Brian Dunkleman

FAIRBANKS — If there’s something Brian Dunkleman looks forward to these days, it’s going on the road. And while he enjoys being on stage making people laugh, and the opportunity to hone his golf game on a new course, the big attraction has been the opportunity to grab eight hours of uninterrupted sleep.

Fatherhood is opening a whole new realm of comedy for Dunkleman, whose biggest claim to fame to date is as the original co-host for “American Idol.” He quit after the first season because he knew full well the show would never last. Since then, he’s been pursuing his dream of breaking the record for pilot TV shows that never make the air. 

“One and done, that’s the way to do it,” he said, explaining a short-lived Fox “Sky Ball” sports show he premiered that “failed miserably” a few years ago. “Basically I work on a TV show for a summer and then take a 10-year break.”

While on “hiatus,” Dunkleman has appeared all over the small screen, at HBO’s US Comedy Arts Festival in Aspen, the “Tonight Show,” NBC’s “Late Friday,” and TBS’s “Very Funny at the Laugh Factory.” He also has appeared on hit television shows such as “Friends,” “3rd Rock from the Sun,” “That 70s Show,” and many others. Dunkleman was the voice of Sanford on the MTV animated series “3 South,” as well as characters on “Family Guy” and “Proud Family.”

He hasn’t forgotten his “American Idol” stint, either. Dunkleman, who won a contest as Buffalo, N.Y.’s Funniest New Comedian in 1992, hosted the syndicated television show “American Idol Rewind” and is a regular host for “Family Feud Live” in Atlantic City. But, staying true to form, he guest-starred on two episodes of “My Name is Earl,” which was abruptly canceled. He does standup regularly in Los Angeles and recently had a comedy special on Showtime. 

Dunkleman is in Fairbanks this week as part of the Alaska Comedy Showcase. 

These days, Dunkleman likes to stay closer to home where he can be on daddy diaper duty for his son, who is just learning how to walk. Dunkleman is eagerly awaiting for him to start talking to, noting that babies are a comedy gold mine. Asked if his son takes after him or his wife, Dunkleman pointed to his mother-in-law “who will literally talk you into a coma. That’s who he’s taking after.”

Dunkleman is looking past toddler jokes, though. An avid golfer, he has already bought the boy a set of plastic golf clubs and is teaching him to play golf — inside the house. His wife still doesn’t know how certain objects got broken, he said. But, Dunkleman has a long-term plan for his son.

“He doesn’t know it yet, but he’s going to be a professional golfer,” Dunkleman said. “I’m going to sponge off him for the rest of his life. Fifty percent of his earnings. That sounds about right.”

Contact staff writer Julie Stricker at 459-7532.


What: Comedian Brian Dunkleman


8 p.m. Friday, April 18, at The Blue Loon

8 p.m. Saturday, April 19, at Kodiak Jacks

Tickets: $12 in advance and $15 day of show; available at Gullivers Books