Born in Minneapolis, Minnesota, Vaughn was raised by his mother. His father left them when he was three years old. He graduated from Richfield High School and became a star football player for the team (he played quarterback). After graduating he went to St. Cloud State University but dropped out after one year to pursue an acting career full time.
At first he struggled getting roles due to his "short" stature (5' 8''). Despite that setback Vaughn continued to work various jobs including painting houses and delivering medicine as well as working at Red Lobster where he got into physical fights with customers who would try to get free food because they claimed it tasted bad.
He also worked at Golden Apple Comics store where he befriended future collaborator/co-star Kevin Smith which led him up on stage during Smith's standup gigs so Vaughn could tell jokes of his own making up stories about himself that were actually true based on things that had happened.
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