Steven Brent Oedekerk (born November 27, 1961) is an American comedian, director, editor, producer, screenwriter and actor. Oedekerk is best known for his collaborations with actor and comedian Jim Carrey and director Tom Shadyac (particularly the Ace Ventura franchise), his series of "Thumbmation" shorts and his film Kung Pow: Enter the Fist (2002).
Oedekerk was raised in Huntington Beach, California. He attended Mater Dei High School in Santa Ana, California and Golden West College in Huntington Beach.
Throughout his career, Oedekerk has appeared in and created several television specials for NBC, ABC, and UPN. He also contributed his writing talents to FOXduring the late 1980s and through the early 1990s. It was during this time that Oedekerk befriended fellow comic/actor Jim Carrey while working on the television series In Living Color during its 1990–1994 run; this was the first of numerous collaborations between the two.
Prior to his successful contributions to several unknown episodes in the ColorTV series, he wrote and starred in his first independent/directorial film, Smart Alex (1987). It wasn't until 1991 that Oedekerk was attached not only as a writer, but also as the protagonist, as Thane Furrows in the film High Strung. Jim Carrey also starred opposite him in the role of Death, although he went uncredited. They eventually developed a strong friendship, which still exists today. Shortly afterward, Oedekerk again worked alongside Carrey as the project consultant for Tom Shadyac's first film Ace Ventura: Pet Detective (1994). The film began a break-out success and he was given the opportunity to both direct and write its sequel, Ace Ventura: When Nature Calls (1995). This time Oedekerk directed and wrote the movie after Shadyac left before filming. The sequel proved to be more successful, surpassing the box office gross of the original. Despite this, both Oedekerk and Carrey wanted to pursue other projects, but still remained friends.
Following the Ace Ventura franchise, Oedekerk co-wrote The Nutty Professor (1996), which was also directed by Shadyac for Universal Pictures; it became one of the highest-grossing films of that year. He soon wrote, directed and also had a cameo appearance in Nothing to Lose (1997), starring Tim Robbins and Martin Lawrence. Oedekerk would take a hiatus from directing major films productions for the rest of the 1990s, but continued to write screenplays, including Patch Adams (1998), Nutty Professor II: The Klumps (2000), Jimmy Neutron: Boy Genius (2001), Kung Pow: Enter the Fist (2002) (which he directed, wrote and starred in), Bruce Almighty (2003) and Barnyard (2006) (which he directed, wrote, produced, and voiced various characters).
In 2007, Oedekerk produced the screenplay and story for the Bruce Almighty sequel, Evan Almighty; again, Shadyac directed both films. He has also been commissioned to write the screenplay for the Ripley's Believe It or Not! film adaptation; Jim Carrey has since been cast in the title role. No news involving the project has been reported since.
In February 2009, Universal Pictures announced that Steve Oedekerk would be penning a film adaptation of the Stretch Armstrong superhero doll. As of 2016, the film is left in development hell with an animated series currently in the works.
In 2015, it was announced that a sequel to Kung Pow is currently in the works with him returning to write and direct.
In 1990, he founded the entertainment company, O Entertainment. In 1997 he created and starred in a variety special for NBC, featuring computer animation, entitled The O Show (also known as steve.oedekerk.com). In 2002, he founded the animation division Omation Animation Studios, in which their first animation project was the animated feature film Barnyard (which Oedekerk also wrote, directed, produced and voice acted in). In 2007, he began production on his own animated TV series for Nickelodeon, Back at the Barnyard, based on the film. It premiered on Nickelodeon on September 29, 2007, and finished airing its second season on September 18, 2010, with 6 unaired episodes airing on Nickelodeon's sister channel Nicktoons on September 12, 2011, and ending on November 12, 2011.
Oedekerk also gained popularity with his series of "Thumbmation" shorts: Thumb Wars, Bat Thumb, The Godthumb, Frankenthumb, The Blair Thumb and Thumbtanic.