The Ben Stiller Show  

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Episode 10

Ben introduces special guest Dennis Miller, who "would like to say hi to you, the six to eight people out there who actually watch this show." Recently canceled himself, Miller says Stiller's show "makes me feel like Jimmy Arness, ratings-wise".

Three bachelors find an elderly gentleman on their doorstep in "Three Men and An Old Man", a sequel to the other hit "Three Men" movies. Crazy hijinks ensue as Ted Danson (Dick) fits the old man (Alvin Hammer) with a toupee, Steve Guttenberg (Stiller) spoon-feeds him dinner and Tom Selleck (Odenkirk) wrestles with the adult diapers. Worst of all, they are forced to listen to the old man's long, boring stories ("And prostate blew up...I had the operation, but it got infected...LISTEN TO ME!")

An episode of the classic television series "Manson" finds an idyllic family in the 1950s living on a farm with their pet, Manson (Odenkirk). Manson is his usual self on the telephone: "You want to talk to Mrs. Wilson? Why don't you want to talk to Charlie? You think if you don't talk to me, I'll go away, but I can't go away because I'm not even here! I'm a ghost of a phantom of a shadow in the heart of your children!" Little Timmy (Jeffrey Roth) and Manson go hunting for toads, but Timmy is accidentally bitten by a snake. "I've been bit, too, and I like it!" Manson says, "Truth don't play no favorites, bite on that, Jack!" Manson runs home to tell Mr. and Mrs. Wilson (Dick and Garofalo), and they somehow manage to understand his strange language. Timmy is saved in time, and they all share a good laugh at Manson's odd behavior.

Dennis Miller compliments Stiller on his cast and show, in his own back-handed way. He warns them not to get too funny, or "it might be Hoffaville".

A casting agent (Garofalo) for "Beethoven" interviews Al Pacino (Stiller) for the lead role. Pacino proceeds to improvise, going so far as to kiss the stuffed dog: "I know it was you, Beethoven! You broke my heart!" He has other ideas, such as throwing himself against a wall: "Go ahead, frisk me! You wanna frisk me, Beethoven?"

A commercial for Ed's Clownwear , a parody of Levi's "What Fits?" campaign, features a clown (Stiller) performing his beat poetry:

"Pie fits face, so throw it.
Seltzer fits bottle, so spray your baby down.
Floppy shoes fit feet, so wear them
And the dirty toes they adorn remind you of some clown you once knew
In some hot tent long ago.
Familiar as these baggy pants that fit like a glove
Like the bearded lady, coming back for more
Curved into the shape of a blimp, like they were custom-made
To do just that."

Danny Bonaduce (as himself) hosts "America's Most Suspicious", which features people "we think are up to something...but we're not sure". A dramatization of the case of Ed Janek (Dick) finds his neighbors, the nasally and high-strung Tad and Laura Gradshaw (Odenkirk and Garofalo), relating several disturbing incidents. The first occurred when Laura was working in the garden, and she saw Janek running around outside his house naked. She then heard strange music coming from Janek's house and saw him in the window in a tuxedo, singing opera. Next, Janek began singing to a dead fish and frozen chicken while striking them against each other. "Then he starts taking pictures," Laura continues, "Of ME!" This prompts a hysterical Tad to run over to Janek's house, wielding a golf club. Janek answers the door covered in feathers and insists he's been in the basement all day working on pottery. "Pottery?!? What about the naked running and the fish singing and the opera? You're a lunatic, you're freaking us out!" The police refuse to help, saying Janek hasn't done anything illegal. "I guess freaking your neighbors out is legal!" Tad retorts, before breaking down into sobs. Bonaduce then follows up on other cases, including The O'Conners..."a pair of first-class weirdoes who have their whole neighborhood freaked out". Once again, the Gradshaws are featured to tell about how the O'Conners "just sit in that car for hours, listening to square dance music". As Tad grows more upset, the Gradshaws recite a prayer to calm themselves down.

Ben tells Dennis how much he enjoyed his talk-show, and Dennis gives him advice on how to deal with cancellation. Ben wants to know if Dennis has heard something, but Dennis is vague.

Sandra Bernhard (Dick) auditions for the role of the coach in "The Mighty Ducks", a script she loved so much she licked every page. She also improvises: "Look at you kids, my little bratskies! I love you! I want to stick toothpicks in you and eat you like hors d'oeuvres!" She completes her performance with a song and dance on the agent's table.

"The Pig Latin Lover's Ariety-Vay Ectacular-Spay" finds Tito Gallegos performing with Rip Taylor (as himself) and the All-American Football Team. He also sings a duet of "9 to 5" with Dolly Parton (Garofalo)--him in Pig Latin, her in English. Susan Anton (as herself) stops by to borrow some bolt cutters, but he'll only lend them to her if she asks in Pig Latin.

Dennis Miller starts giving Ben advice on how to take charge of his show, so Ben gets rid of him.


Dennis Miller was one of the best guests Stiller ever welcomed onto his show, performing improvised riffs on the show that rang eerily true. When he begins discussing cancellation, Ben asks if Dennis has heard something about the show. Dennis says he's heard nothing, then states: "I'm not Kreskin, but I've got my ear down to the track and I hear the Silver Streak coming. But you will rise above it. You'll be bigger'll learn."

Miller also makes a joke about how Fox is as committed to Ben's show as they are to "Herman's Prostate", a reference to the sitcom "Herman's Head". Fast-forward a couple years to "The Critic", an animated comedy starring Jon Lovitz and featuring Stiller's executive producer Judd Apatow as a consulting producer. In one episode, the character Duke Phillips remarks: "I haven't seen him this upset since they canceled 'Herman's Prostate'."

The "America's Most Suspicious" skit is another one of those strange bits that people react very differently to. Many members of my focus group said they just didn't "get it"- what was the joke? Was Ed Janek really crazy, or were these neighbors just convinced that everyone around them was nuts? To be honest, I'm not sure...but it doesn't really matter. "America's Most Suspicious" is hilarious to me because of the wonderful characters found in Janek and the Gradshaws. As Janek, Dick wears a thick brown wig and some kind of contact lens or something that gives him a lazy eye. The scene of him singing to the fish and the chicken may make no sense, but it sure does look hysterical. Garofalo and Odenkirk are also very good in their prudish roles. Just the way Odenkirk runs when he goes next door, then bangs on the door screaming: "Open up! Knock, knock!" (Yes, he actually says "knock, knock"). The best moment, however, is probably when Janek says he's working on pottery and holds out a lump of misshapen clay. He's trying to behave very casually, but he's covered in feathers.

Ed Janek also appears, ugly wig and all, in another episode a parody of "Rescue 911" entitled "Information 411".


"Andy, great name, don't change it. Look good on a marquee some day when you're doing films. Parents show up and think you're doing gay porn."--Dennis Miller on Andy Dick.


"The 'Manson' bit is really very tasteless when you get right down to it. What kind of a sick mind thinks of putting Charles Manson in a television show as the family dog? Good thing it's so funny, or I'd probably be really offended."--Laura
Overall Show Quality....9

Everyone was increasingly impresed with Tito Gallegs and Stiller's unique talent with Pig Latin. A few tried singin "9 to 5" in Pig Latin and everyone agreed it's not as easy as it looks.

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