He was born Daniel Mark Pudi, and grew up in Chicago, IL, raised by his mother, Teresa Pudi. After graduating high school, he attended Marquette University in Milwaukee, WI, which awarded him the first ever Chris Farley Scholarship - named for the late comic actor and Marquette grad - given to a student in the university's College of Speech who is displays exceptional "creativity and positive use of humor," per Marquette's website. He graduated college in 2001 and returned to Chicago, where he was accepted into the Conservatory Program of the city's famed hotbed of comedic talent, The Second City. After a performance at a small comedy club, Pudi met another aspiring Indian comic, Ranjit Souri, who brought Pudi into a local all-Asian-American comedy troupe - including performers of Japanese, Filipino, Vietnamese, Chinese and Indian origins - called Stir-Friday Night! Also a member of the troupe was Rasika Mathur, another comedian of South Asian descent. Two years later, the three comics branched off into their own sketch comedy group, Siblings of Doctors. In 2004, Pudi married Bridget Showalter, a teacher originally from Dyersville, IA.Not long thereafter, Mathur and the newlyweds made the move to Los Angeles, where Pudi picked up commercial work and some guest roles on hit TV shows such as "ER" (NBC, 1994-2009) and "The West Wing" (NBC, 1999-2006) and also landed a recurring role on four episodes of "Gilmore Girls" (The WB/The CW, 2000-07). He and the two other Siblings of Doctors reunited periodically for comedy festivals or brief stands in major markets - all of which were highlighted by Pudi and Souri's Indian/cricket-themed revise of Abbott and Costello's "Who's on First?" routine, recast as "Who's the Bowler?" In 2006, Pudi starred in the L.A. stage production of Indian-American playwright Rajiv Joseph's "Huck & Holden." He netted a four-episode recurring role on the ABC Family college comedy, "Greek" (2007-11), did a funny one-off turn on the TBS sitcom "The Bill Engvall Show" (2007-09), and in early 2009, shot the ensemble teen comedy "Road Trip: Beer Pong" for summer 2009 straight-to-video release.Pudi also earned a minor buzz as the "butt-dialer" in a humorous T-Mobile commercial in 2009, but absent more regular work, he continued to work part-time as an actuarial recruiter. That all changed when producers Joe and Anthony Russo, Emmy-winners for their direction of the short-lived, much-lauded "Arrested Development" (Fox, 2003-06), cast him in their new show in the spring of 2009. "Community" would place Pudi amongst a ragtag ensemble of community college students anchored by "The Soup" (E!, 2004-15) host, Joel McHale, who played a smarmy lawyer trying rapidly to earn a legitimate degree at a local community college after the local bar association discovers the one he has to be fraudulent. Pudi, as the rambunctious, nerdy pop culture junkie Abed, offers a rapid-fire foil for McHale, and early critical raves for the show noted Pudi as a scene-stealer to watch.