One-man show: Host, stand-up, personality…Ben Gleib does it all

Mr. Gleib, left, and producer Barry Katz at the premiere of "Dumbells".
Mr. Gleib at the premiere of “Dumbells”.

Stand-up comedian, game-show host, and actor Ben Gleib has just returned from Burning Man and is holed up for an extra night in his Reno hotel room, nursing something that sounds like a cold.

“It was amazing, very, very cool,” he says of his week on the playa. “Very introspective, very survivalist, and I’m so, so tired. Hopefully I can sleep, get this dust off of me, and wake up a new man, because I’ve got a special to record.”

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Jordan Strauss photo

The comedian Louis C.K. recently compared David O. Russell’s directing method to playing soccer: no time-outs, no huddles, you just keep moving. “Go big or go home” is often heard on a Russell set. And interviewing Mr. Russell is like that, too. He’s all energy, running here and there from anecdote to anecdote, and even though he’s probably been telling these tales since the very first junket, he sounds absolutely in the moment, like he’s just walked off set and can’t wait to tell you about it all.

Santa Barbara will get a full evening of Mr. Russell tonight in the first of SBIFF’s celebrity tributes, as he sits down for a career retrospective and the Outstanding Director Award.

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