‘The Ben Stiller Show’: Where Are They Now?

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The Ben Stiller Present ran for just one, 13-episode season, however its legacy casts a protracted shadow.

Wanting on the solid record and writers’ room is to see the germination and cross-pollination of comedian abilities that might go on to redefine sketch comedy and cross over into movement image and tv successes even followers of the present couldn’t have seen coming.

Airing on MTV in 1990-91 after which introduced over and revamped by Fox in 1992-93, the sketch sequence surrounded rising comedy star Stiller with Andy Dick, Janeane Garofalo, and Bob Odenkirk, whereas the writers’ room boasted future mainstays from Judd Apatow to David Cross to Dino Stamatopoulos, with the present ultimately profitable the Emmy for Excellent Particular person Achievement in Writing in a Selection or Music Program. Sadly, by then The Ben Stiller Present, one of many lowest-rated sequence of the 12 months, had been canceled by Fox, sending the solid and crew off to seek out success elsewhere. To an nearly common diploma, that’s what all of them did.

Aaron Rapoport / Theo Wargo, Getty Photos

Aaron Rapoport / Theo Wargo, Getty Photos

Ben Stiller

The son of married comedy legends Anne Meara and Jerry Stiller, the younger Stiller had already tasted sketch TV success when he was added as a author and one in all Saturday Evening Dwell’s featured gamers in 1989. Having beforehand gotten Lorne Michaels’ consideration along with his quick The Coloration of Cash parody (the bowling world spoof “The Hustler of Cash” aired as an SNL pre-tape in 1987), Stiller was in the end pissed off at not being allowed to create related comedy shorts for the present, leaving after solely 4 episodes. That led the bold Stiller to MTV, the place The Ben Stiller Present combined Stiller’s secure of superstar impression-led sketch parodies (Tom Cruise, Bono and Bruce Springsteen amongst his regulars) with music movies, after which to Fox, which gave Stiller higher publicity and a proficient roster of supporting expertise. None of that helped The Ben Stiller Present’s persistently abysmal rankings, and the sequence was canceled after solely 12 episodes. An unaired thirteenth episode lastly noticed the sunshine of day when the present was picked up in syndication by Comedy Central.

Undeterred by the cancellation, Stiller pursued writing, appearing, and directing, with fast success. His directorial debut, the Gen-X slacker dramedy Actuality Bites was a monetary hit and cultural touchstone, and whereas his second flip within the director’s chair, The Cable Man, underperformed as a Jim Carrey car, the darkly comedian movie has undergone a essential reappraisal within the years since. Alternating between broad comedies and indie fare, Stiller has acquired essential reward for dramatic turns in movies from Wes Anderson (The Royal Tenenbaums) and Noah Baumbach (Greenberg, Whereas We’re Younger, The Meyerowitz Tales), and scored huge field workplace success within the Meet The Dad and mom, Evening on the Museum and animated Madagascar franchises. His third directorial outing, Zoolander, noticed author/director/star Stiller rating one other field workplace hit, whereas his fourth, the Hollywood satire Tropic Thunder, equally succeeded, even netting a Finest Supporting Actor Oscar nomination for Robert Downey Jr. Married to actress Christine Taylor since 2000, Stiller, having pulled again from full-time appearing since 2017’s Mike White-directed drama Brad’s Standing and the ill-advised 2016 Zoolander follow-up, has centered on producing and directing on acclaimed sequence akin to Severance and Escape at Dannemora.

Lindsay Brice / Kevork Djansezian, Getty Photos

Lindsay Brice / Kevork Djansezian, Getty Photos

Andy Dick

Identified now extra as a cautionary story than the proficient and versatile presence he was on The Ben Stiller Present, Andy Dick is nearly a Hollywood pariah due to his lengthy historical past of drug and alcohol-fueled misbehavior. On The Ben Stiller Present, Dick greater than held his personal as a part of the sequence’ stellar ensemble, a feat he replicated because the station’s resident oddball on the superb office sitcom NewsRadio from 1995-1999 and on Much less Than Excellent from 2002-2006. Stiller gave Dick cameos in his movies Zoolander (and its sequel) and Actuality Bites, and the actor debuted his personal, self-titled MTV sketch sequence, The Andy Dick Present in 2001. That present, lasting three seasons, noticed Dick diving into the truth TV world for inspiration, which foreshadowed his participation in precise actuality exhibits Dancing With the Stars and Superstar Spouse Swap. His semi-autobiographical directorial debut, Danny Roane: First Time Director, a few washed-up former TV star making an attempt a comeback, went direct to DVD.

Dick’s fame now stems largely from his lengthy string of arrests, legal complaints and substance-fueled incidents, each on and offscreen, along with his most up-to-date arrests, for felony housebreaking and sexual assault, coming in 2022. The comedian was additionally bodily faraway from the set of Jimmy Kimmel Dwell! for groping future first daughter Ivanka Trump and ejected from the AVN pornographic movie awards for doing the identical to grownup actress Tera Patrick. Whereas persevering with to seek out work right here and there, Dick’s final high-profile half was in a single 2017 episode of the Wachowskis’ sci-fi sequence Sense8.

Aaron Rapoport / Theo Wargo, Getty Photos

Aaron Rapoport / Theo Wargo, Getty Photos

Janeane Garofalo

Already a longtime stand-up by the point she was solid on The Ben Stiller Present, Jeneane Garofalo continued her affiliation with Stiller, costarring in Stiller’s directorial debut Actuality Bites, and starring alongside him within the cult superhero comedy Thriller Males in 1999. Breaking out as an unconventional rom-com lead in movies like The Reality About Cats and Canines and The Matchmaker, Garofalo was a gentle presence in Hollywood by the Nineteen Nineties, together with a compelling dramatic flip as a deputy within the Sylvester Stallone movie Cop Land in 1997. Solid as the top of a dysfunctional summer season camp within the teen film parody Moist Scorching American Summer season in 2001 proved a significant and fruitful endeavor, because the cult hit has gone on to spawn two acclaimed and belated sequel streaming sequence in 2015 and 2017.

At all times outspoken, Garofalo notably give up Saturday Evening Dwell halfway by that sketch establishment’s 1994-95 season over what she thought of demeaning and homophobic writing and the present’s perceived boys’ membership sexism. A lot happier was her time on Garry Shandling’s beautiful discuss present satire The Larry Sanders Present, the place Garofalo scored two Emmy nominations for her function as a beleaguered expertise booker for Shandling’s egotistical late-night host. Garofalo voiced the feminine lead in Pixar’s smash hit animated movie Ratatouille in 2007, joined The West Wing for its ultimate season, costarred with Forest Whitaker within the short-lived 2011 police spinoff Legal Minds: Suspect Habits and stays a staple of the New York comedy scene.

Jeff Kravitz / Alberto E. Rodriguez, Getty Photos

Jeff Kravitz / Alberto E. Rodriguez, Getty Photos

Bob Odenkirk

Whereas The Ben Stiller Present was largely engineered to highlight its star’s broadly foolish superstar impressions, the sequence more and more made room for impressed, inimitable premises like “Manson,” a black-and-white parody of the outdated Lassie TV present, solely substituting Bob Odenkirk’s wild-eyed, rambling Charles Manson for the unique’s loyal collie. It was on this present that Odenkirk met writers David Cross and Dino Stamatopoulos who would take part creating HBO’s Mr. Present With Bob and David, a sketch sequence the place such brilliantly unusual and ingenious concepts had been the usual all through the present’s 4 seasons. Odenkirk, like Jeneane Garofalo, had skilled a irritating tenure as a author for Saturday Evening Dwell from 1987-91. After honing his on-air presence throughout The Ben Stiller Present, Odenkirk emerged as one of the vital unique and hilarious practitioners of sketch comedy ever, as he, Cross and a stacked workers of writers and costars shone for 4 stellar seasons.

If that had been all that Odenkirk achieved, the unassuming former Second Metropolis star and Late Evening With Conan O’Brien author would maintain a safe place in American comedy. However, submit Mr. Present, Odenkirk took to producing, discovering and selling the work of influential various comics Tim Heidecker and Eric Wareheim of their sequence, Tom Goes to the Mayor and Tim and Eric Superior Present, Nice Job. He later did the identical service for the sketch comedy troupe The Birthday Boys, govt producing the group’s IFC sequence in 2013. In the meantime, Odenkirk was a welcome and common presence on TV, livening up sitcoms from All people Loves Raymond to How I Met Your Mom. Odenkirk additionally directed the underrated indie talk-fest Melvin Goes to Dinner earlier than helming two underwhelming studio comedies in Let’s Go to Jail and The Brothers Solomon.

Nevertheless it was Breaking Unhealthy creator Vince Gilligan’s canny casting of Odenkirk as sleazy lawyer Saul Goodman in that Emmy-winning drama’s second season that exposed a wholly new aspect to Odenkirk. Parlaying his work on that acclaimed sequence onto the prequel spinoff sequence Higher Name Saul noticed Odenkirk rising as one in all tv’s most interesting dramatic leads as properly, with that present’s six seasons arguably surpassing its mum or dad sequence in essential acclaim, largely on account of Odenkirk’s efficiency because the conflicted, corruptible Jimmy McGill. Nominated for a Finest Actor Emmy yearly of the sequence run, Odenkirk has continued to work in each comedy and drama. He wrote and starred within the Netflix crime dramedy Girlfriends Day, and he and Cross reunited the Mr. Present workforce for a sequel sketch sequence W/Bob & David for the streaming service in 2015. Odenkirk additionally stretched into the motion style, starring within the unlikely essential and business hit No person, as a seemingly bizarre suburban dad revealed as a former lethal murderer. Odenkirk suffered a coronary heart assault quickly after finishing No person, collapsing in the course of the filming of Higher Name Saul’s sixth season, however recovered to complete out the sequence. The title of his 2022 memoir Comedy Comedy Comedy Drama ably sums up Odenkirk’s profession path, with the actor presently getting ready to play the lead in AMC’s Fortunate Hank, a sequence based mostly on the novel Straight Man by Richard Russo, debuting in March 2023.

Jeff Kravitz / Bryan Bedder, Getty Photos

Jeff Kravitz / Bryan Bedder, Getty Photos

David Cross

Introduced in towards the top of The Ben Stiller Present‘s run, David Cross’ neatly outrageous sensibilities (see the Cross-written sketch “The Legend of T.J. O’Pootertoot’s”) rapidly meshed with these of Bob Odenkirk and Dino Stamatopoulos. After this present’s cancellation, the three Emmy-winning writers would go on to sketch greatness, with Cross and Odenkirk creating and starring in Mr. Present for HBO, with Stamatopoulos within the writers’ room. Mr. Present‘s 4 seasons redefined the sketch type even when, like The Ben Stiller Present, viewers had been exhausting to come back by.

Publish-Mr. Present, Cross launched a gentle profession as a personality actor, his flip because the clueless Dr. Tobias Fünke, initially meant as a minor character on Arrested Growth, changing into a fan favourite and common. Cross created the darkly comedian sequence The More and more Poor Selections of Todd Margaret for Britain’s Channel 4 and IFC, which ran for 4 critically acclaimed seasons, and the British sequence Bliss, starring Stephen Mangan, all whereas turning up in profitable supporting roles in Hollywood (Cross has been hilariously frank about his causes for showing within the Alvin and the Chipmunks movies). Cross directed the indie movie Hits in 2014 earlier than he, Odenkirk, and a lot of the Mr. Present crew returned for the Netflix follow-up sketch sequence W/Bob & David. The comic has been a headlining stand-up all through his profession, with a number of specials and albums to his credit score, and branched out to a number one man with a delicate efficiency in 2020’s The Darkish Divide.

Ron Galella, Ltd. / Momodu Mansaray, Getty Photos

Ron Galella, Ltd. / Momodu Mansaray, Getty Photos

Judd Apatow

After serving as co-creator and author for The Ben Stiller Present, Judd Apatow has gone on to change into one of the vital profitable and influential comedy voices in Hollywood. His one-season TV sequence Freaks & Geeks and Undeclared are held up as uncared for gems, whereas his string of big-screen hits contains such improv-heavy comedies as The 40 12 months Previous Virgin, Knocked Up, Humorous Folks, This Is 40, Trainwreck and The King of Staten Island. The pandemic proved a stumbling block, because the filmmaker’s 2022 shutdown-inspired Hollywood satire The Bubble flopped, however Apatow continues his scorching hand as producer, with huge display screen hits from Bridesmaids to Forgetting Sarah Marshall, to the Oscar-winning The Massive Sick, to final 12 months’s Bros. His golden contact has stretched to TV as properly, with essential hits like Ladies, Love and Crashing. Apatow has additionally paid tribute to his comedy heroes within the documentaries The Zen Diaries of Garry Shandling and George Carlin’s American Dream.

Ethan Miller, Getty Photos

Ethan Miller, Getty Photos

Dino Stamatopoulos

After writing on The Ben Stiller Present, Dino Stamatopoulos has gone on to work on a few of the most acclaimed and bold TV comedies of current years. Finest often called the recurring character Alex “Star Burns” Osbourne on the excellent sitcom Neighborhood (the place he was additionally a author), Stamatopoulos has additionally written for Late Evening With Conan O’Brien, the equally short-lived and ahead-of-its-time sketch sequence The Dana Carvey Present, The Late Present With David Letterman and Mr. Present With Bob and David, the place Stamatopoulos is credited with creating such basic sketches as “Pre-Taped Name-In Present” and “The Audition.” Stamatopoulos additionally teamed with SNL’s Robert Smigel for the lone season of Comedy Central’s model of Smigel’s TV Funhouse and created the darkly sensible stop-motion Grownup Swim sequence Morel Orel and Mary Shelley’s Frankenhole.

Charles Eshelman/FilmMagic, Getty Photos

Charles Eshelman/FilmMagic, Getty Photos

Robert Cohen

Introduced onto The Ben Stiller Present‘s writing workers with a single, albeit memorable Simpsons credit score below his belt (Season 3’s “Flaming Moe’s”), Robert Cohen was a part of the workforce that received the present its Emmy earlier than happening to a prolific profession in TV comedy. He is served as author, director and/or producer for every part from The Massive Bang Concept to MadTV, and has written episodes for Maron and Woman Dynamite, each semi-autobiographical sitcoms constructed round acclaimed stand-ups Marc Maron and Maria Bamford, respectively.

Cohen, a sought-after awards present author and co-creator with Dana Gould of the present discuss present parody Hanging With Dr. Z, discovered his Ben Stiller Present legacy rearing up unexpectedly in 2012 when, whereas submitting paperwork for his marriage to Jimmy Kimmel Dwell producer Jill Leiderman, he was knowledgeable that he and Ben Stiller star Janeane Garofalo had been married. The onetime couple had gone by a Las Vegas drive-thru chapel in a taxi, imagining their joke nuptials would not be formal until they filed the correct paperwork. The couple’s 20-year goof marriage was dissolved quickly after.

Amanda Edwards, Getty Photos

Amanda Edwards, Getty Photos

Brent Forrester

By no means a family identify, Brent Forrester has but been entrance and heart for a few of the most influential TV comedies of all time, having written six basic episodes of The Simpsons (together with “Homerpalooza,” which drew from the straightlaced Forrester being referred to as a “narc” whereas doing Lollapalooza analysis), The Workplace and King of the Hill. Forrester, alongside Ben Stiller Present vet Dino Stamatopoulos, additionally co-wrote the Mr. Present sketches “Pre-Taped Name-In Present” and “The Audition,” broadly acclaimed as two of the sequence’ greatest, and is presently re-teamed with The Workplace‘s Steve Carell, writing a number of episodes of House Pressure.





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