‘Cash Cab’ host talks college, odd jobs and comedy

Emmy award-winning gameshow host and comedian Ben Bailey, known best as host of “Cash Cab,” visited the University campus to give a stand-up performance Monday evening. The Daily Illini had a chance to sit down and talk with Bailey.

*The Daily Illini:* You had something along the lines of 68 odd jobs before you became a comedian and game show host. What was the oddest job out of all of them?

*Ben Bailey:* I don’t know exactly which one was the oddest, but there was a terrible one at a warehouse for this pharmaceutical company where I had to take these big boxes down off of shelves with a forklift, open them up, take out these syringes full of petroleum jelly, line them up 50 on a tray, put 100 trays on a rack, put eight of those racks in a big oven, sterilize them, take them out, put them all back in the same boxes, seal up the boxes and put them back up on the shelves. This all took place in a room with no windows for eight hours at a time. … That was one I walked out of in the middle of a shift, about four hours in on the tenth day.

*DI:* Do you find it easier performing in front of a smaller crowd, such as at a comedy club, or a large crowd, such as when you did Comedy Central Presents?

*Bailey:* It depends really … A crowd of five people is a lot harder than a crowd of a hundred people. But a crowd of a hundred people is easier than a crowd of 5,000 people, so, you know, it kind of varies. You can have a five-person crowd that’s awesome and you can do a show for a hundred and they just suck. There’s not really any rhyme or reason to it.

*DI:* Is there anything off limits when it comes doing a show for you?

*BB:* If I’m taping something for TV, like I just did my special on DVD, I want to keep it clean because I know there are kids who are “Cash Cab” fans and I want to make something they could watch also, but generally speaking, not really. The whole idea of stand-up is that you can say whatever you want. Some guys focus on that and make it their whole thing. I don’t really go for that. It’s kind of about writing for me. I like to do stuff that requires thought and writing the appreciation of it. You got to have a few fart jokes in your bag of tricks at some point, though.

*DI:* Do you have any favorite comedians that you idolize or model yourself after?

*BB:* I don’t have anyone I model myself after because after a certain point I stopped watching comedy because I wanted to be totally unique. I definitely have guys that I’m a fan of. As a kid I used to watch George Carlin specials at night.

He definitely influenced me … Rodney Dangerfield had a bunch of young comedian specials he did every year and I used to watch those.

*DI:* When you come to these college campuses, is there anything you like to do specifically and do they bring back some memories?

*BB:* It definitely brings back memories. There is a specific feel to a college campus that you don’t get anywhere else … It definitely brings back memories of being broke and not always having enough money to get drunk.