John Early grew up in Nashville, TN, but came to New York City as a teenager to attend NYU, where he studied acting. John quickly became a mainstay in New York's alt comedy scene, hosting shows at the Cake Shop, the Bell House, and Ars Nova.
John has appeared on numerous television shows, including 30 Rock, Broad City, Difficult People, High Maintenance, and Wet Hot American Summer: First Day of Camp and in the films Other People, Beatriz at Dinner, and Fort Tilden. In 2016, he wrote, produced, and starred in his own episode of the Netflix sketch series The Characters. Also in 2016, he began starring as Elliott on the TV series Search Party--the third season recently premiered on HBO Max. He and frequent collaborator Kate Berlant released their web series 555 on Vimeo in 2017.
Recorded remotely during the coronavirus pandemic, NPR's Ask Me Another host Ophira Eisenberg and house musician Jonathan Coulton talk to John Early about playing narcissistic characters, having parents who are ministers, and officiating Amy Schumer's wedding.
Then, he takes on an Ask Me Another challenge that combines 1970s television's most famous grids: The Brady Bunch and Hollywood Squares.
On Playing Narcissistic Characters
"It's still very cathartic for me to play characters who don't try to be so nice all the time. I have noticed recently, I'm like, I have crow's feet from fake laughing for years. And Elliott is such a good chance for me to actually just drop the muscles of the face and not care. So it's actually good for many reasons. For anti-aging, it's good for me to play the part."
On Officiating Amy Schumer's Wedding As His Character Vicky
"I had a few seconds where I just was like, I'm too scared. Like, I know there were going to be really famous people there and I just was terrified. But she asked me maybe less than a week before. And then I didn't sleep that night. I was just so scared of who I would see in the crowd. I was like, they'll hate me. Like, I knew Larry David was on the guest list and I was like, 'Well, he's gonna hate this.' . . . Right when I walked off, he was right there. And he patted me on the back and said he loved it."