The American comedian and actor Daniel Mark Pudi was born on 10th March 1979, in Chicago, Illinois. His six-year long role as Abed Nadir in the NBC sitcom “Community” helped elevate his career with Critics’ Choice Television Award and TCA Award nominations; since 2020, he has also had a starring role as Brad Bakshi in the comedy series “Mythic Quest”.
Danny’s mother, Teresa Komendant, is a programmer and analyst. His father, Abraham, passed away in 2018 at 63 years old. Teresa and Abraham became naturalized citizens after immigrating to the U.S from Poland and India respectively. Danny grew up speaking Polish, having been taught the language by his mother and grandmother.
Despite the Pudi siblings – Danny, Adam, and Katherine – growing up on Chicago’s South Side, they attended Notre Dame College Prep, which is in the northern suburbs. After studying dance, he furthered his education at Wisconsin’s Marquette University and graduated with a degree in communication and theatre. The “Mythic Quest” star was the first winner of the Chris Farley Scholarship at Marquette; not only did the scholarship pay for a year of schooling, but it also led to him performing at an improv comedy event featuring Dave Chappelle and Jim Breuer, which heightened Danny’s interest in studying improv.
After graduating from Marquette, Danny performed in theatre in Wisconsin, studied at The Second City in Chicago, and joined the Asian-American comedy sketch ensemble “Stir Friday Night!”.
Prior to moving to Los Angeles in 2005 to pursue an acting career, Danny worked as a recruiter for an executive search firm. His remote job allowed him to attend auditions and avoid, in his words, “waiting tables, temping, and so on”.
Before joining the cast of “Community”, Danny guest-starred in “ER” and “The West Wing”, and had minor roles in episodes of “The Gilmore Girls” and “Greek”. His “Community” character, Abed Nadir, was an eccentric Polish-Palestinian film student with autism, who struggled to interact with others. However, the rest of the characters learned from his insights, as he was often described as the wisest member of the group.
“Community” was created by Dan Harmon and ran for six seasons on NBC and Yahoo! Screen. Set in a community college in the fictional town of Greendale, the cast included Donald Glover, Chevy Chase, Joel McHale, and other talented actors. The series regularly employed pop culture references and meta-humor, ironically including TV clichés and tropes when needed.
Despite struggling ratings, the series was critically-acclaimed for its writing, direction, acting and humor, and developed a cult following. Amongst its many accolades are the 2012 Critics’ Choice Television Award for Best Comedy Series, and a Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Writing for a Comedy Series.
Apart from his work in “Community”, Danny has done numerous TV commercials for T-Mobile, Snickers, McDonalds, and other globally recognized brands. In 2012, he and his co-star Yvette Nicole Brown were celebrity contestants in “The Pyramid”. The actor has also excelled in voiceover work – Huey Duck in “Duck Tales” from 2017 to 2021, and Tiny in “Harvey Street Kids” from 2018 to 2020.
In 2020, Danny began directing and starring in the Apple TV+ comedy series “Mythic Quest”. The series was created by Megan Ganz, Charlei Day, and Rob McElhenney and follows the workers at a fictional videogame studio that produces popular MMORPGs. Danny’s character, Brad Bakshi, is the head of monetization at the studio and often butts heads with the creative director Ian Grimm (played by Rob McElhenney).
In the same year, the Chicago native began voicing Sanjeev Joshi in the children’s series “Mira, Royal Detective”, a role that lasted two years. Danny currently voices Bumblebee in “Transformers: EarthSpark”, The Mechanic in “Avatar: The Last Airbender”, and Dr. Neelankavil in “Clone High”.
Film and Stage Career
Although TV roles and voiceover work are Danny’s strong points, he has also had a respectable film career, with his breakthrough performance as Arash in the 2009 comedy “Road Trip: Beer Pong”. The comedian wrote and starred in the shorts “Blowout Sale” and “Where the Magic Happens”, in 2010 and 2011 respectively, then later had a starring role in the comedy horror film “Knights of Badassdom”.
In autumn 2014, Danny appeared in the off-Broadway musical “FOUND”. Two years later, he starred in the Lena Khan independent film “The Tiger Hunter”, which was funded via Kickstarter. In 2018, he directed the short film “Lost Wallet”, followed by minor roles in “The Argument” and “Flora & Ulysses”.
2022 saw Danny reunite with his “Community” co-star Alison Brie in the romcom “Somebody I Used to Know”. Since 2020, the actor has also been part of a work in progress entitled “Running” which he created in collaboration with En Garde Arts for its Uncommon Voices series, in which Danny explores the tormented relationship with his father, facing racism throughout his career and personal life, and the nuances of his cultural background. The short movie was selected for the 2023 New York Indian Film Festival, which has been described as a “must-watch event for anyone interested in Indian cinema and its growing impact on global cinema”.
In his free time, Danny is a skilled runner who has completed several marathons. While studying at Marquette, he met his future wife, Bridget Showalter, with whom he shares a twin son and daughter born in January 2012 after eight years of marriage. Bridget prefers to remain out of the limelight, and has no public social media profiles, but is wholly supportive of her husband’s creative endeavors and can often be seen with him at premieres and award ceremonies.
Since 2014, Danny and his family have been living in Pasadena, California. The producer is reportedly worth $3 million thanks to his decades-long TV and film career. As of 2023, Danny qualified for the Boston marathon after running the Mountains 2 Beach marathon event, and made an appearance in “Carpool Karaoke”, in which he discussed his career, personal life, and more.