The ‘80s were the decade stand-up comedy became a recognized art form, and Fred Wolf was right there in the spotlight laying the groundwork for the new genre. Hard at work, pursuing his dream on the Left Coast, Wolf was filling nightclubs with laughter during the comedic boom in Los Angeles. Fast forward to the late-1990s on a soundstage at 30 Rockefeller Plaza in New York City, and Fred Wolf is busy rubbing comedic elbows with the likes of Chris Farley and David Spade on the set of “Saturday night Live.”
Wolf recalls the long and winding road to success he shared with his fellow friends and comedians.
“The group was Blake Clark, Kevin Nealon, David Spade, Adam Sandler, Rob Schneider and Chris Rock.” Wolf says. “We were all doing stand-up, but we also all had day jobs.”
The multi-talented director knew from early adolescence that he needed to do something involving comedy. Whether it was stand-up comedy, screen-writing, producing or directing, 12-year-old Fred was dying to dive into the deep end of the entertainment industry.
“I was walking down Sixth Avenue and I passed a movie theater that’s still there, and there was a poster on the wall for a Marx Brothers movie. I eventually saw one of the Marx Brothers movies and from then on I knew that that’s what I had to do.”
Wolf reflects on his childhood and teenage years running the streets of New York City with his three younger brothers.
“Me and my brothers and friends just ran free. There was nobody telling us not to do stuff. We would take subways to school, we had a lot of freedom, and it was just really fun.”
Wolf has worn many hats in the glitz and glamorous life of a celebrity, and although the award-winning film writer’s past has helped guide his path to major success, he is still working on paramount projects with some of Hollywood’s biggest stars. Most recently, he worked on an epic film he co-wrote with Peter Gaulke called “Drunk Parents.” This film includes the impressive cast of Selma Hayek, Alec Baldwin and Will Ferrell, as well as many other talented performers. He is not only director and writer for the stars, they are also his friends.
“Mad love to the homie Fred Wolf for reaching out and making me feel like family!” renowned artist Kid Cudi says. “One of my all-time favorite writers and directors.”
Wolf has been the key writer or co-writer on many top-ranking box office movies, such as “Grown Ups” and “Grown Ups II,” “Without a Paddle” and “Black Sheep.” Wolf, along with Adam Sandler, co-wrote the hit movie “Grown Ups,” which won a People’s Choice Award for Best Comedy. The award is proudly sitting on the shelf in the living room of his house in Carmel-by-the-Sea.
“It felt good having a positive response, and it means a lot because the people liked it enough to vote for it,” says Wolf about his achievement.
In addition to directing and stand up, Wolf doesn’t just deliver the comedy himself, he also writes for other comedians. The late Johnny Carson and Chevy Chase are just a few of the famous folks who have delivered Fred’s lines for laughs.
“I guess I was a better writer than a comedian, so I started writing for other comedians like Joan Rivers and Phyllis Diller,” Wolf humbly recalls.
When success came, it came with a vengeance.
Wolf reflects on the success of his talent in comedic writing.
“One day in late August I got three offers from three different jobs,” Wolf recalls. “I got a job writing for a new show called ‘The Conan O’Brien Show’ then I also got an offer for ‘The Chevy Chase Show’ and the third call that came in was with ‘Saturday Night Live.’”
Furthermore, Wolf’s success in stand-up and comedic writing propelled his career into coveted movie-writing jobs including “Tommy Boy” and “Black Sheep.” The People’s Choice award winner explains the inspiration for his most successful film, “Tommy Boy.”
“I got to see [David] Spade and [Chris] Farley mess around in the office all day and just started writing down what they did, and that’s all ‘Tommy Boy’ is,” Wolf reflects. “They just played animated versions of themselves.”
The star of “Tommy Boy,” David Spade, fondly remembers his time working with his friend Wolf.
“Working with Fred is always great,” Spade says. “We go way back.”
In addition to being a comedic genius and family man, Wolf has some intriguing hobbies, such as weekly basketball at the Monterey Sports Center and having an impressive collection of designer athletic shoes.
“I still really love playing basketball, and I try to at least play twice a week at the Sports Center,” Wolf says. “Growing up poor and being made fun of for wearing reject Chuck Taylors, now I have 350 pairs of Air Jordans.”
When he isn’t directing or producing award-winning films or writing iconic “Saturday Night Live” sketches, Wolf enjoys staying local and spending quality family time with his wife Kristen and two daughters, Sara and Molly, and much-loved pug Rosie.
“I just like hanging out with my girls,” Wolf says. “I’ll go anywhere and just tag along whether it’s going to Forever 21 or anything they want. I just really love spending time with them.”
Wolf’s comedic genius continues to fill America with laughter, but even more importantly, he provides love and involvement in his family and community.
Wolf’s oldest daughter, Molly, speaks lovingly about her relationship with her dad.
“I can talk about anything with my dad,” Molly explains. “We go to lunch or just hangout and talk for hours. He truly is the best!”