Ed Helms is a Senior Correspondent on The Daily Show with Jon Stewart. Helms was born in Atlanta, Georgia, Jan. 24 1974, graduated from Westminster Schools in 1992 and graduated with a BA in Theater from Oberlin College in 1996.

He was raised started out in a liberal household, youngest of three children, not the son of a goat-herder. In school he used humor as a defense mechanism, it allowed him a nerd with glasses to be cool. His parents politics made him want to get away from the South, so he decided to go to Oberlin College.

His first year neighbor, Christopher Zalla, said of Helms, “Ed was one of the only people I knew at Oberlin from the South, and since I went to high school in Kentucky, we had something in common, Ed has always been such an easy, outgoing, interesting guy—and very funny.”

Helm’s area of study was theater and film, producing a few of film shorts during time at a school. He was also active in music, singing with the Obertones, playing guitar and banjo. Zalla recounted, “He always woke me up in the mornings with his banjo. He was very, very good. He was religious about finding the right instrument.” At one point he formed a blue-grass band called Weedkiller. He and the other two members of the band, Ian Riggs and Tilove, still perform as the Lonesome Trio. Helms owns a high end, $2400, Stelling Golden Cross banjo.

He trained in improvisational comedy with the Upright Citizens Brigade Theater and still performs at the Upright Citizens Brigade Theater in New York City. He has worked as a stand-up comic, eventually making his way into the top comedy clubs in NYC.

After graduation he moved to New York, working as a stand-up, improv, and sketch comedian. He did some commercial work before auditioning for The Daily Show in 2002. Helms describes working on the Daily Show as a dream come true, because of the his love of politics and comedy. He has done some further commercial work, including a Budweiser Super Bowl spot, appearing alongside Dale Earnhardt Jr.

Off-camera Helms describes himself as mild and his friends agree, describing him as mellow compared to the Ed Helms that is on TV.

(Most of this information was taken from the article article available here: