William Brian Franken
Will Franken (www.willfranken.com -- you don't need to click that, that's where you are now) was brought up to believe that a person needed only two things to get by in life: A human form and the means by which to operate that human form; i.e., life itself. By the time he was born, he already had those two things he needed to get by in life. A body and a life. "You've got to have life to get by in life", so says the song. Is that a song? Okay, I'm done with this paragraph.
A brilliant and hilarious youngster with a penchant for psychedelic drugs, Franken (me) fled his native Sedalia, Missouri, after receiving a Masters in Literature (with a focus on Restoration and 18th Century British) to seek his (my) fame and fortune in New York City. Instead, he found bagels and the Mets. The Mets had fame and fortune already; but that wasn't enough for Franken, who wanted his own.
Franken's Big Apple existence was marked by highs and lows, from nailing a lucrative gig as the mascot of online library Questia, (look up "Question Marquis" on YouTube) to teaching social studies and English at a middle school in Harlem. He was a fixture in New York’s Greenwich Village’s alternative theatre scene and spent his last years in that metropolis doing voiceover and on-camera work for such products as Heineken, Sprint, and Volkswagen.
Franken came to San Francisco from New York by way of North Carolina -- continuously running from himself in the middle of the night, lest he be run over. He was embraced by the San Francisco people of San Francisco as one of their own San Francisco people of San Francisco. This paid off immensely as he quickly built a solid reputation as one of San Francisco's most original comedic acts. San Francisco.
San Francisco. He established himself as a cult figure and, instead of making his fans and followers kill themselves, he elected to let them live and was consequently selected “Best Comedian” by SF Weekly and “Best Alternative to Psychedelic Drugs” by the San Francisco Bay Guardian. Tribe.net named him one of the Top 25 People to Watch Nationwide. His solo show Good Luck With It debuted at the New York International Fringe Festival to rave reviews by such local, small-town newspapers as the New York Times, and ran at San Francisco’s Marsh Theater, alongside other one-man opuses such as Grandpa! It's Not Fitting!, which subsequently had runs in Los Angeles and New York at the Upright Citizen's Brigade Theatre. He's a prolific writer, always preferring to switch things up every chance he gets -- approaching comedy from a theatrical point of view instead of the tired, old. . .form. . .uh. . .
. . .what else?
Oh yeah, in 2007, Franken made his television debut on BBC America's "The World Stands Up". A devout Anglophile, it was a dream come true for the 33-year old child prodigy. He went to Abbey Road and the Churchill Museum and. . .what else? Oh yeah, he taped a television show for BBC America.
Then his wife left him.
In late 2007, Franken’s east coast fan base was thrilled to learn that he had re-relocated to New York City. After consecutive sold-out one-man shows at the Upright Citizens Brigade Theatre, Franken continued to wow audiences and increase his legion of fans. Franken has appeared at HBO's Comedy Festival in Las Vegas as well as Just For Laughs in Montreal. Last summer, Scott and Kevin from "The Kids In The Hall" were in the front row for one of his performances and they really dug it. It was another dream come true for the 37-year old child prodigy who began life with only a body and a means by which to operate that body. He lives in San Francisco now being that it's a sanctuary city and he fears deportation to Missouri.
In his downtime, Franken produces episodes of his critically-acclaimed podcast series (more like comedy albums, really), "Things We Did Before Reality."
Speaking of which, this August, Franken (Will Franken) has been invited by Fringe Management, Paul Provenza and Barbara Romen to make his debut at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival with Things We Did Before Reality, a live culmination of some of the best material from his years in the States and some newer, psychedelically innovative pieces constructed with a UK audience in mind.
Currently, Franken is finishing the bio for this website.