Interview Ben Hague at the Comedy Cellar in NYC
Ben Hague has had over 4 Million people watch him kill it on the late late show on CBS and on a monthly show SiriusXM Radio. He’s quickly becoming very popular in Stand up comedy. He has share teh stage with such comedians as Dane Cook, Dave Attel, Louis CK, Robert Klein, Jeffrey Ross, Amy Schumer and many others. We met up with Be in New York City at the Comedy Cellar.
What do you wish someone had told you about show business before you entered it?
That it would be so damn difficult, but the amount of free rounds of golf you’ll get will all be worth it.
What was your process in developing this special?
Well the current hour I’m working in has changed over time especially going from being single when I started to now in a committed relationship. The writing has become much better. I’m not relying as much on stage presence as I am having the writing crisper.
Do you think your stand-up has changed a lot over the years?
Very much. With most comics and people in general you go thru changes in life, whether it’s relationships, or family, or career highs and lows. As a result your act changes and matures. I’m still energetic and physical on stage but rely much more on my joke writing than act out’s now. I think I’m happier showcasing my writing.
How often do you perform comedy per week?
If the crowd wants to be there and have a good time then they’ll laugh. I’ve been doing this to long to not get laughs. If they are just being miserable tw*ts. I’ll usually let em know! I’m in stage anywhere from 3-7 times a week. It’s like the gym, once a week will bare no results.
What are you favorite comedy clubs that you perform at?
Comedy Cellar in NYC. It’s the best in the world no questions asked. If I’m headlining on the road, I’ve enjoyed the Midwest. Good crowds out there, maybe because there’s nothing else to do but grow corn.
How often do you write jokes?
I should be writing everyday. But I let ideas come to me. Definitely a few hours a week though. Sometimes I just take ideas and premises and work them out on stage. It gets an honest assessment of where the bit needs work.
When did you feel like you were a pro comedian?
Once I first started headlining and getting paid. Which for me was early on. I treated it like a career day one. Also it just autocorrected “paid” to “laid”. So maybe that’s true. First time I got laid from doing comedy is when I felt like a pro. So a week ago. 13 years and one week I guess is the answer.
How did you know you wanted to be a comedian or did it just happen?
Always loved comedy. And I like the idea of working an hour a night and playing video games the rest of the day.
Who would you say are your influences in the comedy world?
I loved Seinfeld growing up, Robert Klein, and guys like that. But I quickly realized I had the personality of the Tough Crowd guys. I’m always busting balls. Always ragging on my friends etc. So guys like Vos, Colin Quinn, Bobby Kelly, those are the guys that really made me want to do stand up.
What is one of your more embarrassing memories from childhood?
None. Although once I shit my pants playing baseball with my buddies. Accept for the fact I stunk for the filling hour I think I got away with no one knowing.
What are the most important rules you live by?
Just have fun. And work your butt off. Travel often. And stay away from dairy because I’m lactose intolerant. SEE ANSWER ABOVE.
What was your favorite book as a kid, and what does that say about you?
There was one book about this guy who went canoeing thru the mountains. Mostly a picture book. I was little so don’t remember. But looking back on it I guess it was foreshadowing to how much traveling alone I’d be doing.
What’s the best advice you’ve ever gotten?
Don’t get married until your career is on point. -Larry David
Given your feelings about the state of our culture, how do you avoid despair?
Crying. Just get it out. Lots and lots of crying. Often on cross country flights.
What three things would you take with you to a deserted island?
Laptop. Lube. Tissues.
Do you have any quotes that you live your life by or think of often?”
Take the path less traveled. And leave a trail.
Also “don’t be a dummy, cum on her tummy!” That’s for the youngsters out there. Teenage pregnancy is a real thing.
How to handle hecklers from the stage?
Violently. Nah, put all eyes on them. Most people don’t reeeeealy want the attention.
“What advice would you give your younger self?”
Work harder than anyone. 24/7. And start saving for retirement at 18. And have sex with Diana Cuccio and Jenna Spinelli. You’ll regret not doing it as an adult.
What most important lesson you learned in comedy?
Nothing is just given to you.
Advice to your younger self just starting in comedy career?
Take the excitement and the fun you get from doing open mics your first year all thru your career.
How long do you spend developing new material?
Always working on it. It never stops. Until you die. Literally. On my death bed I assume I’ll lean into the doctor and say “hey let me know if you think this is funny…”
Why is there so much sadness—depression, addiction—in the comedy world?
It’s lonely. Flying alone. Hotels alone. The money is up and down. You see your friends buying houses while you’re Crashing on couches. It’s extremely lonely. I miss my girlfriend and my dog every time I’m on the road…….. ok I’m gonna go cry now
What’s your drink of choice?
Hey I’m back! Got a good cry out. I like a beer on the golf course, red wine with a nice dinner, and vodka soda if I’m out out. But normally I just guzzle water all day because I need to look decent for the next time I’m on TV.
Greatest cartoon of all time?
FAMILY guy. So well written. I loved Mighty Mouse as a kid.
Let’s say you could live the life of any animal in the wilderness for one day: What would it be?
Lion. It’d be cool to know no one could fuck with you.
So the stereotype of comedians being horribly depressed and neurotic is true?
Do you ever get tired of being a comedian?
No. Some things are tiring. But I wouldn’t trade it for a cubical for all the money in the world. Just kidding I’d trade it tomorrow for $8,400.
So at the end of your day, what’s your ultimate goal?
Obviously I want TV & movies. Make a great living for myself and my lady. If my family and girlfriend are proud of what I’m doing and accomplishing that’s all that matters. But I have a bunch of goals I keep to myself. Ones that no one knows. Ones that drive me.
What would you say troubles you the most about the world today?
Everyone is so fucking PC. Stop being offended. And stop overreacting to everything. Someone is gay, let em be gay! Some religion that’s not the same as yours, good, who gives a shit! Just be happy man. Nothing else matters.
Now I have to go, I’m packing my laptop and buying a one way ticket to that island you mentioned.
Ben Hague has been seen on the Late Late Show on CBS, and is featured on SiriusXM Radio. He is a regular at the Comedy Cellar in New York City and splits his time between NYC & LA.