte IV (born June 17, 1970) is an American actor, comedian, impressionist, writer, and producer. He is best known for his work in television as a cast member on Saturday Night Live and as the creator and star of the sitcom The Last Man on Earth. After obtaining a history degree at the University of California, Los Angeles and becoming a financial broker, Forte changed his career path to comedy and began taking classes with the improvisational comedy group the Groundlings in Los Angeles.

He soon found he favored writing best, and he worked as a writer and producer on That '70s Show before he auditioned for Saturday Night Live (SNL). He joined in 2002, spending eight years as a cast member on the show. He was well known for his more offbeat sketches. His most famous role on the show led to a feature film adaption, MacGruber (2010), that preceded his departure from the program. Forte took various roles in comedy films before his turn to drama in the film Nebraska (2013), which attracted critical acclaim. Forte created, writes, and stars in his own television sitcom, The Last Man on Earth, which premiered on Fox in 2015; he was nominated for two Primetime Emmy Awards, for acting and writing for the series.

Early Life

Orville Willis Forte IV was born in Alameda County, California, to Patricia C. (née Stivers), an artist and former schoolteacher, and Orville Willis Forte III, a financial broker. He was raised in Moraga, California, before moving to Lafayette, California. He went by Billy in his early years until he was teased at school for it also being a girl's name, at which point he decided he would from there on be known as Will.

Forte has described himself as a "really happy kid," whose parents were "wonderful" and created a "very loving environment." He was interested in comedy from a young age, growing up idolizing comedians Peter Sellers, David Letterman, Steve Martin, and the sketch-comedy television series Saturday Night Live. He often pranked his parents, and would record himself performing imaginary radio shows. He did aim to be a comedian, however, and he initially wanted to become a football player.

Forte was a "a laid-back teen with a lot of friends," and a member of the varsity football and swim teams at Acalanes High School, from which he graduated in 1988. He was voted "Best Personality" by his graduating class, and served as class president. He had no ambitions for a television or film career, though his mother noticed a "creative streak" in him. Following high school, he attended the University of California, Los Angeles. He was a member of the Lambda Chi Alpha fraternity and completed a degree in history. Planning to follow his father, he became a financial broker at Smith Barney Shearson in Beverly Hills, but felt "miserable" during his time there.[3] He started writing while he was at Shearson, and he co-wrote a feature-length script. On the subject of writing, Forte remarked, "I discovered that I loved it more than anything I had ever done in my life." He had been encouraged to attempt comedy during his years at university, and he decided to change his career to become a writer-performer.

Career

Early career (1997–2001)

Forte was a performer with the Groundlings, where he was discovered for SNL

He began taking classes at the Groundlings in Los Angeles, an improvisational and sketch comedy troupe and school, while tutoring children to make ends meet. Forte's first successful foray into comedy was 101 Things to Definitely Not Do If You Want to Get a Chick, a comic book he produced that details incompetent men. The comics landed him his first professional job writing for The Jenny McCarthy Show, a short-lived variety show starring Jenny McCarthy. Shortly thereafter, he was asked to submit a packet to the Late Show with David Letterman and was told Letterman responded favorably to the cartoons. After only nine months at Letterman, he was "let go" from the job. He has recalled his stint on the program as unpleasant, noting that he did not have enough experience in writing. "What an honor to work at that show but I don't think I was fully mentally prepared. [...] I always wonder what it would be like if I’d had a couple more years of experience before going there."

He returned to Los Angeles, where he began performing with the Groundlings' Main Company, alongside comedians such as Maya Rudolph, Cheryl Hines, and Jim Rash. He tried stand-up comedy three times, mostly at open mic nights, but quit when he was voted into the Main Company. He joined the writing teams of two unsuccessful sitcoms, including The Army Show and Action. Eventually, Forte got jobs writing for 3rd Rock from the Sun and That '70s Show, two successful programs. He loved writing but had mostly given up on acting, aside from his performances with the Groundlings. While performing with the troupe in 2001, he was spotted by Lorne Michaels, the creator of Saturday Night Live (SNL). Forte felt his confidence was higher than usual, as That '70s Show had been picked up for two more years. He was invited to audition for SNL, which he regarded as unexpected.

At his audition for SNL, he performed multiple original characters, including Tim Calhoun, a speed reader, a prison guard, in addition to impressions of singer Michael McDonald and actor Martin Sheen. His final character was an older piece from his days with the Groundlings, in which he portrays a gold-painted street performer who performs fellatio to pay for his face paint, which devolves into a song needlessly uttering the words "cock" and "face paint" dozens of times. He felt his time to shine as a performer was already over, as he was in his thirties when he auditioned. To his surprise, he was offered a chance to be on the show, but declined, opting instead for the financial stability of his work at That '70s Show. He felt working for SNL could not live up to the idealized version he had dreamed of, but he later realized he would be making a mistake.

Filmography

Film

Year Title Role Notes
2004 Around the World in 80 Days Young Bobby
2006 Beerfest Otto
2007 The Brothers Solomon Dean Solomon Also writer
2008 Baby Mama Scott
2008 Extreme Movie Writer
2009 The Slammin' Salmon Horace the Lone Diner Cameo
2009 Brief Interviews with Hideous Men Subject #72
2009 Fanboys THX Security Guard #4
2009 Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs Joe Towne Voice
2010 MacGruber MacGruber Also writer
2011 A Good Old Fashioned Orgy Glenn
2012 Tim and Eric's Billion Dollar Movie Allen Bishopman
2012 Rock of Ages Mitch Miley
2012 That's My Boy Phil
2012 The Watch Sergeant Bressman
2013 Grown Ups 2 Male Cheerleader Uncredited
2013 Run & Jump Ted
2013 Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2 Chester V Voice
2013 Life of Crime Marshall Taylor
2013 Nebraska David Grant
2014 The Lego Movie Abraham Lincoln Voice
2014 She's Funny That Way Joshua Fleet
2015 Don Verdean Pastor Fontaine
2015 Staten Island Summer Griffith
2015 The Ridiculous 6 Will Patch
2016 Keanu

Television

Year Title Role Notes
1997 The Jenny McCarthy Show Writer
1997–2001 Late Show with David Letterman Snow Shovel Murder Victim Uncredited; Episode: "Robert Pastorelli/Craig Kilborn/Live"; also writer
1998 The Army Show Writer
1999–2000 Action Writer
1999–2001 3rd Rock from the Sun Writer
2000 God, the Devil, and Bob Writer
2001–2003 That '70s Show Writer and producer
2002–2003 Clone High Abe Lincoln (voice) 13 episodes
2002–2010 Saturday Night Live Various 157 episodes; also writer
2006 Campus Ladies Stuart 2 episodes
2006 Aqua Teen Hunger Force Alien (voice) Episode: "Antenna"
2007 Flight of the Conchords Ben Episode: "The Actor"
2007 Tim and Eric Nite Live! Emanuel Melly Episode #1.5
2007–2010 Tim and Eric Awesome Show, Great Job! Will Grello / Pall Willeaux / J.J. Pepper / Dr. Reid Tamaranda 6 episodes
2007–2012 30 Rock Thomas / Paul L'astname 13 episodes
2008–2010 How I Met Your Mother Randy Wharmpess 2 episodes
2008 Young Person's Guide to History Comte de Buffon (Frenchman) Episode #1.1
2009 Sit Down, Shut Up Stuart Proszakian (voice) 13 episodes
2009–2013 The Cleveland Show Principal Wally Farquhare / Various voices 22 episodes
2009–2015 American Dad! Various voices 6 episodes
2010 The Life and Times of Tim Chipper (voice) Episode: "Unjustly Neglected Drama"
2010 WWE Raw MacGruber 1 episode
2010 Funny or Die Presents Cast (Scott & Behr) / Sleeping Celebrity 2 episodes
2010 Squidbillies Tom Treebow Episode: "Lean Green Touchdown Makifying Machine"
2010–2013 Conan Ted Turner 14 episodes
2011 Parks and Recreation Kelly Larson Episode: "Time Capsule"
2011 Allen Gregory Ian / Stuart Rossmyre / Sid Lampis (voices) 7 episodes
2011, 2015 The League Chuck 2 episodes
2011–2012 Up All Night Reed 3 episodes
2012–2013 Comedy Bang! Bang! Chet Barnsider / Felix Dewhurst 2 episodes
2012–2016 Gravity Falls Tyler the Cute Biker (voice) 12 episodes
2012–present Lab Rats Eddy / Viral Eddy (Teddy) / Cheddy (voices) 20 episodes
2013 Drunk History Edwin Booth Episode: "Washington D.C."
2013 Bob's Burgers Kurt / Mr. Grant (voices) 2 episodes
2013–2014 Kroll Show Various roles 3 episodes
2014–2015 The Awesomes Malocchio Jr. (voice) 10 episodes
2014 The Simpsons King Toot (voice) Episode: "Covercraft"
2015–present The Last Man on Earth Phil Miller Also creator, writer and executive producer
2015–present Moonbeam City Rad Cunningham (voice)

Gallery

Lab Rats 'Gallery'
The image gallery for Will Forte may be viewed here.

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