On The Big Wakeup Call’s End-of-the-Year Spectacular Cavalcade of Giggles Plugfest 2017, I chat with some of my favorite guests and close, personal friends who wouldn’t dream of taking such a tender occasion to plug their projects. My next call was from my dear old friend Ben Gleib, joining the 5-timers club on the show. We talked about our wild night at the Cubs-Dodgers playoff game, Ben’s highlight of 2017, shooting down a heckler protesting human rights, a potential late-night version of Idiotest, and our regular winner-take-all Pictionary matches. Ben also just briefly mentioned his upcoming tour and podcast.Follow @bigwakeupcall
A) he likes us
B) we like him
C) he’s got new projects to promote
Answer: All of the above!
We had a fun chat discussing Season 3 of “Idiotest,” airing Tuesday nights at 10/9c on GSN) and his new standup special “Ben Gleib: Neurotic Gangster,” which airs throughout June on Showtime.Follow @bigwakeupcall
We got a great response to our last “Written Radio: The Official Transcripts of The Big Wakeup Call” feature, so we’re back with another segment for those of you who’d rather read my interviews than have to listen to me conduct them. This time our guest is the very funny Ben Gleib, standup comic and host of “Idiotest” on Game Show Network. Again, feel free to add your own inflections and enjoy!
Ben Gleib : The Big Wakeup Call Interview
Ryan Gatenby: You know our next guest from his previous appearance on this program, as well as from his show “Idiotest,” which is back for a new season Wednesday nights at 7 Central on Game Show Network. It’s Ben Gleib! Hi, Ben!
Ben Gleib: What’s going on, Ryan? Good to talk to you again.
Ryan Gatenby: I’m glad you agreed to come back on the show, Ben. I assume this means we’re now like totally best friends.
Ben Gleib: It does. They didn’t make me do it. In fact, they said “Look, you don’t have to talk to Ryan again.” I said, “I will talk to Ryan again. I must.”
Ryan Gatenby: Well, thank you, I appreciate that. So you’re back with new episodes of Idiotest. Have you guys made any radical changes to the gameplay or the set or your outfits? What are we going to see for season two?
Ben Gleib: Look, everything is changing! I mean, we have back the elements people love — we have great visual brain puzzles again, and I’m still pretty snarky with these contestants and put them in their place when they come in cocky and feel like they’re better than my game —
Ryan Gatenby: (Laughs) Nice!
Ben Gleib: But we’ve amped things up. The contestants are more interesting, and they’re better looking contestants — that was key for me to make sure we did season two. For season one, we had one touch screen in the middle of the set, and now we have two touch screens for our second season. If we get a third season, I’m hoping for three touch screens. That would be ideal.
Ryan Gatenby: (Laughs) Perfect!
Ben Gleib: And I’m wearing weirder clothes. Sometimes I don’t wear a tie and I button my shirt up to the top like I’m a hipster. I do all kinds of stuff. The show is weirder — we do cold opens, and we have sketches coming at you. It’s a very fun time, and if you enjoyed season one, you should like it. We have new kinds of tests this year — a couple animated tests, and we have really interesting rivalry episodes. We have bald guys versus hairy guys, we have cat lovers versus dog lovers, we have identical twins competing. We had an episode where models competed against each other, so obviously the scores were very low on that one.
Ryan Gatenby: But I imagine it was still one of your favorite episodes.
Ben Gleib: Oh, very much. I got a couple phone numbers, you know what I mean?
Ryan Gatenby: One change I noticed in some of the promos — the previews that GSN has been running for season two — is that your hair seems very different from season one. Was that deliberate? Did they run that through a focus group?
Ben Gleib: (Laughs) They did. They came back and they said, “people love you, but they need your hair to change.” And I said, “I will do what America wants.” My hair changes throughout the season. My hair gets long, gets short, and I have a beard for some of it and I don’t for some of it. I’m definitely fatter for season two. For season one I really cared about being skinny — I went on a crash diet. For season two, I realized I’ve already got a hit show, so I’m going to let myself go. I will be Dan Aykroyd in no time.
Ryan Gatenby: You mentioned you have a savvier group of contestants this season. Are these people who have come in and they’ve familiarized themselves with all of season one and they feel like they’re going to trip you up?
Ben Gleib: They did try. A lot of people — it was interesting, because for season one people had never seen the show, and for season two everybody had seen the show, so we were cognizant of that. When we were working on the tests, we tried to make ones that would challenge people, and we made sure that we were anticipating people had seen our tricks in season one, so we have different tricks. We were anticipating people trying to outsmart us and we flipped the script right back at them. I think you’ll find this season throws a brand new challenge into your brain when you watch it.
Ryan Gatenby: So what are we going to see on tonight’s brand new episodes?
Ben Gleib: For our first episode, we’ve got two mother-daughter teams competing against each other, and then our second episode was our April Fool’s Day episode, with a special cameo from the very lovely, very sexy host of “The Chase,” Brooke Burns. I was messed with quite a bit.
Ryan Gatenby: Oh, very nice. Ben, I thought you would fall for my not-too-clever attempt to trick you into revealing a spoiler, but obviously, you’re too smart for that.
Ben Gleib: I am totally too smart for that, and although I appreciate the attempt, it’s hurtful that you would try to do that to me. I thought you and I were close and had a bond of trust.
Ryan Gatenby: (Laughs). Whoops.
Ben Gleib: It hurts, I’m not going to lie. (Laughs)
Ryan Gatenby: Ben, when you do your standup gigs now, do you have a new audience of people who mainly just know you from “Idiotest?”
Ben Gleib: Yeah, the audience definitely expanded. I’ve been touring around the world and I have people that really enjoy the game show coming out, and it’s helping sell more tickets and make me more money, so honestly, it really works out well for all parties involved, and I’m the only party involved.
Ryan Gatenby: Are people disappointed, though, when they find out after your set that you’re not giving away $10,000?
Ben Gleib: They are. They mostly come out hoping I will give them cash, but in fact, instead I sell them my CD and they end up often losing $20, so it really is not great. I don’t recommend seeing my show when I come live to your city. You probably want to avoid it and just stay home to watch me for free.
Ryan Gatenby: You’ve been on my show a couple times now — does that make me ineligible to be a contestant on “Idiotest?” Can I still come out and audition?
Ben Gleib: No, it totally makes you ineligible. You know, first you tried to trick me, and now you’re trying to get money from me. And I’m sorry, I feel like this relationship is not what I thought it was. I thought you and I were true friends, but apparently it seems like there are just things you want from me.
Ryan Gatenby: I’m sorry, Ben. I feel ashamed, and I will beat myself up for days after this.
Ben Gleib: Well, if you send me photos of yourself beaten up, I will forgive you.
Ryan Gatenby: It’s a deal. And catch two new episodes of “Idiotest” tonight at 7 Central on GSN — is that confusing when you have to keep changing it to an hour earlier when you’re talking to people in the Central time zone? I understand it’s a controversial topic.
Ben Gleib: It’s the worst. Honestly, I think it’s annoying when every commercial, every time I tweet, I have to say “8, 7 Central.” Can’t people in the Central time zone just do that math for themselves by now?
Ryan Gatenby: You would think so, but then again, we are in the center of the country, so maybe it should center around us.
Ben Gleib: But then if you go by population, it’s a much smaller percentage — you’ve got a strong point there, but when both coasts have an 8:00 debut, you know — okay, how about this idea: just forget Central time. Pick one of the more popular time zones. Why don’t you just go Eastern?
Ryan Gatenby: I think we could. Hey, maybe you should work that into the game! I’m obviously kidding, but do you get that a lot? Do you get people coming up to you and making inappropriate suggestions for Idiotest?
Ben Gleib: I do. I get people all time telling me, “Hey, here’s an ‘Idiotest’: you should tie your shoe!” That’s not an “Idiotest.” My shoe’s just untied. You can just tell me to tie it; you don’t need to tell me I should put it on my show. Just don’t let me trip, okay? I’m not just part of the game! I’m a human being as well!
Ryan Gatenby: New episodes of “Idiotest” are on tonight at 7 Central on Game Show Network with our guest, Ben Gleib. Ben, thank you so much for joining us today, and I hope we can still be friends.
Ben Gleib: Thank you, Ryan. I feel closer to you than ever.
Thanks to our intern Jerry for transcribing this interview!
The very funny Ben Gleib returned to The Big Wakeup Call to talk about Season 2 of his popular “Idiotest” game show. We learn about a new touchscreen, better looking contestants, and a focus group’s opinion on Ben’s hair. Careful listeners will hear that Ben and I start the interview pretty much as best friends, have a bit of a falling out in the middle, but reconcile at the end.
Catch the season premiere of “Idiotest” tonight at 7 Central on Game Show Network.Follow @bigwakeupcall