Wayne Federman

Part Time Lecturer


Wayne Federman joined the faculty of USC in January 2017. He is a stand-up comedian, actor, producer, writer, podcaster, and cultural historian. He currently teaches the history of stand-up comedy as well as level-2 stand-up performance at USC’s School of Dramatic Arts. In 2022, he won a Primetime Emmy Award for producing HBO’s George Carlin’s American Dream. 

His book, The History of Stand-Up: From Mark Twain to Dave Chappelle, is an Amazon bestseller and is currently used as required reading in multiple universities.

Federman attended NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts where he studied with legendary acting coach Stella Adler. He has appeared in numerous television programs and films, including Curb Your Enthusiasm, Crashing, Silicon Valley, What We Do In The Shadows!, Community, The X-Files, Documentary Now!, New Girl, Step Brothers, The 40-Year-Old Virgin, Knocked Up, Legally Blonde, Funny People, and 50 First Dates.

As a thirty-year veteran of stand-up, Federman has his own special on Comedy Central, appeared multiple times on The Tonight Show, tours nationally, and appears locally at The Hollywood Improv, UCB, LARGO, and Dynasty Typewriter. His critically acclaimed three-volume stand-up compilation, The Chronicles of Federman, was released on ASpecialThing Records.

Federman is also a comedy and cultural historian, with contributions appearing in The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, AP,  Vulture, LA Times, and The Atlantic. He’s provided on-air commentary for CNN’s The History of Comedy, Showtime’s We Need To Talk About Cosby,  CNN’s The History of Late Night, and BBC’s Autopsy: The Last Hours of Johnny Carson. He co-produced the HBO documentary The Zen Diaries of Garry Shandling as well as Dinner With Don – the final project of comedian Don Rickles. Federman also co-hosts, writes, and produces the popular podcast, The History of StandUp.

Federman has also received three Writers Guild nominations. He was the head monologue writer on NBC’s Late Night With Jimmy Fallon over its first season. He has also written special comedy material for Seth Rogen, Mel Brooks, Judd Apatow, Key and Peele, Sarah Silverman, Tig Notaro, Andy Samberg, The Muppets (Statler and Waldorf), Bob Newhart, Megan Mullally, and Fred Armisen.

Wayne Federman knows more about the history of stand-up than anyone I’ve ever known.”  – Jesse David Fox, Senior editor Vulture

Wayne is perhaps Hollywood’s leading historian of comedy, a walking encyclopedia of lost movements and cliques.” – Richard Rushfield, Vanity Fair

Wayne Federman is a beloved legend within the stand-up industry.” – Paste Magazine