An Interview with IDIOT TEST Host Comedian Ben Gleib
By Clarke Wolfe on July 12, 2014
You probably know comedian Ben Gleib from Chelsea Lately, his podcast “Last Week on Earth with Ben Gleib” on the SModcast network or from his work as a stand up comedian. But on August 12, Gleib will also be known as the host of the new game show premiering on GSN called Idiotest. The show features two pairs of contestants who face off in several rounds of rapid-fire questions whose answers any “idiot” should know. The questions test their observation skills and attention to detail as much as they test general knowledge and the top team moves on to the final round and competes for a $10,000 prize. Nerdist spoke with Gleib on the set of Idiotest and talked to the comedian about the new show, life after Chelsea Lately and his hero, Johnny Carson.
Gleib, who previously hosted GSN LIVE for GSN and was a featured voice in the Ice Age movies, can now add “game show host” to his impressive resume. When I asked him how he felt about being the face of Idiotest, the comedian was excited, saying, “I really love hosting and one of my long-term biggest goals is to host one of the late night talk shows. Johnny Carson is my idol and is a major reason why I’m a comedian… I feel like this is an awesome step towards that goal and this show couldn’t be any better for my comedy because if you see me do stand up, I do a lot of crowd work and I improvise with people that are sitting in the audience all the time and make fun of them for dumb things that they say. That is literally my job: to have people say idiotic things or do idiotic things and have me point it out mercilessly. So I’m very at home doing this.”
Was Gleib a fan of game shows before Idiotest? “I love game shows. I’ve been watching them my whole life starting as a kid to watching Double Dare and I always wanted to be in that slime looking for flags and Press Your Luck I loved. ‘No whammies, big bucks, STOP!’… and then Jeopardy! has been my favorite game show my whole life. My family and I always play it together, we compete very seriously on it. We count our points out loud and I usually win against my family but they’re not that smart so that’s not that hard.”
Gleib also told us that he does, in fact, play the game himself before he hosts the show explaining, “I play every set of questions before the game is played because I want to have the experience the contestants do and be able to relate to what their mistakes are or are not going to be instead of just a guy who was fed an answer.” And have any of the contestants actually passed the Idiotest? “We have, a few times, already given away the grand prize… Giving away ten grand is really fun. It feels almost as good as winning the money yourself. It’s a distant second. It’s not a close second but it is a distant second.”
Gleib also talked about the end of Chelsea Lately, the popular late night show on E!, telling Nerdist, “[I]t’s actually crazy because Chelsea Lately, which I’ve been on for seven years, is ending very soon. Ending August 26, and my show [Idiotest] debuts August 12 so it worked out pretty amazingly that two weeks before they go off the air, I have a new show debuting.” When I ask Gleib if he’ll join Handler on her new Netflix show he replies, “Who knows! I will go wherever Chelsea asks me to go. I would take out her garbage and I probably have.”
Idiotest, hosted by Ben Gleib, premieres Tuesday, August 12 on GSN.