Comic writer Ames is blessed with a total lack of inhibition when it comes to his work, which mines the embarrassing, the shocking, and the sexually transgressive to unique tragicomic effect. He admits to being "probably the gayest straight writer in America."

Ames grew up in suburban New Jersey in a middle-class Jewish family and attended Princeton and Columbia, where he studied with Joyce Carol Oates before receiving an MFA in Creative Writing. His senior thesis became his first novel, I Pass Like Night (1989), which was blurbed by Philip Roth ("an authentic voice of youthful suffering"), but Ames' truly captured the public's attention in the late '90s when he started contributing to the New York Press. His columns and essays regaled readers with graphic details of his sexual exploits with transsexuals, his masturbatory habits, his preoccupation with his rapidly-thinning hair, and much more. Perhaps best known for his well received compilations of journalism, he has gained new fans with his work on the small screen. Ames has appeared several times on The Late Show with David Letterman and on Curb Your Enthusiasm, and even though pilot of What's Not To Love, which Ames wrote and acted in, didn't get picked up, he scored with a few seasons of the critically beloved cult fave Bored to Death. [Image via Getty]