Chances are, you’ve cracked up at Ben Gleib’s jokes on shows such as “Chelsea Lately,” “The Late Late Show,” and “Last Comic Standing.” Or maybe you’ve laughed out loud while listening to his podcast, “Last Week on Earth,” or reading his tweets and Facebook status updates.
But Gleib isn’t just a comedian -- he’s a self-proclaimed "one-man corporation." In addition to doing standup, he’s also an actor, writer, podcaster, and TV host, as well as his own social media and marketing guru. How does he manage to fit it all into 24 hours? With a lot of talent, a lot of passion for what he does, and very little sleep.
HLN: What’s the best part about being a comedian?
Ben Gleib: You literally get to do whatever you want. You get to write whatever thought hits your head, you get to share stupid thoughts with people, either online or in front of live crowds, you can be drunk doing it -- sobriety is definitely not a requirement. It’s frowned upon in some comedy circles. And you get to make people laugh wherever you go. So not only does it feel good to do it, but people usually like people who make them laugh.
HLN: So what are the drawbacks?
BG: It’s hard to get up mid-day for a 2:30 interview with HLN, but you do it because you want to get the word out. But seriously, sometimes you have to do 6 or 7 a.m. radio interviews -- that’s not the easiest to do when I went to bed at 4:30 a.m.
HLN: What about writer’s block? Has it ever been a challenge for you?
BG: I’ve never really experienced it. I promised myself freshman year of college that whenever I would think of a funny thought, I would write it down that exact moment of inspiration, so I’ve been doing that for the last million years. I’m 1 million years old, by the way. So no matter what I’m doing, I will stop and write it down.
HLN: What’s the biggest misconception about your job?
BG: That people don’t think it’s a job. But it really is -- it’s an enormous amount of work. There’s so much business that goes into it. People think it’s all just, “Oh, write jokes and tell jokes,” but it’s 10 jobs rolled into one, really. You have to market yourself. You have to maintain many different social media sites daily, and if you don’t update great, hilarious stuff while mixing in promoting yourself, people won’t follow you and your fan base won’t grow.
HLN: What else goes into your job as a comedian that people wouldn’t expect?
BG: Podcasts these days are a huge part of it. The podcast I chose to do, “Last Week on Earth,” is a news podcast summarizing everything that’s happened on the planet each week. I have no staff, no newsroom, nobody helping me, so I often pull all-nighters before recordings just to make sure they’re ready to go.
HLN: Is there such a thing as time off for you?
BG: Not really. I’m literally thinking about or writing or stewing or percolating ideas close to 24 hours a day. I wanted to take a few days off for Christmas but I didn’t and ended up doing a ton of work. I’m telling myself I’m going to take next week off, and I’m going to try, but already meetings are starting to creep up.
HLN: How do you feel about having to travel so much for work?
BG: I have a pretty positive attitude about whatever the job entails because I really do like the adventures of it and I feel like it all would make for a good book one day. But I also choose not to go on the road as much as most comedians. A lot of road dogs will travel like 50 weeks a year. I go on the road maybe 20 weeks a year, so I don’t get too tired of it. But there are times when you wish you were in L.A., with your friends and family, and you can’t. But you do it -- why? Because the money’s good and the crowds are good and you get to make people laugh.
HLN: When did you decide to pursue comedy as a career?
BG: I think I always knew in the back of my head I wanted to be an entertainer. I didn’t decide to do it for sure until my freshman year of college. I had this TV show on campus and at the end of the first year, I already started to get a pretty good fan base, so I thought, “I could do this professionally.” So I decided to gamble and try.
HLN: Now you’re a regular roundtable guest on “Chelsea Lately.” What’s the best (or worst) prank she’s ever pulled on you?
BG: She just likes to embarrass me publicly. I remember this one episode, I was looking into the prompter, and it just said “Ben.” Then Chelsea says, “Who is the worst-dressed person out of all of you?” And she points to me! And then she rolls a montage of my worst outfits…
HLN: What’s your New Year’s resolution?
BG: I’d like to sleep more. And to stop going to bed at 6 a.m. everyday, which can’t be healthy, right?
HLN: Well, you made it to a million years, so maybe lack of sleep is your secret to life longevity?
BG: Maybe it is! I am 1 million and 7, but people always tell me I look like I’m only in the 700,000s.