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Dino Stamatopoulos

Dino Stamatopoulos

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Even though Philly native Paul F.

Tompkins has been doing comedy for 23 years, he's remained under the radar.

Sure, he's appeared on Mr.

Show and Tenacious D and enjoyed a few bit-time movie roles, but his following, while loyal, has always been on the small side.

This just might be the year that he earns mainstream success: The snappy dresser (he wears suits to every show) became the talking head on Best Week Ever when it was rebooted late last year as Best Week Ever With Paul F.

Tompkins, and his stand-up show tonight at Cobb's is a perfect opportunity to finally hop on the affably pompous Tompkins bandwagon.

Here's a few tidbits on his career to jump-start the process.Best Week Ever This wasn't the first gig Tompkins ever had, but it increased his exposure exponentially; shortly after joining this weekly pop-culture skewer as a panelist, he started doing "Paul F.

Tompkins: Celebrity Defender" segments, where he rushed to put in a good word for famous people on trial.

His popularity among viewers—and surely plenty of jokes about Britney Spears' cooch—landed him the coveted host slot of the new BWE, which is a lot more like The Soup than before.

Tompkins cracks the majority of the wise, and former panelists contribute special reports, including new iterations of "The Sizzler." In short, it seems like the perfect vehicle for Tompkins' outsider, oddball sensibilities—and he's doing a hell of a job.

Stand-up Tompkins' first comedy CD, Impersonal, was a collection of his favorite bits from early in his career.

It's sort of an odd decision: This was 2007, and Tompkins was just starting to hone his newest fanbase—this move seems more fitting for a comic with countless releases.

But the album is as personal a piece as he could present, a snapshot of the kind of material he loves to do.

There are extended riffs on peanut brittle, a "ghost stromboli," a store he found called Elegant Balloons, and other left-field observationalist rants.

His modern material is along the same vein, though he now must occasionally acknowledge the legions of fans who show up wanting a takedown of Paris Hilton—but Tompkins does what he can to draw the line.

Writer-performer on Mr.

Show The short-lived HBO sketch series Mr.

Show was a rare aligning of the stars in the mid-'90s.

Sure, it boasted an incredible writing staff with the likes of writer-performers Dino Stamatopoulos (Late Night With Conan O'Brien, Moral Orel, TV Funhouse), Tom Kenny (a.k.a.

SpongeBob SquarePants), Tompkins, and show creators Bob Odenkirk and David Cross, but none of them were exactly known quantities at the time—there's a reason the show was so low-budget, after all.

But the drab scenery just gave the cast all the more room to shine.

Bob and David were the stars, but Tompkins was arguably one of the best supporting players on staff.

He easily exudes the sort of silly theatricality showcased on Impersonal's "Elegant Balloons," but also effortlessly matches Bob and David's disarming sincerity.

Here he is carrying a scene before a sudden life-altering epiphany while hooked up to a lie-detector machine: Go-to talking head for Countdown With Keith Olbermann When not counting down the worst people in the world or spitting vitriol at Bill O'Reilly in an urgently melodramatic "special comment," MSNBC political commentator/news anchor Keith Olbermann has turned to Tompkins for gloves-off commentary.

Or did until last year, anyway, before Tompkins apparently got too busy with his VH1 gig.

Always clad in his ubiquitously classy suit, Tompkins could always be counted on to affably and incisively dig at topics ranging from Twitter to the former President Bush's dancing: Industry work Every once in a while, Tompkins ventures over to ol' Tinsel Town for some legit, non-sketch comedy acting work—he's appeared in episodes of Weeds, Frasier, and Pushing Daisies, and voiced a character on a 2005 episode of King Of The Hill.

In addition, after meeting Paul Thomas Anderson on the set of Magnolia—he had a tiny part—he secured a few lines in the behemoth production of There Will Be Blood.

(Take a look at that early scene, where Daniel Plainview sits at the head of a table, spelling out his vision for the proposed drilling; up in the corner, there's Tompkins.) He wears a special insert to eliminate his gap-tooth while on these sets, and, at least according to this video, later sings duets with the artists who played on the flims' soundtracks:,28228/
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