With a background in improvisational comedy and a reputation as a class clown, Dax Shepard seemed the obvious choice for the role of a [[Feature~V289405~Punk'd~punkd[tvseries]]] field agent -- and the opportunity to put one over on some of the biggest names in show business must have been impossible to resist. Though it wasn't his first onscreen role, [[Feature~V289405~Punk'd~punkd[tvseries]]] provided Shepard with the recognition needed to further his onscreen career, and just a year after debuting with [[Performer~P242492~Ashton Kutcher~ashtonkutcher]]'s merry band of pranksters, the up-and-coming comic actor was scheduled to appear in no less than three major film releases. A native of Milford, MI, Shepard studied improv with the famed Groundlings troupe before moving to Los Angeles to study anthropology at UCLA. A minor part as a partygoer who couldn't hold his liquor in the 1998 romantic comedy [[Feature~V173737~Hair Shirt~toosmooth]] offered Shepard his first film role, and though there would be a five-year gap between that role and a minor supporting role in the 2003 comedy [[Feature~V285902~Cheaper by the Dozen~cheaperbythedozen]], the exposure that he would subsequently gain from [[Feature~V289405~Punk'd~punkd[tvseries]]] more than made up for any lost time before the cameras. In 2004, Shepard appeared opposite [[Performer~P28493~Seth Green~sethgreen]] and [[Performer~P196768~Matthew Lillard~matthewlillard]] in the wide-release comedy [[Feature~V291143~Without a Paddle~withoutapaddle]], with supporting roles in [[Feature~V326358~Sledge: The Untold Story~sledge:theuntoldstory]] and [[Performer~P213433~Mike Judge~mikejudge]]'s long-delayed sci-fi comedy [[Feature~V307879~Idiocracy~idiocracy]] following soon thereafter. Small-screen work on My Name Is Earl and [[Feature~V340915~Robot Chicken~robotchicken[animatedtvseries]]] served well to keep the bills paid as Shepard climbed into astronaut gear for [[Performer~P22880~Jon Favreau~jonfavreau]]'s enjoyable 2005 fantasy [[Feature~V310130~Zathura~zathura]].
As 2006 dawned, Shepard continued to stick with his genre roots for several screen comedies. The typically placid and low-key actor donned a sav-mart clerk's uniform and waged war on [[Performer~P271377~Dane Cook~danecook]] to vie for the affections of bombshell [[Performer~P303385~Jessica Simpson~jessicasimpson]] in the madcap comedy [[Feature~V339716~Employee of the Month~employeeofthemonth]], produced by [[Feature~V280673~The Cosby Show~thecosbyshow[tvseries]]]'s Carsey-Werner Entertainment and released in November 2006. At about the same time, Shepard geared up for a quartet of roles throughout 2007 and 2008. He would appear in [[Feature~V325003~Let's Go to Prison!~letsgotoprison]], a kind of scaled-down comic update of the 1940 [[Feature~V102406~Millionaires in Prison~millionairesinprison]], about a career criminal (Shepard) and a rich man ([[Performer~P214970~Will Arnett~willarnett]]) thrown into the same prison cell ([[Feature~V263932~Mr. Show~mrshow[tvseries]]]'s [[Performer~P266630~Bob Odenkirk~bobodenkirk]] directs). He had a fine supporting turn in the Tina Fey/Amy Poehler comedy Baby Mama, and in 2010 he became a regular on the television series Parenthood. Two years later he directed the action comedy Hit & Run, co-starring his then girlfriend Kristen Bell, who he married in 2013. ~ Jason Buchanan, Rovi