Zach Woods Biography - Biography

Zach Woods Biography

Actor, Comedian (1984–)
Zach Woods is an American comedian and actor best known for his character Jared Dunn on HBO's 'Silicon Valley.'

Who Is Zach Woods?

Born in 1984 in Trenton, New Jersey, Zach Woods began his career in comedic improv before finding his way into television and film as an actor. His big break came when he was cast in The Office (from 2010 to 2013) as Gabe Lewis. He also appeared on HBO's Veep and USA Network's Playing House. However, his biggest role to date is playing emotionally naive Jared Dunn on HBO's Silicon Valley, starting in 2014.

Zach Woods Photo

Zach Woods visits at SiriusXM Studios on September 21, 2017 in New York City.

Movies and TV Shows

As a teen, Woods was part of an improv comedy troupe and also performed and later taught at the Upright Citizens Brigade in New York City. He also taught improv at Duke University and Columbia University before appearing in comedies like In the Loop (2009) and the Will Ferrell-led The Other Guys (2010). 

'The Office'

After appearing in a Starburst commercial and starring in some digital shorts on YouTube, Woods got his big break when he was cast as the highly insecure and easily mockable Gabe Lewis on NBC's The Office, starting in 2010 and lasting through the series' end in 2013. 

Soon after, he nabbed a recurring role on HBO's Veep as Ed Webster and on USA Network's Playing House as Zach Harper. He's also appeared on Arrested Development and The Good Wife, the latter of which he appreciated since it gave him an opportunity to explore dramatic fare.

'Silicon Valley'

Starting in 2014, Woods earned his biggest role to date when he began playing Jared Dunn, a former Hooli tech executive who eventually becomes the loyal and idealistic COO of the struggling start-up Pied Piper. 

“I don’t know anything about tech, but I do know something about slightly socially crippled and overly cerebral guys,” Woods told Interview magazine back in 2015. 

Critics have praised Woods' Jared Dunn as one of the most endearing fictional characters on television. Woods reinforced those sentiments by describing Jared "as one of those self-sacrificing mothers who wants to make sure that everyone has the best Christmas, but then doesn’t get any gifts and does all the holiday cooking. But if everyone else is smiling, then it’s worth it for her."

“Zach is probably, for better or for worse for him, closer to his character in real life than any of the other guys,” Silicon Valley executive producer Alec Berg told Vanity Fair“He has a real sweetness to him and, in a good way, a kind of naïveté. I think that started to really come out in what we were writing.”

The hit series also boasts an A-list cast of Thomas Middleditch, Kumail Nanjiani and Martin Starr. 

Outside of Silicon Valley, Woods has also appeared in some big-budget Hollywood films such as Spy (2015), Ghostbusters (2016), The Post (2017) and has done voiceover work for The Lego Ninjago Movie (2017) and upcoming The Angry Birds Movie 2.

So what are some other projects Woods is looking forward to?

"If I get sent stuff now and it's an assistant, someone's right-hand man, or any sort of a low-status deferential type, I try to avoid that now," he told GQ in 2018. "I love playing Jared, but I don't feel like that's the totality of what I'm capable of. I would like to play romantic parts. Like, sexual gods. Corn-fed Midwestern American sex symbols."

Early Life

Woods was born on September 25, 1984 in Trenton, New Jersey and raised in Yardley, Pennsylvania. He was the middle child of parents who were both in the medical profession. 

After graduating from high school, Woods went on to New York University, where he also worked part-time as an improv teacher.

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