A veteran of the national comedy scene, this amusing Midwesterner honed his humor on big-city stages, training with Chicago's famed Second City, touring the country in the improv outfit Slotnick, Katz and Lehr (which he cofounded), and mounting his one-man show The Lehr Curse: A Series of Comedic Lectures
off-Broadway. In 1993, he went to Los Angeles and began penning pilots (few of which came to fruition) and landing TV guest spots as well as small film parts. He eventually got some bigger TV gigs, including a one-year stint on the Christina Applegate sitcom Jesse
as the title character's brother, and a job hosting the reality show I'm a Celebrity, Get Me Out of Here!
A series of commercials gave him his most high-profile role, portraying one of Geico's popular cavemen. Lehr then combined his skills in front of and behind the camera when he cocreated and produced his own starring vehicle, the semi-improvised comedy 10 Items or Less
, in 2006. Filmed at a real grocery store, the series focused on supermarket employees and their hijinks.John Lehr Fast Facts:
- Is a former elementary-school teacher.
- Starred in a number of Chicago theatrical productions after graduating from college, including The Filmdome, ED and The Chris Hogan Show.
- In 1994, cofounded the improvisational theater company Slotnick, Katz & Lehr with Joey Slotnick and Lauren Katz.
- While dating his wife, she and her family inspired him to convert to Judaism.
- Improvised comedy Memron, which Lehr starred in and associate-produced, won the 2003 Slamdance Film Festival's Audience Choice Award.
- Created and performed an acclaimed off-Broadway, one-man show titled The Lehr Curse: A Series of Comedic Lectures.
- Portrayed one of the Geico cavemen in the insurance company's popular series of commercials, enduring three hours of makeup for the role.
- Cocreated and starred in TBS sitcom 10 Items or Less, which was shot in a real, functioning grocery store and featured scripted story lines but completely ad-libbed dialogue.
- While promoting 10 Items or Less in 2007, he pretended to nearly die from choking during an interview that went viral and was believed by many who saw it. He later admitted it was a hoax.
- Had a voice role in a 2009 episode of American Dad.
- John Lehr Relationships:
- Jennifer Lehr - Wife
- Kris Cheatum - Mother
- Raymond Lehr - Father
- Jules Walker Lehr - Daughter
- Steve Lehr - Brother
- Northwestern University, Evanston, IL (BA in Education, 1988)