Putner was born in East Grinstead. He studied at LAMDA where he won the Kenneth Moreprize for comedy acting.
His first significant TV role saw Putner as numerous characters in The Glam Metal Detectives shown on BBC2. His real break in comedy came after he set up the club The Regency Rooms with fellow performers Steve Furst and Oliver Darly. The club developed a cult following and was attended by many comics. Richard Herring saw Paul performing there and cast him in his play Punk's Not Dead at the Edinburgh Fringe. This role led to many others including TV roles in Lee and Herring's shows.
He has appeared in numerous British TV and radio shows, including This Morning With Richard Not Judy (1998), Sir Bernard's Stately Homes (1999), Spaced (1999), Rock Profile(2000), The Day the Music Died (2004–present), Look Around You (2004) and Little Britain (2003–2005). He appeared in a minor role as a zombie in the comedy movie Shaun of the Dead in 2004, and could also be heard on the zombies' 'commentary' track on the DVD release. More recently he has appeared in the BBC Radio 4 science fiction comedyNebulous (2005), Peacefully in their Sleeps on Radio 4 in 2007, The Peter Serafinowicz Show in 2007 and Stewart Lee's Comedy Vehicle in 2009 and 2014.
He has also contributed material to programmes including The Impressionable Jon Culshaw, Little Britain, The Peter Serafinowicz Showand is a co-creator of the website "TV Dregs".