Jordan Klepper may identify as a proud liberal but he undoubtedly, if inadvertently, benefited from Donald Trump’s rise to power. The politically-minded comedian, writer, and producer was a virtual unknown before the 45th launched his successful presidential campaign. But by the time Trump exited the White House, Klepper had bagged not just one but two eponymous shows, several specials, and essentially the respect of anyone who opposes the idea of MAGA.
As a Comedy Central regular, Klepper has used his platform to, as USA Today put it, “skewer” the Trump administration and its followers, both in a studio setting and in the field, under the guise of an Alex Jones-esque conspiracy theorist (also called Jordan Klepper, just to make matters that little bit more confusing). But what about the man behind all the satire?
Well, the Kalamazoo native has so far been keen to let his alter-ego do most of the talking. But from his relationship status to his net worth, here’s a look at what we do know about the very real Jordan Klepper.
Got a math problem? Jordan Klepper is your guy
Jordan Klepper has a pretty credible claim to being one of the cleverest correspondents ever to grace Comedy Central. Indeed, long before he joined the cast of night-time institution “The Daily Show,” the funnyman was considering a career that had more in common with Pythagoras than Python.
Yes, Klepper is something of a mathematics whiz having studied the subject, alongside theater, at his hometown’s Kalamazoo College. According to his alma mater’s website, he also previously displayed his aptitude for numbers at the Kalamazoo Area Mathematics and Science Center. In a 2017 interview with Chicago Reader, the brainbox explained how his analytical side proved to be invaluable when it came to his creative.
“Improv pushed me to be more curious; the mathematical side made me feel uncomfortable, but ultimately it was better for me. Life is a mixture of those two things,” he said. “It’s both the brainstorming period where we can be free, but we also have to do a show in a couple-hour period, so it becomes all about editing, crafting an argument, functionally putting pieces in place. You have to use both sides of the brain.” And as this 2020 clip from “The Daily Show” proves, Klepper has been able to put his math skills to good use on camera, too.
Steven Yeun and Jordan Klepper were in the same improv group
From the never-ending zombie horror series “The Walking Dead” to the rural family drama “Minari,” the majority of Steven Yeun’s filmography so far has offered little in the way of belly laughs. However, it turns out that the pioneering Oscar nominee was once a regular of the Kalamazoo improv circuit. And what do you know, so was Jordan Klepper.
The pair were both key players in Monkapult, the comedy troupe based at Kalamazoo College, and soon became friends. In fact, they both moved to Chicago to further hone their comedic talents at the famous Second City. Klepper and Yeun had first been introduced to each other by the former’s sister during their college years. And this meeting essentially changed the course of the Korean-American actor’s career.
In 2011, Yeun explained to Interview, “Kasey took me to see one of their [Monkapult] shows, and my face melted off. I thought, I need to do this … I auditioned, but didn’t make the team. So, I took my first acting class, and it opened my eyes to a whole new world. I’d always been interested in performing on some level, but now, I was going to do it. I tried out again and got onto the team, and from then on, I was sucked into the whole theater scene.”
Jordan Klepper is married to a comic talent
Turns out that there’s more than one comic talent in the Jordan Klepper household. In 2013, the Comedy Central star walked down the aisle with Laura Grey, a fellow graduate of New York’s Upright Citizens Brigade who he’d met two years prior.
And the pair don’t seem to have a problem mixing business with pleasure. They have worked on numerous short films together including “Bone Dry,” “Bathroom Party” and “Peepers.” In 2017, Grey — who’s also appeared in the likes of “Younger” and “Rough Night” — was cast on her husband’s show “The Opposition with Jordan Klepper.” And then four years later she served as head writer on “Jordan Klepper Solves Guns.”
Of course, sometimes the comedic power couple’s career paths will cross in rather awkward ways. During an appearance on “Jimmy Kimmel Live!” in 2018, Klepper talked about the time they both tried out for “The Daily Show.” “I auditioned with my wife,” he began. “They called us in one-on-one with Jon [Stewart], and I got to be on the show.” When asked by the host about Grey’s fate, Klepper replied, “I got to be on the show.”
Second City shaped Jordan Klepper
Like pretty much every other American comedian who’s forged a successful career, Jordan Klepper cut his teeth performing with Chicago’s legendary The Second City. The funnyman moved from his Kalamazoo hometown alongside fellow alum Steven Yeun to the Windy City at the turn of the century. And he hasn’t looked back since.
As his bio on the theater’s website chronicles, Klepper went on to showcase his improv skills on a Norwegian cruise liner with the Second City Theatricals before becoming a key member of the enterprise’s Touring Company and Improv All-Stars. He was also part of established shows “The Beatbox,” “Whirled News Tonight” and “The Late Night Late Show.”
And Klepper’s comedy education didn’t end there, either. In 2011, he relocated again, this time to the Big Apple, where he joined another improv group, the Upright Citizens Brigade. The comedian has also been keen to pay things forward since he made it big, hiring a number of former Second City graduates as writers on his Comedy Central show “The Opposition with Jordan Klepper” including Steve Waltien, Chelsea Devantez and Asher Perlman. Oh, and his wife Laura Grey got a role in front of the camera, too.
Jordan Klepper is an unlikely sex symbol
In 2020, writer Jessica Toomer penned a glowing profile of Jordan Klepper for Uproxx — but his comedic talents were not the focus of the piece. It was the “thick beard and disheveled hair,” “pasty, Gumby-like limbs,” and ability to “wear the hell out of a puffer jacket” that left Toomer weak at the knees.
So what did Klepper make of being the subject of such lustful thoughts as “Fold me like a beef taco you sardonic skyscraper?” Well, in an interview with the very same site a year later (but not the same writer, perhaps wisely), the Second City alum revealed his mother and father were even more astounded than he was: “I think there’s not enough thought put into the effect of becoming a thirst trap on the parents of the thirst trap, you know? I think my parents always knew I was a man who was all about the work first, the intellectual weight second, and then the sexiness third, and so it definitely threw things into a tizzy where they were like, “You’re a sex symbol?”
Klepper, who even linked to the article on his Twitter account, continued, “And I’m like, ‘Of course I’m a sex symbol. I’m a thirst trap.’ And once we all Googled it and they understood what it was, and they refused to accept the tongue-in-cheek ribbing that the article had, then it really gave us stuff to talk about over our doomed Thanksgiving.”
Tim Allen introduced Jordan Klepper's parents
You wouldn’t expect Jordan Klepper and Tim Allen to have much in common. While one has built his career on poking fun at the entire Republican party, the other identified as a “fiscal conservative” on “WTF with Marc Maron” and once told Jimmy Kimmel that being a non-liberal in Hollywood is like being in 1930s Germany. And yet Klepper has acknowledged that he wouldn’t be around today if it wasn’t for the “Home Improvement” creator.
As Jordan shared an interview with MLIVE in 2014, Allen was roommates with the comedian’s father, Mark Klepper, at Central Michigan University. Oh, but that’s not all: Allen was also responsible for introducing Mark to his future wife. For Betse Klepper, a high school secretary, is the “Last Man Standing” star’s cousin. Speaking with MLIVE, “The Daily Show” correspondent revealed, “That’s part of the reason Mark and Betse got together, because of Tim Allen. I owe him my life, I guess you could say.”
Klepper and Allen may be at polar opposite ends of the political spectrum, but the former insists that the latter has been nothing but supportive of his comedic career. He added that the voice of Woody in “Toy Story” has “always been a kind ear” in terms of advice and support in the showbiz world.
Jordan Klepper has a criminal record
Jordan Klepper proved how committed he is to his art in 2019 when he was arrested while filming his eponymous Comedy Central show. As TMZ reported at the time, the math whiz was one of nine people busted for criminal trespass during a protest in the Georgia Capitol Building about the issue of undocumented students. And the Georgia State Capitol police then got involved when Klepper’s group failed to take notice of warnings to leave.
Footage of the arrest at the Board of Regents meeting later found its way online, but in an Instagram post shortly after the incident, Klepper appeared entirely unrepentant. A photo of the comedian being bundled into a police car was captioned, “… In Georgia they are denying college admission and tuition benefits to undocumented students. These are students who pay taxes, grew up here and want to learn and give back to their community. We need more thoughtful, curious, educated young adults dedicated to making this place better. Education is a human right.”
Klepper also added that he was honored to have been involved in the protest before imploring any followers with the same mindset to make their feelings known to the Georgia Board of Regents. In an interview with Variety just three months later, Klepper revealed that he’d spent 12 hours in a jail cell, during which his celebrity status counted for little.
Jordan Klepper enjoys reporting from the field
Jordan Klepper made his name working as a correspondent for “The Daily Show.” And after spending most of his year-long stint on “The Opposition with Jordan Klepper” in a rather claustrophobic bunker, the funnyman got the chance to breathe some more fresh air with his 2019 eponymous Comedy Central show. And no doubt he was far happier.
Speaking to Vanity Fair a year earlier, Klepper remarked, “I think what I’ve always loved about the field, at its simplest, [is] you get to go out and experience something as opposed to sit back and comment on it. You get to hear the story from the person who had lived through that story, and that is powerful. In a day and age where we are constantly responding to people on TV telling us what the world looks like, the ability to go out and to see it up front — that just gives you so many more avenues of commentary, and so many more ways in which to tell stories.”
As well as moving back into the big wide world with his own series, Klepper also embraced the outdoors when he returned to his old stomping ground in 2019. In a press release for “The Daily Show”, the comedian explained, “The 2020 election is turning into a mad American circus, and I’d be damned if I wasn’t going to sneak in, throw a top hat on and start guessing everyone’s weight.”
Trevor Noah helped guide Jordan Klepper's career
Trevor Noah may be five years younger than Jordan Klepper but he’s still served as something of a mentor to his “The Daily Show” co-star. In a 2017 interview with IndieWire to promote “The Opposition with Jordan Klepper,” Comedy Central boss Kent Alterman told the outlet that Noah had been a long-time champion of the Second City alum: “[He] came in and really recognized his talent, and not only embraced it but empowered him.”
The South African-born comedian even served as executive producer on Klepper’s first series, a role which the host told the same site was invaluable: “We talk about even the functions of sitting in that chair and the relationships you develop, with the clips that you play, or the stories that you relate to. And he’s been helpful with how you deal with being the boss. How do you deal with hiring and working with people and organizing a team? That’s something that he stepped into beautifully. It’s not an easy place to step into.”
Noah, who replaced “The Daily Show” longtime host Jon Stewart in 2015, is also something of a straight-shooter, according to Klepper: “He’s just a really unbiased ear who will tell me like it is if he thinks we’re stepping in the right direction.”
Jordan Klepper doesn't want to be labeled an activist comedian
You might think it was fair to label Jordan Klepper as an activist comedian. After all, he was arrested for criminal trespassing while shooting a segment for his self-titled Comedy Central series about undocumented students. And he was also caught up in the storming of the Capitol in Washington, D.C. in 2021 while covering Donald Trump’s call to action for “The Daily Show.”
However, speaking to Forbes shortly after the riots, Klepper revealed he doesn’t want to be labeled as such. “I think it can be dangerous if your whole point of view is just, ‘I’m going to go out here and just be an activist,'” he said. “I’m going to be out here. I’m going to be a comedian who’s going to these places. I’m going to shine a light on how hard it is to make changes in America. I don’t necessarily agree with all of the groups that I’m out there with, but I want to get up as close to them as I can.”
Klepper also acknowledged his specific position when it comes to dealing with various causes: “I’m confronted with the reality that I have the privilege of being a white guy with a television show. What I kept getting told is, ‘You need to be aware of it. You need to weaponize that privilege.'”
How much do Jordan Klepper's real self and TV persona overlap?
Just like one of his “The Daily Show” predecessors Stephen Colbert, Jordan Klepper’s screen persona is markedly different to his real self. Sure, they both might share the same name, voice, and appearance, but the Comedy Central regular is keen to point out that he doesn’t hold the same right-wing beliefs as his alter-ego.
In a chat with the Los Angeles Times in 2018, the Kalamazoo College graduate revealed that the overlap between Jordan Klepper the TV personality and Jordan Klepper the real life individual was only about 20 percent. So what inspired him to take on such a contrasting character? Well, four years prior, Klepper revealed to NPR that he was fascinated by those who he disagrees with on an ideological level.
“I try to find what really is going on right there? Why are you pushing so hard against this anti-intellectualism? Why are you so angry?” he explained. “And I see these characters out there, and that’s what I can relate to, and that’s what I can bring to that, that’s why you’re pointing out that enemy. You’re angry. You don’t feel smart enough to be in this situation, and that’s why you’re covering it with bluster. That’s why you’re trying to make yourself the victim, because you need to be the center of attention, because you’re scared if people look too close, they’re going to see those holes.”
Jordan Klepper had to increase security for Trump rallies
You can’t fault Jordan Klepper’s dedication to his craft. As well as getting arrested for refusing to leave a Board of Regents meeting in Georgia, he also regularly put his safety on the line while covering the increasingly hostile rallies in aid of Donald Trump’s 2020 presidential campaign.
Of course, the Comedy Central regular wasn’t left to fend for himself entirely while shooting for “The Daily Show.” He was always accompanied by a security guard while confronting the 45th‘s most devout fans. But Klepper needed no fewer than three when he headed down to the Million MAGA March, a fact he admitted to Uproxx in 2021 was bizarre but necessary. “At one point, folks surrounded me, started screaming at me, yelling at me,” he recalled. “We had to shut everything down, and it became a little bit of a mob scene. Security had to hold people back and take me down an alley to escape.”
Unsurprisingly, Klepper ramped up protection even further when it came to the storming of the Capitol in Washington, D.C. “And so when I went back on the 6th, I had even more security,” he said. “We were more prepped than the Capitol Police at that point.” But despite some close calls, the funnyman insists that he’s never feared for his safety.
Jordan Klepper is 'curious' about the post-Trump Republican Party
Donald Trump may have left the White House in 2021 after just a single term. But Jordan Klepper, who covered many of the rallies staged in support of the former host of “The Apprentice,” says the impact of Trump’s time in office has stuck around.
Speaking at a South By Southwest panel (via Austin360) shortly after Joe Biden’s inauguration, the Second City graduate argued that the ideas and beliefs that Trump espoused during his turbulent four years in power will reverberate for years to come. “It’s not just one crazy guy in the oval office,” Klepper remarked.
In another interview with Uproxx later that year, Klepper revealed he was more than happy to still keep one eye on the 45th‘s legacy. “Donald Trump has moved on, but where this world goes is a curiosity to me,” he said. “And so when we can gather again, I’m very curious to get out there and to see what this Republican Party becomes, what people care about, what happens in Georgia because of voting rights, what goes on with gun control legislation … We’re keeping our eye on all of these stories. We’re looking to go there and chronicle them.”
Jordan Klepper has a net worth of $2 million
Jordan Klepper isn’t averse to saving money. After getting arrested for participating in a protest about undocumented students in Georgia, the comedian used his mugshots to promote his self-titled Comedy Central series. “Shout out to the artists at Fulton County Jail,” he captioned two side-by-side images on his Instagram account.
And according to Celebrity Net Worth, the Comedy Central regular has saved up quite a bit of his own personal funds since landing a correspondent slot on “The Daily Show” in 2014. In fact, thanks to the likes of “Klepper” and “The Opposition with Jordan Klepper,” the Kalamazoo native apparently has an impressive $2 million to his name.
Perhaps Klepper has taken financial advice from Smugly, the yellow puppet friend designed for “The Daily Show” by New York-based Puppet Kitchen. In 2021, he starred alongside the lovable monster in a segment explaining how cryptocurrency works. “Most thoughtful scene partner I’ve ever had and worked with,” Klepper remarked on Twitter.
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