Actor, scriptwriter and improvisational comic Jason Mantzoukas has played Rafi on the FX show The League and co-starred with Sacha Baron Cohen in The Dictator.
Jason Mantzoukas was born circa December 18, 1972, in Nahant, Massachusetts. While a player with The Upright Citizens Brigade, he established himself on the New York comedy scene. He has since earned a recurring role as Rafi on the FX comedy The League. More recently, he has taken a recurring role on HBO's Enlightened. In 2012, he starred opposite Sacha Baron Cohen in The Dictator.
Of Greek descent, Jason Mantzoukas was born circa December 18, 1972, in Nahant, Massachusetts, where he was also raised. After attending Middlebury College in Vermont, Mantzoukas decided to pursue training as a comedic actor at the Upright Citizens Brigade Improvisational and Sketch Comedy Training Center in Los Angeles, California. The Upright Citizens Brigade enabled Mantzoukas to both practice performing at a successful venue and learn from the school's successful graduates. Alumni of the center's Los Angeles and New York training centers include actors and writers for Parks and Recreation, Saturday Night Live, 30 Rock and The Colbert Report, among several other popular series and films.
As a player with the Upright Citizens Brigade, Mantzoukas established himself on the New York City comedy scene. Teaming up with former college classmate and fellow troupe member Jessica St. Clair, Mantzoukas co-wrote and played half of a bickering couple in the 2002 stage show I Will Not Apologize. In 2006, the duo reprised their roles after writing a sequel, We Used to Go Out. When asked whether he and St. Clair were ever romantically involved, Mantzoukas told Variety magazine, "We always toy with coming up with some awesome lie, like we dated, broke up and are now adopting Chinese children together."
Mantzoukas's stage work also includes collaborations with Ed Herbstman, founder of the Magnet Theater, an improvisational theater and training center in New York City. Mantzoukas's and Herbstman's comedy team, dubbed the Mantzoukas Brothers, was named 2006's "Best Improv Duo" by Time Out New York.
TV and Film Work
Concurrent with his career as a stage writer and performer, Mantzoukas has found success writing for and acting in film and television. In 2008, Mantzoukas landed a small role in the outrageous comedy Baby Mama, starring Tina Fey and Amy Poehler. The following year, his first television script was produced as an NBC pilot for the half-hour sitcom Off Duty.
Mantzoukas went on to gain audiences' attention with a stand-out recurring role as Rafi on the FX comedy The League. Mantzoukas's relationship with FX soon led to another opportunity: selling the network his script for a workplace sitcom. Around the same time, he managed to sell his action-comedy I've Got Your Girlfriend to 20th Century Fox.
Most recently, Mantzoukas took on a role on the quirky HBO comedy series Enlightened, starring opposite the show's creator, Laura Dern, and has made recurring appearances on Parks and Recreation. In 2012, Mantzoukas gained significant exposure for starring opposite Sacha Baron Cohen in the outlandish comedy The Dictator. The role called on the actor to use both his comedic timing and unique talent for improvisation.