Yes friends, it's the Steven Wright Biography!
Steven Wright was born on December 5, 1955 in New York, and is in fact still alive as of this writing, but who knows he may kick the bucket soon. Wright is a Northeasterner ("kawfeay") and attended Emerson College in Boston. He is a comedian and actor with a deadpan attitude and a throaty voice.
His style is basically this: stand in front of a crowd and apathetically mumble one and two line jokes into the mike. His show is basically an hundred or so of these strung together. Generally, the audience listens, pauses, realizes the joke and bursts out laughing. He is very respected in geek circles because his jokes play with words and concepts, their humor is self-evident and independently truthful. They also don't rely on sex, farts, or drugs, and thus one could say that they are aimed at a more intellectual audience.
He began his comedy career in 1979, just before standup became the coolest thing since iced coffee. He was very quickly recognized as a shooting star, and with the rising popularity of comedy, he was at the forefront with comedians like Jim Carrey, Sandra Bernhard, Paul Reiser, and Jerry Seinfield. He gained recognition very quickly, and his 1986 album I Have a Pony was Grammy-nominated. He was featured in all the usual places comedians are: HBO specials, Johnny Carson, David Letterman, Saturday Night Live, and (eek!) PBS.
However, the novelty of his act wore off pretty fast (faster than Jim Carrey!), and he transformed his standup career into a mediocre acting career. Notably, he wrote and starred in the short film "The Appointments of Dennis Jennings" and won an Oscar for it in 1989. He has acted in quite a few movies, more than twenty at the moment (but still nowhere near the prolific Steve Buscemi). Notably, he was in Desparately Seeking Susan (1985), Reservoir Dogs (1992), So I Married an Axe Murderer (1993), Natural Born Killers (1994), and Loser (2000). Unfortunately, due to his style he's probably typecast for life as the deadpan guy. Not that this is a bad thing, as Ben Stein seems to be doing pretty well. All in all, he's probably not a has-been yet, but he's on the list unless he does something notable pretty soon.
He doesn't seem to come out from his rock very often, so if and when he does, I'll try to note them here. In the past five years, he has been seen:
I may be connecting dots that shouldn't be connected, but to me his role in Half Baked, his writing for Phish, and his manner in general suggest certain extracuricular activities. This might be why he's never doing anything...