Ben Gleib is a busy man. From roundtables on Chelsea Lately and his own podcast called "Last Week on Earth," to acting and stand-up, Ben keeps it moving and always keeps it funny. This Tuesday (3/27) he'll be joining a hilarious line-up for "Comedy Juice" at the Irvine Improv so forget about your work day woes and get ready to get your laugh on!
OC Weekly: Esquire named you one of "the six comedians who could be comedy's next big things" and they labeled you an "alt-comic." Would you agree?
Ben Gleib: An alt-comic is usually not something I am considered because comics that fall under that category don't usually play mainstream clubs, they've created their own thing. Their comedy is a little more off the beaten path. Someone like David Cross or Patton Oswald. It's not really me but, I'll take the title because it's also someone who creates out of the box type of comedy.
There's been a lot of talk about comics having to apologize for doing their job; which is making jokes. Do you think comics need to wait a certain amount of time before joking?
After a tragedy you mean?
Yeah, that's when Al Sharpton comes out and gets pissed.
[Laughs.] Al Sharpton is always pissed first of all. I don't think there is any hard and fast rule. People say that comedy is tragedy plus time. The time can be a year or one second though, depending on the tragedy and the quality of the joke. If someone is just throwing something insensitive out there just to be a rebel then I think they should wait longer and tell a better joke. But if they have a brilliant line, I sometimes find myself laughing just moments after I hear something horrible. It's also a coping mechanism and that's very important. I don't think we should ever put restrictions or rules on comedy other than you need to be really funny.
Agreed! How is your "Last Week on Earth" podcast going?
It's going really great! It's on Kevin Smith's Smodcast Network and we debuted as the number nine comedy podcast on iTunes. It's a big challenge because what I try to do is remove the need for people to waste their lives watching hours and hours of news. I do it for you. So I'm consuming countless hours of news and trying to translate it into easily understood ways. Also, I try to make it really funny and entertaining for people. It's quite a lot of work but I'm pretty happy with the end result. I've also been fortunate enough to get some really wonderful celebrity guests to come on. I have an episode with a guest every other week and then ever other week, I do it by myself.
Any stand-out guests that killed it for you?
Yeah! I've really enjoyed quite a lot of them though. The Sophia Bush episode was a lot of fun. I really enjoyed the Greg Proops episode because he's one of the smartest social satirist's out there. Brian Cranston was maybe my favorite because Breaking Bad is my favorite TV show. To have him come over to what he called, "my shitty little apartment," and to talk to me about acting and the state of the world was an exciting event for me in my life.
Would you like to make a public plea to anyone so they'll come and do your show? OC Weekly is viewed by only important you know.
Oh man! That's a great question! I would love to get one of the Republican candidates for President to come on. I make fun of them every week! I believe what I am saying is always based on logic and they obviously believe what they are saying is based on logic. I would hope they would come on and debate with me. That'd be great. Or Obama. That'd be great too.
It's almost your one year anniversary of getting on TMZ with the whole Brandon Davis thing. Any words of reflection?
[Laughs.] Well you know it's been a whirlwind year since my TMZ debut. I really feel that TMZ makes so much possible for the betterment of the world, and I'm being sarcastic.
So what's up for Tuesday at the Improv?
I'm really excited about doing the show because the Comedy Juice shows are always the best shows and the one in Irvine has a very unique vibe. Its got a lot of college students in the crowd and they're often not very sober. It really challenges you to keep their attention. It often changes the style of my act and it goes into quite a lot more trash talking to the audience, doing crowd work, and just having an insane time on stage as opposed to doing all of my preplanned jokes. It's a fun time.
Speaking of fun, if there was a "most interesting man in the world" commercial about you, what would be your catch phrase?
[Laughs.] Let me think. It's hard to talk about yourself like that! It would be, he swims in bathtubs and can murder a mountain lion with his thoughts.
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Wow. That would actually make you a magician.
But a murderous magician!
You can get your Ben Gleib fix by checking out his podcast, his website www.BenGleib.com, or following him on Twitter @BenGleib. Ben Gleib performs at the Irvine Improv tomorrow. Call 949-854-5455 or log onto www.improv.com for tickets. The Improv is located at 71 Fortune Drive, Irvine.