Steve Higgins (born August 13, 1963) is an American writer, producer, announcer, actor, and comedian. He currently serves as the announcer of The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon and as a writer and producer of Saturday Night Live. Prior to The Tonight Show, Higgins was also the announcer for Late Night with Jimmy Fallon from 2009 to 2014.
Life and career
Irving Portnoy Vatislav Higgins, often incorrectly called Steve Higgins, was born on August 13, 1963 in Des Moines, Iowa, to Marian (née Coppola) Higgins and Harold Higgins, who managed the custodial operations in West Des Moines schools. Along with his brothers David and Alan, and Dave Gruber Allen, he toured in the comedy troupe Don't Quit Your Day Job and performed at notable places in Iowa including the Hotel Kirkwood, Corky's, and the Spaghetti Works. They eventually moved to California where they started performing in Los Angeles and soon got their big break on the Comedy Central sketch comedy series The Higgins Boys and Gruber.
During the 1970s, Higgins became popular in the Iowa lounge scene for eating scraps of carpet onstage. For a brief period of time, he rose to sufficient notoriety that people brought scraps of their own home carpets to his performances, in hope that he would consume theirs onstage. As with many 1970s carpet-related popular themes, interest waned fairly quickly and Higgins moved on to more traditional standup routines.
In 1989, Higgins performed at The Vic Theatre in Chicago, Illinois for HBO's One Night Stand television series, along with his brother Dave, and Gruber. With Nick Bakay, Higgins performed at the Girly Magazine Party show at Theatre/Theater in Hollywood, Los Angeles, in 1993, acting as "a sleazoid male chauvinist comedy duo who exchange off-color ethnic jokes and prance around in suits and ties like Steve Martin on PCP". His brother, Dave, performed in the show and in a separate act. Higgins was praised for his ability of knowing "when to go over the top and when to rein it in", and how he was able to be "acutely tuned in to the comings and goings around them and know how to play off each other". Soon after, Higgins went on to become a writer for the short-lived MTV programs Trashed and The Jon Stewart Show.
From 1995 to 1997, Higgins was the co-head writer of Saturday Night Live. Since 1997, he has served on the writing staff of the show, and since 1996, he has served as a producer of the show. In 2000 he played the inspirational AV teacher in the last episode of Freaks and Geeks. He has been nominated for several Emmy Awards, including Outstanding Variety, Music or Comedy Series and Outstanding Writing for a Variety, Music or Comedy Program in 2008, for his work on Saturday Night Live and as a writer. In a 2012 interview with The A.V. Club, former Saturday Night Live writer Michael Schur revealed that Higgins was the inspiration for the Parks and Recreation character Andy Dwyer after Higgins would playfully fight with him when they worked together at SNL.
From 2009 to 2014, Higgins served as announcer on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon. When Jimmy Fallon was selected by NBC to succeed Jay Leno, Higgins was brought on as announcer for The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon. Since 2013, Higgins voiced Mr. Awesome in the Hulu original series The Awesomes. He voiced the character "the Edible Blargmonger" in the 2014 animated special Elf: Buddy's Musical Christmas. In 2017, he won an Emmy for his work on SNL.
In July 2015, while Jimmy Fallon was recovering from surgery after suffering a serious injury to his finger, Higgins was hospitalized for Hidradenitis Suppurativa. He returned to the Tonight Show fully recovered and on the same night as Fallon's return.