Jeff Altman was born and raised in Syracuse,
New York, in an environment which inadvertently lent itself to show
business. As an only child, he got way too much attention from his
parents, and subsequently, faced a real dilemma with the transition of
leaving home and being in school. But Jeff figured out very quickly
how to get back the attention by making his classmates and teachers
laugh. In fact, most of his elementary school time was spent in a
special "Jeff Altman" chair in the principal's office.
Jeff's first exposure to performing came early in
life. His dad was one of the finest sleight-of-hand artists in the
country. It wasn't long before his son began to fiddle with cards and
coins as well. Today, Jeff considers sleight-of-hand a coveted
avocation and he has achieved notoriety for publishing many tricks.
Jeff's father also gets credit for teaching his son to play the drums
something Jeff still loves to do.
Deluded by academic aspirations, Jeff spent four
years in Baltimore where he managed to graduate from Johns Hopkins
University. While there, he not only earned a degree, but also a
reputation as a disturbed young man. It wasn't uncommon to see Jeff
being escorted out of the Hutzler Reading Room dressed as a bush.
Twice during his college days he visited Los
Angeles, spending most of his time at the renown Magic Castle, an
exclusive magicians' club in Hollywood. Intoxicated by the West coast,
he began to realize that his days as a "scholar" were
numbered and soon after graduation, he packed up and made his way to California.
After a six-month tenure at the Magic Castle, he
began working at the world-famous Comedy Store. It was here, in its heyday,
where he developed a stand-up act and started thinking of himself as a
It wasn't long before he was tapped for several appearances
on "The Merv Griffin Show" and started performing in clubs
across the country. "Suddenly, I was rich," recalls Jeff.
"I was amazed that I was able to generate an income over $3000 in
one year by being a comedian." That wasn't bad. His apartment was
only $100/month and sometimes, if he vacuumed the halls, they cut his
rent in half.
Jeff's stand-up and acting have come a long way since
those days. He appeared regularly on "The Late Show with David
Letterman," has guest-starred in dozens of network prime-time
shows, such as "Caroline in the City," "Land's
End" and "Baywatch," and has produced and starred in
two critically-acclaimed SHOWTIME specials "Jeff Altman's
Scrapbook" and "Sweet & Meaty."
He recorded a well-received, live
album at the Comedy Store, "I'll Flip You Like a Cheese Omelet"
featuring several of his most popular, signature pieces. Film credits
include "Highlander II," "American
Hot Wax," "Soul Man" and "Easy
Jeff Altman is highly pursued by advertising
companies and has appeared in more than 30 national campaigns ranging
from Budweiser to Panasonic.