Ali studied extensively with Charna Halpern and Del Close in the 1990s at the ImprovOlympic and was a founding member of the Upright Citizens Brigade. He was a writer on Saturday Night Live during its 25th anniversary season and received a Writers Guild Award Nomination. Ali’s television credits include “Law and Order: Criminal Intent,” “Special Victims Unit,” “All My Children,” “Third Watch,” “Late Night With Conan O’Brien,” “30 Rock,” and numerous national commercials. He is an alum of SNL, The iO Theater, and Second City.
He is the owner of The Peoples Improv Theater
Farahnakian wrote for Saturday Night Live during its 25th anniversary season in 1999. Joining the team from The Second City in Chicago where they discovered him. He appeared for many years as a sketch performer on Late Night with Conan O'Brien.
He has made guest appearances on television programs such as all three NYC Law & Order’s, 30 Rock, Amy Schumer and more. In 2012, Farahnakian joined the cast for the third season of the Adult Swim show Delocated starring Jon Glaser. Farahnakian played the role of "TB the Federal Agent", Jon's bodyguard. Farahnakian has appeared in many films, commercials and done numerous voiceover.
While in Chicago he became involved in improvisational comedy, he was a student of Charna Halpern and Del Close and Mary Anne Thebus and was a performer at Chicago's Second City, ImprovOlympic and was one of the original founding members of the Upright Citizens Brigade (UCB) along with other original UCB members such as Matt Besser, Ian Roberts, Rick Roman, Horatio Sanz, and Adam McKay.
"The best performances, though, come from Ali - fascinating and deliciously understated as Dr. Qari Shah."
Tony Kushner's Homebody/Kabul at The Steppenwolf Theatre
[dir. Frank Galati]
-Chris Jones, Variety
“My friend, Ali Farahnakian, who is a genius in many ways, wrote a very funny monologue about the McDonald’s Big Mac. During the course of the monologue he would eat an entire Big Mac Extra Value Meal onstage. Because the meal was technically a prop, he made the stage manager buy it for him every night and he kept his twenty-five dollars. These were the kinds of skills you learned touring for The Second City.”
-Tina Fey (excerpt from Bossypants)
"This hilarious film's [The Misanthrope] success is in no small part due to improvisation comedy master Ali who portrays Artemis with a perfect absurdist edge while still allowing room for the character's humanity to grow."
-Ben Simington, SXSW Film Festival
"[Ali] was one of my favorites. Really groundbreaking, outrageous guy."
"the wonderfully protean Ali playing a swarmy pick up artist"
The Second City ETC
-Hedy Weiss, Chicago Sun Times
"Alis subtly symapthetic protrayal suggests such foibles are only human."
-Ricard VonBusack, San Jose Metro
"Ali whose mellow Lemonjello character should be televised."
The Second City
"Ali's abrasive performance is consistently funny."
-Alison Macor, Austin American-Statesman
"Most of what makes the film [The Misanthrope] unique and engaging is due to Ali's inspired performance."
-Mike Bertrand, Film Threat
"Ali shows a penchant for loudmouths full of loopy seriousness."
-Jack Heilbig, The Chicago Reader
"from the hypnotic Ali"
The Second City ETC
-Richard Christiansen, Chicago Tribune
A3 Artists Agency