Frequently Asked Questions about the Ben Stiller Show
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The first show premiered at 7:30 on Sunday, August 27, 1992. It ran until the last week of January 1993, for a total of 12 episodes on the Fox network. Two years later, Comedy Central re-ran the series, and showed an un-aired thirteenth episode.
Who were the "other" cast members and what did they do before appearing on the Show?
The fifth Stiller Show player was John O'Donohue, a former New York City police officer who got the acting bug after retiring from the force. He first met Ben while auditioning for a part in a comedy short Stiller produced with Colin Quinn called "Out of Brooklyn." O'Donohue has gone on to star in a number of sit-coms.
Another occassional face in TBSS sketches was actress Jeanne Tripplehorn, who was dating Stiller at the time. Before moving to LA to pursue acting, she was a model and radio DJ in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Her first big role was as a psychiatrist in 1992's Basic Instinct, and since then has appeared in a dozen movies, including an uncredited role in Reality Bites.
Who created the Show?
Judd Apatow and Ben Stiller were approached separately by HBO to do a sketch comedy show. Judd had worked as stand-up, opening for Jim Carrey, and writing spec scripts which never sold. Stiller had a sketch-and-music show on MTV which had just been cancelled.
How old were they when they did the Show?
Except for Bob, who had just turned 30, they were all in their 20s: Judd Apatow was just 24; Andy was 27; Ben was 26; and Janeane was 27.
What movies have they appeared in together?
Ben's directorial debut, Reality Bites, included appearances from all the cast except for Odenkirk. His second film, The Cable Guy, had cameos for everyone, including John O'Donohue (as a prison guard) and even David Cross (as a sales manager.) Cast members have shown up in the Stiller-led Permanent Midnight, and Janeane and Ben were re-united in the superhero farce Mystery Men.
Who were the writers for the show and what are they doing now?
The original staff consisted of Judd Apatow, Rob Cohen, Brent Forrester, Jeff Kahn, Bruce Kirschbaum, Bob Odenkirk, Dino Stamatopoulos, Ben Stiller and Sultan Pepper. David Cross came on-board for the last four episodes, writing the beloved "T.J. O'Pootertoots" sketch. Rob Cohen and Brent Forrester came from The Simpsons. Cohen recollects that Bruce Kirschbaum (aka "K-Bomb") was added to the staff as a "seasoned veteran" to oversee all the young writer, although his sense of humor didn't always jibe with their's.
Cross, Odenkirk and Stamatopoulos went on to do Mr. Show for HBO. Forrester returned to animation, writing and producing for King of the Hill. He also co-wrote the Tom Arnold movie The Stupids. Rob Cohen, along with Dana Gould, created the short-lived marionette action comedy Super Adventure Team for MTV. Jeff Kahn made cameos in Stiller-directed films, and was a producer on the Dilbert cartoon. Judd Apatow returned to television as creator and producer of NBC's Freaks and Geeks. I've no idea what the wonderfully named Ms. Sultan Pepper is up to.