Michael McDonald Biography

Actor, Comedian (1964–)
Comedian, actor, writer, director and producer Michael McDonald has done it all but is best known for his tenure on MADtv.


Michael McDonald was born on December 31, 1964, in Fullerton, California. The comedian began his career as a member of famed L.A. comedy group The Groundlings. He broke out with his role on the comedy television show MADtv. His work spans from acting and directing to writing and producing. McDonald has earned credits on Scrubs, Seinfeld, Cougar Town and 2 Broke Girls, to name a few.

Early Life

Michael McDonald was born on December 31, 1964, in Fullerton, Orange County, California. He learned a work ethic from a young age when he earned a job as a paperboy. McDonald went on to attend the University of Southern California and graduated with a degree in business. He accepted a job as a loan officer at a bank in Los Angeles. However, his career as a banker was cut short when a friend took him to see a show at L.A.'s renowned Groundling Theater. The show changed McDonald's life. He soon after quit his job as a banker and enrolled in the Groundlings' improv program. He went on to be a troupe member from 1992 through 1997.

The aspiring comedian earned his first paid writing and acting job for the independent production company Concorde Pictures. McDonald was interested in all facets of entertainment and ambitiously pursued acting, directing, writing and stand-up comedy. By the late 1990s McDonald began to land high-profile guest spots on television shows such as Seinfeld, Ellen, Just Shoot Me and News Radio.

Commercial Success

McDonald's career skyrocketed in 1998 when he joined the late-night sketch-comedy show MADtv. MADtv ran from 1995 through 2009 on the Fox network. McDonald became the face of the show and created the program's most memorable characters, including a boy named Stuart. He was also the only cast member to earn tenure in his tenth season at the show. In 2007 he left the program to pursue other acting opportunities and to work on his stand-up comedy. McDonald's hard work on the stand-up circuit led to his first comedy special, Michael McDonald: Model Citizen, which premiered on Showtime in the fall of 2010.

Along with stand-up comedy, McDonald has continued to work as an actor, landing guest roles on many television shows, including Scrubs, Desperate Housewives, Pushing Daisies, House of Lies and Web Therapy with Lisa Kudrow. He has also appeared in a handful of films, including Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery and 2013's The Heat alongside Melissa McCarthy and Sandra Bullock.

McDonald looked to expand his skills further by moving behind the camera. He began work as a producer, director and writer on the Courteney Cox sitcom Cougar Town. Along with his work on Cougar Town, McDonald has also directed episodes of Scrubs, 7th Heaven and 2 Broke Girls.

McDonald identifies his mentors as Kathy Griffin, a good friend whose show he has appeared on numerous times, and Bill Lawrence, the creator of Cougar Town.

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