Funny man Doug Benson may have just been eliminated on Last Comic Standing, but he’d rather be known as “The Sixth Funniest Comic In The World”. A comedy veteran, he has been seen on episodes of Friends and Curb Your Enthusiasm and recently, a regular on VH1 clip shows, particularly Best Week Ever. He will return to the show this fall but also plans to get out on the road. Doug sits down with BuddyTV to talk about his comedy career and who might win this season of Last Comic Standing.
Below, you will find the mp3 and complete transcript of the interview
Hey everybody, this is Gina from BuddyTV and I am talking with eliminated comic, Doug Benson, from Last Comic Standing. Doug, how are you?
Pretty good. Eliminated is a little scary, strange to hear before my name. Even though they knocked me out, I still am the sixth funniest comedian in the world. You could’ve introduced me that way.
I’ll introduce you that way from now on, that’s a better title.
Yeah, sixth funniest.
Let’s go back and start at the early part of your career. Tell me how it began and how you started doing stand up.
I started on a dare, basically. I was a college drop out who moved to Los Angeles from San Diego to pursue show business. I thought I wanted to be a thespian and a couple friends of mine said, “You should do stand up comedy,” and I said, “Well, you guys should do it too, you’re funny too.” So the three of us all dared each other to go down to the comedy club in Los Angeles and sign up on pot luck night.
One of the dudes showed up too late to sign up and the other one didn’t show up at all. I went on anyway and did my three minutes of whatever I could come with and people actually laughed and sort of encouraged me and I never stopped doing it. I’ve had plenty of horrible sets in between but that one first time, I got enough laughs to think, “Hey this might be something I can do,” and now, you know the rest of the story. I am number six in the world.
And how many years have you been doing this?
Oh, gosh, I guess that makes it about in the twenty-two year range.
Wow. Now, when I talked to Debra last week, she named you as the most well known comic who made it into the finals. Would you agree with that and toot your own horn?
Yeah, I’d say I’m probably the most well known. There’s certainly pretty well known guys, like Jon Reep is known as the Hemi guy from his truck commercials that he’s in. And Ralph Harris, of course, has been at it for a long time and had his own sitcom very briefly on ABC.
But, yeah, my regular exposure on VH1, because I’m on all their countdown shows like Best Week Ever and stuff like that, sort of gave me a leg up as far as being known. Certainly, that didn’t seem to push me through and I didn’t make it to the top five with that brief fame. It might’ve hurt me a bit, I don’t know.
Right, because you have already had some great things happen to you in your career. Maybe other comics feel like they deserve their chance too, and challenged you? I mean, why do you think you ended up being challenged?
Well, for the most part, people didn’t say my name in the voting booth. It just came down to, on the third challenge, there was only seven of us. It was kind of hard to negotiate voting for someone who wouldn’t get any votes. That sort of put me in the position where I could tell that chances are I was gonna go into the three way head to head so I just thought, “Well who are the people I would like to try to take on? What combination do I think I can beat?” because that’s a tricky thing is: three comics and only one gets to stay. That’s sort of how I arrived at … you know, in my head, I thought that, Ralph and Matt, there’ be a chance I can squeak through. It ended up being very close but I didn’t pull it off.
You’ve had some pretty great things happen to you over the years. What was it about Last Comic Standing that really appealed to you and to get on it?
Well, the exposure is just tremendous. I haven’t spent that much time on network television. I’ve been on cable quite a bit and people see that and it’s nice and you get fans but it takes it to a whole ‘nother level to be on NBC at 9 o’clock at night. Even though it’s the summer, there’s still a good six, seven million people watching every week across the country. It just helps my career in general, it gets my face out there and my jokes and now I get to go out on the road and people will come out to comedy clubs to see me specifically.
What was your opinion of the challenges on the episodes? Some comics really like them because it expands their creativity, some groan when they hear what they have to do. What was your feeling on them?
I like the creativity aspect of it, I’m not afraid to write jokes on the fly and then perform them. The surprise element could be a little frustrating. Like the jester costume I had to wear for the Medieval Times challenge was a little frustrating. It was more like a dress. And then, certainly in the last challenge that I did horribly at was when we were supposed to talk to a bunch of models from Deal or No Deal. Then, next thing you know, I’m sitting across from a transvestite and it ended up being pretty funny but I certainly didn’t win the challenge.
Yeah, your moment with the nun was pretty classic.
(laughter) Yeah, you know, how often do you get to tell a nun a dirty joke without getting slapped with the ruler?
Probably not often.
Yeah, good opportunity for me.
Amy seems like the dark horse this season. She seems like she has a decent chance of making it and she has not been doing it as long as the others. What’s your opinion on that?
I just think that her approach is fresh and she’s not intimidated by having to, for these challenges, when she sat down with the nun that she had no idea was gonna be there, she whipped out some jokes on her that were pretty intense and pretty funny. She’s quick-witted enough that she got this far and now, I just hope that it’s down to five and the world gets to vote. Because the voting is done not only here in America starting tonight, but also in England, Australia, and some place I’ve never heard of called Canada, they all get to vote and so she’s gotta really step up from week to week.
And, you know, she may not have as much material as the other guys but she also might have fresher material because she’s been doing it a shorter period of time. Some of the stuff the other guys are doing might be like, they might be up there going, “Remember Bill Clinton?” and everyone’s like, “Whatever.” So, you know, I think she has a decent shot. I think she could win this thing as long as Lavell doesn’t fall on her.
True, that is true. What is on your agenda? Are we gonna see you on Best Week Ever and those countdown shows because you are my favorite on those so I would be sad if you weren’t on them.
Oh, thanks, I took a brief break to do Last Comic but starting up when Best Week comes back on the fall, I will be on there every week making fun of Britney, Lindsay, and Paris and whatever jail time they’re doing at the time.
And will you tour as well? Will you get back on the road too?
Yeah, I’m gonna be doing some of the Last Comic Standing tour dates. Then, I’ll also be doing some of my other appearances like this week I’m at Comedy Works in Denver, CO. And coming up, in a few weeks, I’ll be at The Laughing Post in Kalamazoo, MI.
Yeah, I’m seeing the world! I was in Pittsburgh last week and I teased the people there all week long about how they said, “You just got taken to Last Comic Standing, what are you gonna do now? I’m goin’ to Pittsburgh!”
(laughter) You’re really movin’ up in the world!
Yeah, that place is beautiful. I don’t know why it gets such a bad rap.
Now, if your fans wanna get a hold of you, how would they do that? You have a website of a MySpace?
The website seems like a silly investment these days cause you just spend all your time telling people on MySpace to go to your website. So I just let them come right to my MySpace. It’s Doug_Benson at MySpace and tell ‘em BuddyTV send you.
I will tell them. Good luck, thanks so much.
– Gina Scarpa, BuddyTV Staff Writer
(Image courtesy of NBC)