Ben Giroux is a very talented actor, director, and producer. He does the voice of ‘Mikey’ in Nickelodeon’s “Bunsen is a Beast” and you may have seen him in the great and fun parody video “Back to the 90s”. We know we loved it!
Check out our recent interview with Ben!
upfrontNY: How did you get into the entertainment business and was this something you always wanted to do?
Ben Giroux: There’s a photo of me as a one-week old infant — my dad is holding me up to the television set and we’re watching Moe slamming an anvil over Curly’s head in “The Three Stooges.” Literally from day one, I grew up in a colorful household that put comedy on a pedestal. Diving into a life of entertainment and comedy seemed like the obvious journey. Plus, peaking at 5’2”, a career in basketball didn’t seem like a wise option.
My professional television career started in 2007 when the Farrelly Brothers cast me in a FOX pilot called Unhitched. I’ve been lucky to have an extremely varied list of television and film credits over the past decade that I’ve worked hard to amass— and I love them all equally. Playing over-the-top larger-than-life characters on Nickelodeon and Disney sitcoms is a total blast, as is my more grounded comedic roles on shows like Psych, Bones, House, NCIS, etc.
upfrontNY: What has been one of your best experiences so far?
Ben Giroux: One of the coolest experiences I’ve had to date was working with Christopher Guest on HBO’s Family Tree. I’m a huge fan of his mockumentaries like Waiting for Guffman and Best in Show. I was warned ahead of time that Chris can be a little stoic on set, but not to take it personally, because he’d still think you’re funny even if he doesn’t laugh. But when I did the first take of my scene, he fell out of his chair crying with laughter. At the wrap party, a producer told me that Chris thought my comedy bit was one of the funniest bits he’d ever filmed. It’s a little personal badge of comedy honor that I hold near and dear to my heart.
upfrontNY: Can you tell us about your role Mikey Munroe in Bunsen is a Beast and Henry Danger?
Ben Giroux: It’s been a dream-come-true to voice the leading role in Butch Hartman’s Bunsen is a Beast on Nickelodeon. As a kid who grew up watching cartoons like Doug, Red & Stimpy, and Rugrats, recording my own Nicktoon has been very full circle. Our animated series is unique because we record the show as an ensemble — so every week I get to see the whole cast and riff with them. It’s also been a master class in improvisation: working with original Groundlings members Jeremy Rowley (iCarly) and Cheri Oteri (SNL) has been an absolute joy. And working with voiceover veteran Kari Wahlgren has been fantastic. Animation also takes so long to complete, that when I see the finished episodes it’s like I’m experiencing them for the first time! We laugh until we’re blue in the face when we record and I think that translates into the show. When you land a consistent job as an actor, that’s always a win. But when you also love the people you work with and are proud of the comedy itself — that’s the holy trifecta that is a rare breed in Hollywood. I’m immensely humbled to get to work with such a fantastic group of people at Nickelodeon.
My momentum at Nickelodeon definitely began in the on-camera world, however. I worked with Dan Schneider (creator of Kenan & Kel, All That, and pretty much every successful Nickelodeon show ever) on his show Sam & Cat with Ariana Grande. Shortly thereafter, I was cast as ‘The Toddler’, the main villain – an evil man baby, in the pilot of Henry Danger. Playing such a big, over-the-top, cartoony villain is the most fun I’ve ever had on a set. I mean, come on. I literally get to waddle around in a man-sized diaper, screaming and spitting at people. Like, that’s a real job. I’m paid to do that. I’ve also grown incredibly close with the Henry Danger cast and crew over the years. Every time I get to do an episode it’s like hanging out with my friends.
upfrontNY: How do you find your inspiration for these roles?
Ben Giroux: For ‘The Toddler’, I’m method. So I poop my pants and I force my friends to burp me. KIDDING. I’m comedically inspired by the greats: Larry David, Jerry Seinfeld, The Three Stooges. I love watching all kinds of comedy because it infuses my own work. And coming up with specific, interesting, varied choices for all my roles is part of the fun of a career in acting.
upfrontNY: Can you tell us about “Back to the 90s“?
Ben Giroux: Back to the 90s is my third music video collaboration with indie hip-hop artist Jensen Reed. After amassing 1 million views on our first music video, Little Dude Anthem, and two million views on our second video Dump Drumpf, we knew we wanted our third project to be epic. Recognizing that we were both two extremely nostalgic guys, we set out to make a celebratory anthem for our 90s generation.
upfrontNY: We loved the video! What was it like being a part of this video and what was your favorite part?
Ben Giroux: Thanks! It’s my own creation with Jensen Reed. So, it’s incredibly satisfying watching something that was just an idea in my head turn into a social media phenomenon.
After college it was just me and two other guys running around with a tiny camera and no lights. I got into branded comedy on YouTube right after college — building up the FML YouTube channel, FailBlog, and ultimately executive producing the FRED channel. All of that was fun, but I wasn’t able to truly make the kind of comedy I wanted to be making. So I finally decided to begin investing in my own content. What kind of stuff did I want to actually watch? This is what I should be making. It was that realization that led me to the creation of Small Red Cape. My team is now 100-people deep. On set for Back to the 90s, I marveled at the 60-foot jib camera crane, the huge grip&electric team running around, and my producers’ ability to manage a massive set. It was a fun realization in recognizing just how far my production chops had come. While making my own comedy is expensive, it’s been the most satisfying part of my journey.
One of my favorite moments from the Back to the 90s set was during the intro scene. In the scene, our young actor was supposed to question what a Walkman was. But when the cameras weren’t rolling, we discovered the actor, at nine years old, truly DIDN’T know what a Walkman was. I thought I had written that intro scene in jest. But when I found out it was real, we all felt super old!
upfrontNY: What has it been like to see the response you have gotten for the video?
Ben Giroux: I’ve made plenty of comedic shorts before that have been TROLLED like crazy. In the past, sometimes I’ve even gotten death threats. The internet is weird. All that said, the overwhelmingly positive, supportive response to Back to the 90s has been a dream come true. We’ve really struck a positive chord with our generation and I’m extremely proud of that. People from all over the world have reached out to me thanking me for taking them back to their childhoods.
Also, I think when the state of the world is “icky” right now, it’s my job as a filmmaker to add as much levity as I can back into the universe.
upfrontNY: What do you love about the 90s?
Ben Giroux: Everything. Before iPhones, we had to have fun by playing on our front lawns. To play video games, we had to blow dust out of our Nintendo cartridges. To call a friend, we had to memorize their phone number. Life was simple.
upfrontNY: Is there anything you want others to know?
Ben Giroux: Anything is possible when you make your own work. Back to the 90s is opening huge doors for my career and I’m extremely proud it’s from a project that I created with my friends. So when young actors ask me what they should do to succeed, I always encourage them to create their own content. When we hit #11 on the Billboard charts, Billboard ran a really cool feature on Jensen and myself. In the article, Jensen had a great line: “this is your classic 15-year overnight success story”. And it’s true: I’ve been grinding in Hollywood for a long time. And now, I’m ready to capitalize on the moment.
upfrontNY: What is next for you?
Ben Giroux: I’m currently pitching a few television shows, voicing a bunch of upcoming animated projects, and preparing to create a slew of new, insane music videos.