One in this series of evenings and special screenings presented as part of The Museum of Television & Radio's William S. Paley Television Festival in Los Angeles. Held this year at the Directors Guild of America Theatre Complex, the festival celebrates the excellence and diversity of American television, and is dedicated to television's creative community. This evening honors "The Ben Stiller Show," the comedy series hosted by Ben Stiller with ensemble cast members Andy Dick, Janeane Garofalo, and Bob Odenkirk. After introductory remarks, Museum television curator Ron Simon introduces the evening's panel, consisting of the following members of "The Ben Stiller Show" cast and creative team: writers, co-creators, and executive producers Judd Apatow and Ben Stiller; co-executive producer Bruce Kirschbaum; director and supervising producer John Fortenberry; producer James Jones; writers Robert Cohen, Jeff Kahn, Bruce Kirschbaum, and Sultan Pepper; writer and performer Bob Odenkirk; and performers Andy Dick, Janeane Garofalo, and John O'Donohue. Stiller then presents a screening of the premiere and the tenth episode of "The Ben Stiller Show," followed by a segment from VH1's program "Behind The Music" that reviews the short-lived series and the careers of its cast and creative team.

Simon is joined on stage by the panelists. Simon and the panelists then discuss the following subjects, among others: Stiller, Apatow, and Kahn's work to develop a program for the Fox network, with the support of HBO; the prominence of television and popular culture on the show; Stiller's knack for humorous combinations of elements from pop culture such as the placement of a character from "The Munsters" in the story of "Cape Fear"; comedy programs and comedic artists the panelists count as influences; the way in which many of panelists became acquainted; Stiller's choice to do a program of short film segments rather than a traditional format of live sketches; the challenge of assembling a collection of comedy sketches into a cohesive program; and the panelistsÕ experiences at Fox. Next, panelists take questions from the audience, leading to a discussion of the following topics: their approaches to many of the celebrity impersonations on the show; panelists' favorite sketches and characters from the show; Garofalo's confidence as the only woman on the show; the decision not to use a laugh track for most of the series; the lack of feedback from the networks after "The Ben Stiller Show" received an Emmy award; the story lines of several rejected sketches that did not make it on the air; Apatow's role in finding guest stars to appear on the show; the development of the Woody Allen/Bride of Frankenstein sketch; the quality of "Mr. Show with Bob and David"; panelists' traumatic experiences working on "Saturday Night Live," and "The Ben Stiller Show" as an antithesis to these experiences; the myriad theater, film, and television projects that panelists have been involved with since the cancellation of "The Ben Stiller Show"; the likelihood that the show could not have maintained its humor and energy for multiple seasons; advice to creative people interested in producing alternative comedy; and the inspirations for Odenkirk's humor. (This tape includes "The Ben Stiller Show" premiere and tenth episode, which are part of the Museum's collection and may also be viewed separately. See T:55416 and T:45532 for summaries.)


  • DATE: March 8, 1999 Monday 7:00 PM
  • RUNNING TIME: 0:58:53
  • COLOR/B&W: Color
  • CATALOG ID: T:57354
  • GENRE: Seminars


    • Ron Simon … Moderator
    • Judd Apatow … Panelist
    • Robert Cohen … Panelist
    • Andy Dick … Panelist
    • John Fortenberry … Panelist
    • Janeane Garofalo … Panelist
    • James Jones … Panelist
    • Jeff Kahn … Panelist
    • Bruce Kirschbaum … Panelist
    • Bob Odenkirk … Panelist
    • John O'Donohue … Panelist
    • Sultan Pepper … Panelist
    • Ben Stiller … Panelist
    • Woody Allen