Funnyman Steve Oedekerk never quite broke through as a standup comic, but his years on the standup circuit did lead to a thriving career as a writer and director for some of Hollywood's biggest comedy stars, as well as periodic acting jobs. Steve Oedekerk was born in Los Angeles, CA, in 1961; while still a teenager, he began producing humorous radio commercials, and began making the rounds of California's comedy clubs. Despite occasional headlining gigs and a handful of television appearances, Oedekerk's career as a standup brought him only limited success, but his frequent appearances at L.A.'s Comedy Store did lead to a friendship with another struggling comic, Jim Carrey. Oedekerk also made enough of a name for himself to land occasional acting jobs, playing a supporting role in Casual Sex? and a handful of guest shots on episodic television. Eventually, Oedekerk branched out into writing, and after a spell with the influential Second City troupe, he began writing for the television sketch comedy series In Living Color in 1990, which included his old friend, Carey, in the cast. In 1991, Oedekerk also wrote a script for a motion picture, High Strung, in which he played the lead; the film didn't do well at the box office, but it later gained a cult following, and was reissued after bit player Jim Carey rose to fame. While working on In Living Color, Carey and Oedekerk began knocking together ideas for a character named Ace Ventura, and Oedekerk was credited as a "project consultant" on Ace Ventura, Pet Detective, a low-budget comedy that became a surprise hit and Carey's ticket to the big leagues. Oedekerk was tapped to write and direct the film's sequel, Ace Ventura: When Nature Calls, and another writing and directing assignment followed in 1997, Nothing to Lose. Oedekerk began working steadily as a screenwriter, contributing to such box-office hits as Patch Adams, The Nutty Professor, and The Nutty Professor 2: The Klumps. In addition, Oedekerk developed an interest in computer animation, producing the short subject Santa vs. the Snowman and writing the Oscar-nominated feature Jimmy Neutron, Boy Genius. As a sideline, Oedekerk also began creating a series of comic short subjects in which he parodied popular movies using dressed-up thumbs as his actors, including Thumb Wars: The Phantom Cuticle and Thumbtanic. In 2002, Oedekerk found himself in the leading role of a feature film again when he cast himself in a pet project, a parody of low-budget martial arts films entitled Kung Pow!: Enter the Fist.
Though he would step back behind the scenes in the following few years to focus on producing and directing rather than cracking audiences up on camera, Oedekerk still managed to keep audiences both young and old in stitches by creating the hit Nickelodeon series Jimmy Neutron: Boy Genius, the animated 3D IMAX short Santa Vs. the Snowman, and serving as both screenwriter and executive producer for the 2003 Carrey comedy Bruce Almighty. By the time Bruce Almighty hit screens, audiences could tell that Oedekerk's manic sense of silly was still as strong as ever, and just three short years later that point was driven home when the increasingly prolific writer/director returned to the screens with the kid-friendly, computer animated comedy Barnyard. The tale of a laid-back heifer who finds himself placed in charge of the animals while the famer is away, Barnyard would hit theaters just about the time Oedekerk assumed the role of executive producer for the Steve Carell sequel Evan Almighty.