Please introduce yourself. What do you do? Why? What do you want people to know about you?
I’m Ben Giroux–a comedic actor, director, and producer. While I do many things, I’m most excited about the premiere of my new Nickelodeon animated series Big Nate now streaming on Paramount+! I voice the title character, Nate Wright, in our show that’s based on the long-running book series and a comic strip by Lincoln Peirce. I’m no stranger to Nickelodeon, as I also continue to play The Toddler on Henry Danger and Danger Force—a role I’ve been fortunate to portray for nearly ten years.
What qualities make you different and unique from everyone else in the industry?
At the beginning of my career, I thought I needed to be singularly focused on one track in entertainment: on-camera acting. I had the misguided notion that anything outside of on-camera acting would complicate my brand. Now, fifteen years later, I’ve completely flipped that perspective. The more you can add to your business card in entertainment, the better. So, I take pride in being a multi-hyphenate entertainer. Whether I’m directing a music video, creating a TikTok, acting on television, voicing a cartoon, I love it all. I just want to create comedy and make people laugh. If there’s one thing that sets me apart from others, I’d say it’s my drive. My hustle is limitless.
Describe THAT moment when you realized you wanted to do what you do now. Who did you tell first? What has it been like since that moment?
There’s a photo from 1985 that says it all: my dad holds me up to the TV screen (as an infant) and he’s showing me an episode of The Three Stooges. From the moment I saw Moe slam an anvil over Curly’s head, I was hooked on a lifetime committed to comedy and entertainment.
What was it like to bring the beloved comic strip and book series, Big Nate, to life?
There’s certainly an added responsibility bringing my voice to a beloved character that already has a sizable global fanbase. My task has been twofold: do justice to the charming source material so the existing fanbase is happy while also inviting in an entirely new generation of Big Nate fans. It’s been a joy because I see so much of myself in Nate. In our show, Nate is an artist—we get to see his doodles come to life. I actually spent much of my childhood drawing too. And Nate has so many qualities I used to aspire to as a kid: unrelenting confidence, an endless pursuit of awesomeness, and a commitment to a tight-knit group of friends. I grew up watching the O.G. NickToons like Doug, Rugrats, and Ren & Stimpy, so life certainly feels full circle now that I’m voicing a new Nickelodeon Animated Series of my own.
How did your parents owning a comic book store influence your career as an actor?
My parents owned and operated All About Books & Comics in Phoenix, Arizona for about 40 years. I grew up surrounded by colorful comic book covers, superhero action figures, and a family dedicated to fantastical entertainment. My parents are my superheroes—they made a career selling superheroes and inspired me to find my own inner superhero. Growing up in such a creative, fun environment allowed me to ignite my own creativity in any direction. It’s crazy to think that I grew up in a store that sold Big Nate and now I’m Big Nate!
Which character that you’ve played has been your favorite and why?
The Toddler really stands out to me. Any kind of longevity in entertainment is a win but playing the original villain in Nickelodeon’s superhero “DangerVerse” has truly been a thrill. The comic-book connections to my real life are obvious. Playing a broad, comedic, theatrical character is equally awesome. But what people don’t see is that most of the cast and crew of Henry Danger have become some of my dearest friends in the world.
You’ve built up quite the following on TikTok. What do you enjoy most about the platform?
The Toddler character has found new life on TikTok as I’ve amassed a dedicated following of 4.5 million kiddos. In my past, I’ve been a picky filmmaker—making sure that every frame of every self-produced project was just right. TikTok has been the refreshing opposite of that approach: it’s a creative, experimental sandbox. There’s charming messiness to it. You can upload a video, and whether it goes viral or flops, there’s another one right around the corner. I also love directly interacting with my audience. Lately, I’m enjoying introducing my Henry Danger audience to Big Nate. TikTok has become integral to almost everything I do in entertainment.
You also work behind the camera. What has been your favorite project to direct thus far?
I launched my production company Small Red Cape about ten years ago. My team has created some incredible work including music videos, commercials, TV pilots, and more. Certainly, the project that stands out the most is my celebratory, comedic music video “Back to the 90s” that soared to 100 million views, charted on Billboard, and landed my team in Las Vegas with the Backstreet Boys. It opened a ton of doors for my directing career and really proved that our production company is capable of anything.
What has been the biggest challenge you’ve had to face and how did you overcome it?
Challenge: I’m 5’2”. Solution: I bought a step stool.
Who are the TOP 3 people you’d want to meet that could elevate your career or business? Why these specific individuals?
My trio would include Larry David, Bob Odenkirk, and basketball legend Steve Nash. And if they didn’t wind up helping me or my business, it would still be one heck of a Passover Dinner.
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