November 27, 2001 at 3:33 PM EST - Updated July 1 at 10:05 PM
Michael McDonald, Featured on MAD TV Michael McDonald was born and raised in Orange County, CA. He graduated from USC with a degree in Business and became a loan officer at a bank in Los Angeles. A friend took him to see a sketch comedy/improv show at L.A.'s famous Groundling Theater, and then everything changed.
McDonald quit his job as a banker, enrolled in the Groundling's Improv Program, and became a member of the troupe from 1992 to 1997. His first professional writing and acting jobs came from Concorde Pictures, Roger Corman's infamous low-budget movie studio. Starting as an extra, McDonald gradually earned bigger roles and eventually wrote and directed several films. He has also appeared in both "Austin Powers" films.
He then moved into television, guest starring on shows such as "Seinfeld", "Ellen", "NewsRadio", "Just Shoot Me" and "The Drew Carey Show".
McDonald is single and resides in Los Angeles. This is his third year as a regular on MAD TV.
Aries Spears, Featured on MAD TV Chicago native Aries Spears discovered his comedic abilities at the young age of 14, when he started doing his own comedy routine around his hometown. By the age of 17, he landed a part in the movie "Home of Angles" starring Abe Vigoda, Sherman Helmsley and Joe Frazier. Spears' additional film credits include "The Pest" opposite John Leguizamo, "Jerry Maguire", "Out of Sync", "Malcolm X" and "Why Do Fools Fall In Love".
Spears' first television appearance was cable's "Russell Simmons' Def Comedy Jam", followed by "Showtime At The Apollo". He moved to Los Angeles in 1992, landed a recurring role on "A Different World" and became a regular at The Comedy Store, The Improv and The Laugh Factory.
Shortly thereafter, Spears was cast in a starring role opposite Glenn Frey in "South of Sunset". His additional television credits include "Crosstown Traffic", "The Adventures of Brisco County, Jr." and "Soul Train". Spears also lent his voice to the animated series "T-Bear & Jamal".
Raised in New Jersey, Spears is single and now resides in Los Angeles. This is his fourth season as a regular on MAD TV.
Nelson Ascencio, Featured on MAD TV Born in Cuba and raised in New York, Nelson started acting in his early teens with local theater and school productions. He continued his acting training after high school at the prestigious American Academy of Dramatic Arts as well as HP Studios. Upon moving from New York to Los Angeles, Ascencio joined the renowned Groundlings Theatre where he honed his comedic muscle. Since then he has written, performed and produced his own sketch shows with the comedy group Unsafe Sketch at HBO Workspace, Luna Park, The Upfront and Theatre at the Improv. His television credits include appearances on "The Larry Sanders Show" and "Seinfeld".
This is Ascencio's first season as a regular on MAD TV, after appearing as a recurring actor last year.
Christian Duguay, Featured on MAD TV Born in Standford, CA and raised in Readfield, ME, Christian Duguay attend the Berklee College of Music where he majored in Jazz Theory and Composition. After three years of playing the guitar in a tiny practice room, he decided that he wanted to be a stand-up comedian.
After moving to California, Christian enrolled in the film school at Cal State University Northridge, majoring in screenwriting. He performed with the improv comedy group Legitimate Freaks, and then enrolled in the Groundlings Theater, where he took classes for three years and eventually was elected to the Groundlings Sunday Company.
Christian is single and resides in Los Angeles. This is Christian's first year on MAD TV.
Nicole Sullivan, Featured on MAD TV Nicole Sullivan's television credits include guest starring roles on "Fired Up", "The Drew Carey Show", "Madman of the People" and "Party of Five". This past spring, she starred opposite Kyra Sedgwick in the comedy series "Talk To Me". This summer Sullivan can be heard as the voice of Bizzy in the animated comedy "Baby Blues". Her film credits include the award-winning short "Fairfax Fandango" and "Barhopping".
Sullivan was born in Manhattan to Madonna, an ex-Peace Corps volunteer and currently an antiques dealer, and Ed Sullivan, a New York State Assemblyman. She began acting at the age of seven and performed on and Off-Broadway with the First All Children's Theater until her family moved to a very small town in upstate New York.
Sullivan attended Northwestern University as a theater major, where she worked two jobs to pay her tuition. There, she concentrated on studying the classics -- Greek tragedies and plays by Shakespeare, Chekov, Pinter and Ibsen. She also traveled to London to study theater at the British American Drama Academy. After graduation from Northwestern on the Dean's List, Sullivan moved to Los Angeles for a career in the famed food industry, taking the summers off to perform at the Greenwich Shakespeare Company.
Sullivan is single and lives in Los Angeles. An original cast member, this is her sixth season on MAD TV.
Quincy Jones, Executive Producer Over a five-decade career, Quincy Jones' creative magic has been expressed through the roles of composer, arranger, conductor, instrumentalist, magazine founder, entrepreneur and record, film and television producer. In 1996, he executive produced "The 68th Academy Awards".
Jones has won 26 Grammy Awards (nominated for the all-time high of 77), the Recording Academy's Trustees Award and the Grammy Living Legend Award. He is an Emmy-winner (score of "Roots", first episode), a seven-time Oscar nominee and was honored by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences with the Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award, among his many other honors. Concurrent with one of the most successful and celebrated careers in the history of contemporary music, Jones broke into feature filmmaking as co-producer of "The Color Purple", which was nominated for 11 Academy Awards. He has composed over 33 major motion picture scores, earned worldwide acclaim as producer of the historic "We Are The World" recording (one of the top-selling singles of all time) and produced one of the best-selling albums in the history of the recording industry, Michael Jackson's "Thriller".
Since 1993, Jones has been co-CEO and chairman with David Salzman of QDE, a multimedia joint venture with Time Warner Entertainment. The company has a broad-ranging agenda encompassing programming for current and future technologies, including feature films and network, cable and syndicated television. The company's television credits include the series "The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air", "In the House" and "Dark Justice", "The 68th Academy Awards", the syndicated talk show "Jenny Jones" and specials for President Clinton's inauguration and Sports Illustrated, People and Life magazines.
QDE's music projects for television include the epic 10-hour "History of Rock 'n' Roll", "Concert of the Americas", "Roots of Country" and "Q's Jook Joint", an original film for cable based on Jones' critically acclaimed 1995 album of the same name. Additionally, QDE has many other television, cable, feature film and Broadway projects in production or development. The company also publishes Vibe magazine and is involved in live entertainment and cross-media projects for home entertainment and educational applications.
In 1990, Jones and his career were chronicled in the critically acclaimed film "Listen Up: The Lives of Quincy Jones".
Dick Balsucci, Executive Producer Multi-award winning writer/producer Dick Blasucci is beginning his second year at MAD TV. His most recent work includes the Emmy Award-winning "Muppets Tonight!" Blasucci has also won two Emmy Awards for writing on the series "SCTV".
Blasucci also co-produced the critically acclaimed "Tracy Ullman Show", receiving three Emmy nominations (Outstanding Writing for a Comedy Series, Outstanding Comedy Series and Outstanding Variety Series) and "The Larry Sanders Show", which received CableAce Awards for Best Writing for a Comedy Special and Best Show. He also produced and wrote the specials "Billy Crystal: Don't Get Me Started" and "Martin Short Goes To Hollywood". Both won a CableAce Award for Best Writing for a Comedy Special.
Balsucci resides in Los Angeles.
David E. Salzman, Executive Producer During his career, David E. Salzman has earned a reputation for creativity and leadership in a broad spectrum of activities. As a broadcaster, he helped put 10 television stations on the air and ran a station group. As a newsman, he introduced groundbreaking news innovations and NIWS (News Information Weekly Service), the influential national news service, which supplied award-winning reports to 165 US stations and 75 foreign countries. As a producer, he has created, developed and/or overseen more than 200 television series, specials, movies and mini-series. As an entrepreneur, he has launched four successful companies and two magazines.
Salzman has achieved considerable renown as a producer of live events. Along with QDE partner Quincy Jones, he produced the acclaimed 1993 "People's Celebration" staged live at the Lincoln Memorial as President Clinton's first official inagural event. The special featured 650 live performers before an in-person audience of 500,000 and more than 40 million worldwide via TV. Salzman and Jones produced the highly acclaimed 1996 Academy Awards Show hosted by Whoopi Goldberg. Salzman also produced the epic 1995 "Concerts of the Americas" in Miami as a part of the Hemispheric Summit.
As the president of Lorimar Telepictures, Salzman created and/or executive produced over 20 series and supervised more than 10,000 hours of television. He guided Lorimar to the position of America's leading supplier of network and syndicated television programming for four consecutive years.
Salzman began his career producing, writing, directing and/or hosting several television programs in Detroit at WKBD-TV, America's first UHF independent station. He co-founded Telepictures Corp., served as President of Lorimar Telepictures, was Chairman and CEO of Group W Productions and Distribution, ran KDKA-TV in Pittsburgh as general manager and worked as program manager and news director in three top 10 markets. Salzman also founded the Television Syndication Center for Westinghouse and the California Video Center for Lorimar Telepictures, both post-production facilities.
Recent honors include the American Academy of Achievement Gold Plate, the H.E.L.P. Group's Humanitarian Award, the Tree of Life Award from the Jewish National Fund and the Lifetime Achievement and distinguished Alumnus Awards from Brooklyn College. Salzman has received over 100 programming awards from such organizations as the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences, BPME, NATPE, Associated Press, UPI, the American Bar Association, Golden Quill, Chicago Film Festival, San Francisco Film Festival, New York Film Festival and American Women in Radio and Television.
Married for 30 years to Sonia Gonsalves, Salzman has three grown children, Daniel, Andrea, and Adam.