Ted Rall was born in Cambridge, MA, and grew up in Ohio. He started his comic career in 1980, when his first cartoons were published in a local newspaper. He started studying physics at Columbia University, where his cartoons appeared in the Columbia Daily Spectator. In 1984, Ted Rall was expelled for disciplinary and academic reasons, and gave up cartooning, finding jobs varying from loan officer to taxi driver. In 1986, Rall met artist Keith Haring and became inspired to pick up cartooning again. In 1991, he finally graduated in history at the Columbia University, and got his comics taken on by San Francisco Chronicle Syndicate. In 1996, he moved to Press Syndicate, and by now his work appeared in numerous national newspapers and magazines. In 1997, Ted Rall also started writing columns, focusing on social issues, the environment and pop culture as well as politics.
Ted Rall's comics have been collected in 'Waking Up America' (1992), 'All the Rules Have Changed' (1995), 'Real Americans Admit: The Worst Thing I've Ever Done!' (1996, won the Firecracker Alternative Book Award in 1997), 'My War With Brian' (1998), 'Search and Destroy' (2001) and 'To Afghanistan and Back' (2002).
In 1995, Rall was awarded the Robert F. Kennedy Journalism Award for Cartoons. A year later, he was one of three finalists for the Pulitzer Prize. In 1998, he began doing color strips for Time Magazine and Fortune Magazine, and was awarded the Deadline Club Award by the Society of Professional Journalists for his comic work.