Biography of Steve Higgins

Here’s a short biography of ‘The Tonight Show’ announcer Higgins

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Tonight Show announcer Steve Higgins. Bryan Bedder/Getty Images Entertainment

Steve Higgins has big shoes to fill.

Higgins is the newest announcer for The Tonight Show. The comedian, writer, and actor made his debut in February 2014, announcing for the late night talk show’s latest host, Jimmy Fallon. And though there is little doubt Higgins takes his role seriously, he approaches the gravitas of the position with a bit of serenity.

“It’s just goofing off,” Higgins tells the Des Moines Register. “Beautiful ladies put makeup on you and do your hair. You wear beautiful suits. You walk out with this guy and do funny bits to make people laugh.”

Higgins was born on August 13, 1963, in Des Moines, Iowa. His mother, Marian, was a homemaker and his father, Harold, ran custodial operations at the West Des Moines school system.

Comedy was in his blood early – and that blood apparently ran in the family. Higgins and his brothers David and Alan, along with pal and actor Dave Allen, formed the comedy troupe Don’t Quit Your Day Job. The group toured Iowa before making a break for Los Angeles and the big time.

Big Break with the Comedy Channel

They got their break with The Higgins Boys and Gruber, a sketch comedy show that played on the Comedy Channel, which eventually became Comedy Central. The show aired for two years and was one of the first television shows on the station.

The show was co-created by Joel Hodgson, then the creator and original lead actor on Mystery Science Theater 3000. In short, the program found the actors seated around a kitchen table, drinking coffee and smoking. They’d lead in and out of sketches – or entire episodes of old TV shows – with commentary and jokes.

Higgins and brother Dave eventually landed writing gigs on The Jon Stewart Show, a talk show on MTV that featured Daily Show host Stewart long before he would make it big on the Comedy Central show. When Stewart was canceled, Higgins didn’t have to wait long before landing his next gig. The same day, in 1995, he was hired as a writer on Saturday Night Live.

Higgins has worked on SNL ever since, as both a writer and producer. He continues that work even as his work on Tonight ramps up. He’ll walk downstairs from the SNL offices mid-day to do his announcing work on Fallon’s show.

Higgins Meets Fallon

SNL is where Higgins met Fallon. He began writing sketches for Fallon almost off the bat, often creating the most sophomoric jokes and situations he could think of – jokes and situations his brothers would think was funny. It’s this camaraderie and trust that would land Higgins his announcing gig with Fallon on Late Night.

And in many ways that define his time at SNL. Read any write-ups and you’ll learn that Higgins’ playfulness on that set led to brotherly teasing, wrestling, and similar shenanigans. So much so that Michael Schur, a former SNL writer and co-creator of NBC’s Parks and Recreation, created the character of Andy with Higgins in mind.

In a lot of ways, you can see how Higgins maybe embodies a bit of Andy’s good natured, laid back persona. He displays it every night with the easy way he trades conversation with Fallon and other guests.

“Then you look around and think, ‘Oh, right. I’m sitting here going over this monolog with Robert De Niro. I guess this really is a big time,’ ” he tells the Register. “But usually it’s just a job. I still go in every day and eat lunch at my desk.”