Check our interview with talented comedic actor, director and producer Ben Giroux who currently stars as ‘Mikey Munroe’ in Nickelodeon’s “Bunsen is a Beast” and ‘The Toddler’ in Nickelodeon’s “Henry Danger.”
He is best known for his roles as ‘Little Zach’ on CW’s “Hart of Dixie” and ‘Dark Warrior” on Disney XD’s “Mighty Med”. He has had guest roles in dozens of television shows including CBS’s “NCIS”, FOX’s “Bones”, FX’s “Anger Management”, USA’s “Psych” and many more. In addition to acting, Ben produces a wide variety of short form content under his Small Red Cape production banner. He most recently partnered with Indie Hip-Hop artist Jensen Reed for their music video collaboration, “Back to the 90s”, which has since become a viral sensation.
Back to the 90s - Ben Giroux & Jensen Reed
Hi Ben, please tell us a little about yourself.
Hi there! I’m a comedy actor and director here in Los Angeles. I currently voice the lead role in Nickelodeon’s “Bunsen is a Beast”, I play one of the main villains (‘The Toddler’) on Nickelodeon’s “Henry Danger”, and I produce internet comedy shorts — most recently the viral music video “Back to the 90s”. I like long walks on the beach, silent films, and — ah crap, that’s my Tinder profile.
Describe yourself in 3 words.
Creative, energetic, and funny. Can I have a fourth? #ModelLife?
Who is your biggest supporter?
My mom! We FaceTime every night. I’m 32 and a proud momma’s boy. Honestly, I wish she could still pack my lunch. My sandwiches just aren’t the same.
How did you get started in the industry?
While in theatre school at USC, I landed a role in a play at the Ahmanson Theatre in downtown Los Angeles called “Dead End”. That allowed me to land representation which ultimately led to my first television role: a guest-star appearance on The Farrelly Brothers’ 2007 FOX television series “Unhitched”. The Farrelly Brothers then put in a good word for me at the USA Network show “Psych”. Things started to snowball from there. I’m grateful to have had an extremely diverse television and film resume over the last decade, ranging from shows like “Hart of Dixie”, “House”, “Bones”, “Anger Management”, and “NCIS” — and kid-friendly shows like “Henry Danger”, “Sam and Cat”, “Best Friends Whenever”, and “Mighty Med”.
But if I zoom back far enough in time, there’s a picture of me as a one-week old infant watching “The Three Stooges” with my dad. So, I think I was destined for a life in comedy and entertainment from Day One.
What was your first acting role?
My mom’s VHS home video camera. Every day was an opportunity to be a ham. But professionally, I started doing a lot of live theatre as a kid. When I ultimately scored my first television gig with The Farrelly Brothers, I remember feeling like anything was possible. Also, a fun story from that “Unhitched” set:
We shot on location in Boston at a live Celtics game. I woke up the morning of the shoot — my first television job ever — with really red eyes. Throughout the day my eyes got itchier and itchier… and I realized I had somehow contracted Pink Eye. The makeup team kept trying to find ways to whiten my eyes with drops. My scene was with Rashida Jones (who’s a total sweetheart) and by the end of the production day, her eyes were itching too. So, for my first job ever, I’m pretty sure I gave Rashida Jones pink eye. Oops!
What is the best and worst part of being an actor?
When I cut away all of the lame Hollywood B.S. (Instagram followers, networking, blah blah blah), at my core, I love to make people laugh. The best part of being an actor, for me, is continually finding new, creative ways to make people laugh and infuse some levity into the universe.
The worst part? Crushing, devastating rejections and defeat. I’ve had countless close-calls in this town. Dozens of dozens of times a huge role in a huge project has come down to me and someone else… and the other guy gets it. That’s the nature of the beast. But when you book a role or create something new, it makes all the rejections worth it.
When my “Back to the 90s” project blew up with nearly 60 million views, Billboard Magazine did a feature on my partnership with indie hip-hop artist Jensen Reed. Jensen had a great line in the interview: “this is your classic 15-year-overnight-success-story”. It’s true. In this industry, you just have to keep grinding, keep your head up, and keep creating. Eventually, it pays off.
Best advice ever given?
As a 22-year-old actor just out of college, I booked a fantastic guest star appearance on “Psych”. I approached James Roday on set, the star of the show, and said “Alright man, I’m young, I’m hungry, I’m a sponge. You’ve got your own show on TV. What’s the secret?” James replied with the best career advice I’ve ever received. He said, “Two things: do good work. And be a good dude.” Simple advice, but advice I infuse into every relationship and project I have in this town.
How did you started working in comedy?
I’m a short, hairy, Jewish guy. It’s in my blood.
Tell us about Nickelodeon’s “Bunsen is a Beast” and your character as Mikey Munroe?.
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.
Now tell us about your video collaborations you did with Jensen Reed.?
For years, I was performing stand-up comedy around Los Angeles, largely about being a short guy. I had always wanted to create a bragadoscious thug rap video about being short. At my voiceover agency, I met indie hip-hop artist Jensen Reed and we instantly creatively clicked. We solicited an army of talent to help make our first music video collaboration, Little Dude Anthem, which amassed 1 million views. Thereafter, we created an anti-Trump rap video which scored an additional 2 million views. We knew our comedy+music partnership was finding an audience and was ready to explode. For our third video, Jensen and I recognized we were both really nostalgic guys. It just made sense to create a music video about our childhoods in the ‘90s — and “Back to the 90s” was born. We brought in singer/songwriter Jared Lee (Jason Derulo’s songwriter) and my dear friend, actor Garrett Clayton (“Teen Beach Movie” and “Hairspray Live!”). We shot the video over 2 grueling production days in November 2016 and after months of animation and visual effects in post-production, we released “Back to the 90s” on May 1st. The project had a meteoric rise, amassing nearly 60 million views to date. It’s created some incredible momentum in our careers — we’re billing ourselves as the new Lonely Island – and we’ve got some really exciting upcoming music video projects that aim to expand our new fanbase.
What other projects you have been part of?
I’ve been privileged to dip my toe in a variety of paths in the industry — acting, directing, and producing. “Back to the 90s” is allowing me to expand into even more avenues. Next up, I’m hoping to sell a few television shows that I’ve conceptualized with my writing partner, Arnie Pantoja.
Who is your favorite Actor/Actress? And why?
I really admire Brian Cranston. He can navigate between being hilariously funny and unbelievably dark within seconds. His performance as Walter White on “Breaking Bad” is one of the greatest character arcs I’ve ever seen. I had the opportunity to audition for him on “Modern Family” a few years ago, and he’s also a really nice guy. I hope our careers cross paths soon.
3 things you can’t leave your house without?
Keys, Phone, Legs.
What music do you like?
This is a little meta, considering my audience, but I’m obsessed with ‘90s music. I listen to Nirvana, Soundgarden, and the Smashing Pumpkins on repeat. For our upcoming sequel to “Back to the 90s”, we’re reaching out to a variety of ‘90s pop stars for collaboration.
Your idea of a perfect Sunday is?
I travel around the country competing in Spartan Race obstacle course races. A perfect Sunday is a race day! Conquering a mountain, throwing a spear, lifting an atlas — then celebrating all the hard work with a massive meal, a beer, and good friends.
How’s a normal day in your life?
The best part about being an actor is every day is entirely different from the next. Some days I spend writing all day, others I’m running around to various pitch meetings or auditions. I always try to squeeze the gym in. At night, I usually have a dinner or drinks meeting scheduled. And to top it off, and this is going to make me sound like a party animal, I like to watch crappy reality TV while sitting in my underwear and eating a bowl of cereal. I’M OUT OF CONTROL!
What is your favorite healthy food?
I eat a lot of kale… because it’s green?
And your favorite cheat food?
I’m like a drug addict around chocolate donuts. Absolutely no control.
Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
Really tall. A guy can dream, right?
Honestly, I’d like to be starring on my own television series.
What charities do you support?
downtownwomenscenter.org & lpaonline.org
Where we can follow you?
Quote: “Filmmaking is the ultimate team sport.”
Holiday Destination: Scotland!
Food: Chicken parmesan.
Restaurant: Blue Jam Cafe on Melrose. Best brunch in Los Angeles.
Drink: Cut me up and all you’ll find is an almond milk latte.
Celebrity Crush: Emma Stone, will you marry me?
Song: Black Hole Sun. R.I.P. Chris Cornell.
Sports Team: Phoenix Suns, for life, baby. I miss you, Steve Nash.
Movie: I’ve seen The Shawshank Redemption an unhealthy amount of times.