Ben Gleib is a stand-up comedian who is best known as the host of the popular Emmy-nominated game show Idiotest for which he also serves as the head writer and executive producer. Born and raised in Los Angeles, California, Ben began his career as a stand-up comedian who also appeared on humorous radio shows. Named by TBS as one of the “Funniest Comedians Working Today,” he has frequently appeared on the E! Network’s Chelsea Lately and was the first comedian to ever live stream a full headline set on Facebook Live.
Ben has been headlining comedy clubs around the globe since 2007 and has toured arenas with Chelsea Handler and Dane Cook. His podcast, Last Week on Earth, debuted on iTunes Comedy in the top 10, and his online videos have received more than 25 million views and counting. Ben can also be seen contributing to CNN and NPR and is a winner of the Golden Mic award. Aside from comedy, Ben is an accomplished voiceover actor who has participated in films such as The Book of Life and Ice Age: Continental Drift, which was one of the highest-grossing animated movies.
Ben is also an experienced actor who was featured on the NBC hidden-camera TV series The Real Wedding Crashers and the feature films Bar Starz and Jay & Silent Bob’s Super Groovy Cartoon Movie. He recently co-anchored The Young Turks and one week of ABC News Digital from their famed world news headquarters in New York. Ben also hosted ABC’s Oscar Roadtrip during the pre-show of the 85th Academy Awards, and he is the star of a web-series titled Cinedopes, which can be viewed on YouTube.
Moreover, Ben is one of the leads in the movie Bad People that is currently available on Amazon and iTunes, and he is a regular on the Today show with Kathy Lee and Hoda. He also has a Showtime special airing called Ben Gleib: Neurotic Gangster. Still dedicated to stand-up comedy, Ben Gleib is currently on his first live tour in 2017 performing stand-up gigs throughout the United States.
Recently, he discussed his career and his hopes for the future.
Meagan Meehan (MM): When did you know that comedy was your calling?
Ben Gleib (BG): When I was about 6-years-old I knew it’s what I wanted to do. I had to wait quite a while until I could start getting paid for it!
MM: How did you get involved with Idiotest?
BG: GSN told me they were looking for a show for me. I didn’t believe it. Then they offered me one. Luckily it was a perfect fit for me. I probably wouldn’t have been a good host for Skin Wars. Rebecca Romijn was a better choice for that one.
MM: As the show’s host, you playfully rib the contestants. Do you meet them before the start of the game/recording and go over what you’re going to say to them?
BG: I do not. I like everything to be as off-the-cuff as possible. I shake their hands and introduce myself just 10 seconds before we tape. Unless I hear they are nervous to meet me then I don’t, because nervousness makes for good TV. There’s nothing fun about watching people be bored.
MM: You do a lot of stand-up comedy. What have been some of the most memorable audience reactions to your routines?
BG: I just love when a room is packed to the gills and the laughter is explosive. It’s the best feeling in the world. Well…second best. I got to open for Dane Cook on three of his arena tours and playing in the round to thousands of people is an insane feeling…But still second best.
MM: You have worked on TV series and movies as well. Has one medium (and role) been especially fun?
BG: Idiotest is the most fun. Somehow, in the midst of an intellectually challenging brain teasing show, I get to go nuts and use it as a comedic playground. I love it. But seven years on Chelsea Lately was pretty damn fun too.
MM: How do you hope your career evolves over the next decade?
BG: I hope I get to continue doing Idiotest for a long time to come. But I also want to write and host a political show, I am developing one currently, and one day I want to host a late-night talk show. That’s my dream project. I want to one day host the Emmys and Oscars, too. In that order.
MM: What advice can you give to aspiring comedians?
BG: Only do it if you are willing to start on a super hard, super long journey. Only do it if the love of comedy is so strong you don’t care about the money. Because it doesn’t pour in.
MM: To date, what has been the most rewarding part of working in the entertainment industry?
BG: Making people laugh. It is simply the best. I get to bring joy to people, not a bad gig.
MM: Are there any upcoming events that you would like to mention?
BG: I’m currently on my 2017 stand-up tour called “The #GleibSquadTour” which is coming to Atlanta, Tampa, St. Louis and more cities being added. I do a free meet and greet after every show. You can get tickets at my website. You can follow me on social media @bengleib, I tweet, post on Facebook, and do Instagram stories every day.
[Featured Image by Ben Gleib]