Host Ben Gleib is willing to offer some strategy for any contestants appearing on his new game show, Idiotest.
“If there’s one piece of advice that I can offer, it’s this: Try really hard not to be an idiot. That’s the real key to success.”
Gleib, a stand-up comedian best known for his roundtable appearances on Chelsea Lately, is the host of Idiotest, a game based on the hugely popular app of the same name. The show debuted in August and airs at 9 and 9:30 p.m. ET/PT Tuesdays on GSN (Game Show Network). Unlike quiz shows that reward contestants for their knowledge of trivia and history, Idiotest features visual brain teasers. Contestants must answer a series of deceptively simple questions by interacting with a giant touch screen. The quicker they answer, the more points they get. But if they answer before they give themselves time to properly consider the answer … well, they come off looking like idiots.
Gleib has been doing stand-up for 14 years and was named by Esquire magazine as one of six comedians “who could be comedy’s next big thing.” In a phone interview for The Interrobang, Gleib said it was an easy transition from the comedy club to a game show like Idiotest, mainly because interacting with the audience is a key component to his comedy. “For me it was completely natural,” he said. “I always like to improvise with the crowd. I enjoy those times when I can ask them a question and then make fun of them for their logic not making sense.”
Gleib has plenty of opportunities to do that on “Idiotest.” In one episode, a contestant is given four words – SWIMS, NOON, dollop, bop – and asked “Which word would not look the same if you did a headstand?” After 15 seconds of deliberation, the contestant incorrectly guessed NOON. As the contestant tries to explain his decision-making process, Gleib dryly makes what should have been an obvious suggestion. “Why don’t you turn your head upside-down and see if you can see it. You see? If you’d only shifted your head around like a weirdo.” The answer, for those playing at home, is bop.
Gleib said he was a game show fan going back to his childhood. “I grew up, like anybody my age, obsessively watching Double Dare with the physical challenges and Marc Summers doing his thing,” he said. “It’s a little piece of Americana. I remember watching ‘Press Your Luck,’ where you’re trying to avoid the Whammy. I thought, ‘I can do that. I can supervise people pressing a button.’”
Gleib said he was not aware of the app upon which the game is based until he was approached about doing the show. When he tried his hand at the app, he quickly learned how difficult, and addictive, a seemingly simple game could be. “The first time I played it, I totally could not figure it out. When I saw the answer, which had been right there in front of me, I literally said, out loud, ‘Augh, I’m an idiot.’”
Gleib said Idiotest tests the way contestants think, as opposed to the things they know. The questions are clever enough to trip up very intelligent people and test contestants’ powers of observation, attention to detail, and general knowledge.
In addition to more than 100 appearances on Chelsea Lately, Gleib has toured North America opening for both Chelsea Handler and Dane Cook. He has appeared on The Late, Late Show on CBS, Last Call with Carson Daly and Last Comic Standing on NBC, and provided the voice of Marshall the Sloth in the animated film Ice Age: Continental Drift.
A self-described news junky, Gleib also hosts Last Week on Earth, a current events-based podcast on Kevin Smith’s Smodco Podcast Network. Gleib says he took a real interest in the news “right around the first time George Bush was elected. I thought, wow, I’d better start paying attention, here.” He launched Last Week on Earth in November 2011. Gleib has a gift for improv with lightning fast observations, a deadpan delivery, and a mind for satire. His detached demeanor and “smartest-guy-in-the-room” persona make him a great fit for a show that’s all about allowing people to make idiots of themselves on national television.
He said he was attracted to Idiotest because it is so different from other game shows and television shows.
“I love the challenge of hosting a game show with such a unique premise,” he said. It is a unique game that takes contestants out of their comfort zones.”
You can watch Idiotest at 9 and 9:30 p.m. ET/PT Tuesdays on GSN. For more information on Idiotest visit gsntv.com or follow @idiotest on Twitter. Last Week on Earth is available on Smodcast.com or LastWeekOnEarth.com. Follow Ben on Twitter @bengleib and of course you can learn more about Ben on BenGleib.com.