Comedian Kyle Dunnigan is the first to admit he’s a lucky guy. And he’s not talking about when he semi-famously dated Sarah Silverman from 2011 to 2013.
For him, timing has been his saving grace — being in the right place at the right time.
“When I look back, so many things could have gone a different way for me where I’d be sitting in an office somewhere now. And they didn’t,” Dunnigan told REVUE. “I know a lot of talented people who didn’t really get a break. So I’ve got to attribute that to luck.”
Dunnigan, 44, started out doing sketch comedy in New York after graduating from college. He soon realized there was no money in improv and decided to try his hand at standup. When he landed a performance on Late Night with Conan O’Brien, offers from agents began to pour in, leading to a move to Los Angeles in 1999.
Since then, he has perhaps become best-known for his character Craig Pullin, who appeared on Comedy Central’s Reno 911!, as well as his own YouTube channel. Clips like “Craig Versus Wild,” a spoof on the Discovery Channel’s Man Versus Wild, have earned him millions of hits and even job offers. However, over the years, Craig has become much more than just a character.
“I mean, not to be weird, but I do sort of think of him as a different person,” Dunnigan said of Craig, who he’s been portraying since childhood. “He’s sort of like my shy, dumb self.”
Har Har Presents: Kyle Dunnigan
Most recently, Dunnigan has worked as a writer on Comedy Central’s Inside Amy Schumer for four seasons. Last year he won his first Emmy Award for co-writing the song “Girl, You Don’t Need Makeup,” a satirical send-up of boy band hits like One Direction’s “What Makes You Beautiful. The Schumer sketch allowed Dunnigan to turn a personal passion into a hilarious hit.
“I’ve always written music, but I’ve never really shared it with anybody,” he said. “It’s one of the more therapeutic things for me. I play the piano almost every day.”
To write the song, Dunnigan admits he downloaded a few boy band jams, but he’s more of a Billy Joel fan himself. In fact, he and Schumer danced onstage during Joel’s performance of “Uptown Girl” at Wrigley Field last summer.
In addition to his award-winning work in the writers’ room — and a brief appearance in last year’s hit movie Trainwreck — Dunnigan goes way back with Schumer. The two comedians first met when she opened for him at Bryn Mawr University years ago. It was yet another chance that could be chalked up as luck.
“The way she remembers it, I blew her off afterward, but I probably had to get up at 6 a.m. to fly across the country,” Dunnigan said. Even so, the two remained friends and when Schumer got the offer to do her own series, she reached out to him.
Always multitasking, Dunnigan said he’s currently working on a project for audible.com with Sarah Silverman. He’s also working on a script for Comedy Central and a sketch-based project called Shit Kids.
“It’s about these kids who are just terrible,” he said. “They’re just terrible and awful to their parents. It was really fun to shoot. I did it with some friends of mine. We didn’t sleep much.”