Leigh Daniel "Dan" Avidan (born March 14, 1979), also known by his stage name Danny Sexbang, is an American Internet personality, singer-songwriter, and comedian. He is one half of the musical comedy duo Ninja Sex Party with Brian Wecht, as well as the co-host of the Let's Play webseries Game Grumps with Arin Hanson. He is also part of the video game-based comedy music group Starbomb, alongside both Wecht and Hanson.
Avidan was born and raised in Springfield, New Jersey, the oldest of two children of Debra Schwartz and Avigdor Avidan. His father was born and raised in Israel, before emigrating to America where he met Avidan's mother. His younger sister, Dana Avidan, is a bench jeweler, and the executive style correspondent of InStyle magazine. After graduating from Jonathan Dayton High School in 1997, Avidan pursued advertising at Boston University in Boston, Massachusetts. After dropping out due to disinterest in the course, Avidan entered a student exchange program, attending the Tufts University satellite campus in Talloires, France to study botany in the French Alps.
2003–2008: The Northern Hues and Skyhill
In late 2003, Avidan joined the indie rock band The Northern Hues, a Philadelphia-based group created in early 2002, composed of guitarists Aron Brand and Jeff Rains, Alex Yaker, Justin Earley, and Ian Creech. Avidan acted as the group's lead singer and songwriter, and provided most of the band's lyrics while staying in northern New Jersey. They released one self-titled EP and one live album recorded in early 2005, at World Cafe Live in Philadelphia. In mid-2005, the band split up; Avidan attributes the separation to spending "years in [a band] that went nowhere due to lack of planning and focus."
In the winter of 2006, Avidan teamed up with Peter Lennox to form a Brooklyn-based alternative pop duo named Skyhill. Again, Avidan acted as lead singer and songwriter, and the group released one full album, Run With The Hunted, on May 16, 2007. They toured New York in 2008, before eventually separating due to creative differences. On October 7, 2015, Avidan and Lennox returned to release the one-track album Firefly, acclaimed for the band's "maturing in both lyrics and sound" over their previous album.
2009–2012: Ninja Sex Party formation
In 2009, Avidan began studying storytelling at the Upright Citizens Brigade Theatre in New York, under the guidance of Margot Leitman. After joining the theatre's comedy troupe, Avidan began conceptualizing the possibility of a new musical project. In need of a producer, Avidan was introduced to Brian Wecht, who was the musical director of another troupe, by mutual friends at the theatre. Avidan had already chosen the name "Ninja Sex Party," in addition to designing a costume for himself, and worked together with Wecht to create characters to represent the band. They eventually settled with "Danny Sexbang" as Avidan's character, and "Ninja Brian" as Wecht's. The duo first gained popularity by performing as a musical guest on Leitman's improvisational comedy show Stripped Stories. Inspired by The Lonely Island and Flight of the Conchords, the band is about "a Jewish superhero who wears a unitard, with his best friend who's a ninja, and together they sing songs about dicks, and try to hit [unsuccessfully] on women."
The group has released several studio albums and singles, many of the latter of which have charted on Billboard. As of 2016, they have released three studio albums, one cover album, and are producing one untitled album yet to be released.
2013–present: Game Grumps and Starbomb
In mid-2013, Jon Jafari left his position as co-host of the Let's Play webseries Game Grumps. With Jafari's departure, Arin Hanson, creator of the series, brought Avidan on to replace him as co-host. Avidan would also join Ross O'Donovan as co-host of the Game Grumps spin-off show Steam Train, where both play PC games. Avidan has remained the co-host of the show since. In addition to this, Avidan has acted as a co-host of other shows from the Game Grumps platform, including Grumpcade, and Steam Rolled, as well as providing narration for Hunting Monsters.
In late 2013, Avidan, Wecht, and Hanson teamed up to create a side project band named Starbomb, with Avidan as the lead singer-songwriter. The band writes parody songs about video games, bringing together the sexually provocative music stylings of Avidan's Ninja Sex Party and the video game-based humor of Hanson. As of 2016, the group has released two albums, both of which have placed on various Billboard charts.
In mid-2012, Avidan briefly partnered with Mondo Media to co-create and host a sketch comedy miniseries written by Lena Dunham called Dirty Shorts, in which Avidan portrayed an exaggerated version of himself, similar to that of Danny Sexbang. The series was not received well, and was dropped after the first 12-episode season. Avidan has commented that the Mondo Media staff experience was welcoming, although he was not confident that the way his character was written would appeal to audiences. Avidan also created, wrote, and provided voice acting for the studio's short-lived animated comedy miniseries, DJs in PJs. Avidan returned to Mondo in September 2013 to compose "Dick Figures: The Movie: The Song" for the Dick Figures: The Movie soundtrack with Ninja Sex Party.
Avidan has also appeared on various YouTube webseries as a guest, including Did You Know Gaming?, a webseries dedicated to video game trivia, Good Mythical Morning, a variety show hosted by Rhett and Link, and Nacho Punch, a sketch comedy webseries.
On August 3, 2015, Avidan performed with Steel Panther at their House of Blues venue, singing "Party All Day." The two have collaborated on multiple occasions, with Steel Panther making a cameo in Ninja Sex Party's "Road Trip" music video, and providing vocals for "6969."
Avidan currently lives in Glendale, California, along with the other members of the Game Grumps platform.
The Northern Hues
- The Northern Hues EP (2004)
- World Cafe Live 2005 (2005)
- Run With The Hunted (2007)
- Firefly (2015)
Ninja Sex Party
|TBA||The Players' Score: A Video Game Music Documentary||Himself|
|2012||Dirty Shorts||Himself||12 episodes|
|2012||DJs in PJs||Slice (voice)||2 episodes|
|2013–present||Game Grumps||Himself (voice)||2,000+ episodes; co-host|
|2014||Nacho Punch||Himself||Episode: "Hipsters Love Coffee"|
|2014||Co-Optitude||Himself||Episode: "Twisted Metal"|
|2015||Did You Know Gaming?||Himself (voice)||Episode: "Guitar Hero"|
|2015||Red vs. Blue||Fed (voice)||Episode: "Temple of the Key"|
|2015||On the Spot||Himself||Episode: "RTX 2015 (ft. Game Grumps)"|
|2015||Good Mythical Morning||Himself||Episode: "What's Up My Sleeve? ft. Game Grumps"|
|2016||MatPat's Game Lab||Himself||Episode: "Can Gamers Defuse BOMBS?"|
|2013||The Indoor Kids||Himself||Episode: "Getting Grumpy with the Game Grumps"|
|2015–present||Balls In Your Ear||Himself||25 episodes; co-host|
|2016||Status Effect||Himself||Episode: "Game Grumps"|
|2012||DJs in PJs||2 episodes|
|2013||The Mythical Show||3 episodes|
|2013||"Breaking Bad: The Middle School Musical"||Webby-winning video short|
|2013||"Epic Rap Battle: Nerd vs. Geek"||Video short|