‘Cash Cab’ host Ben Bailey ready to return to his comedy roots

“Cash Cab” has been a driving force in Ben Bailey’s career, but he loves returning to the spot where his showbiz journey began: the comedy stage.

The 47-year-old New Jersey native got his start as a comedian when he was 21. He moved to Los Angeles and worked at a comedy club before packing up and heading to New York to perform stand-up.

“There were a lot of challenges starting off,” he says. “I never saw it becoming a job when I was younger. But the first time I stepped on stage, I knew.”

Bailey says he originally wanted to work in movies and if he hadn’t made it as an entertainer, he’d probably be a carpenter. Or an artist. “Something creative,” he says.

When he’s not on the road doing stand-up, you might find him on the street. Or, rather, he might find you. As host and executive producer of game-show-on-the-go “Cash Cab,” Bailey turns unsuspecting New York City taxi passengers into contestants answering trivia questions for cash prizes.

The Discovery Channel rebooted the show last year after it originally ran from 2005 to 2012.

“It feels great to have it back and it’s been awesome,” Bailey said. “The reception we got from people on the street in New York was amazing.”

Bailey performs Friday at Green Valley Ranch Resort.

Review-Journal: You’ve performed here in Vegas a few times and a few episodes of “Cash Cab” were recorded in Las Vegas. What’s your favorite thing to do when you come to town?

Bailey: That’s a tough question for me, because I’m not a gambler and I don’t really go to shows. I do always try to find a new, awesome golf course to play. I played the course at the Wynn last time I was there. Another time I played at Shadow Creek. It’s this awesome course like 45 minutes from Vegas. It’s amazing. I like to find a cool little bar to have a drink at, too. And walk around.

What can fans expect to see at your show?

My new hour of stand-up material that’s ready to become a new special. Pretty clean and very funny.

Most of your performances are pretty clean — minimal profanity.

I swear when I talk, so sometimes I swear on stage, but not a lot. Definitely not word after word. Stand-up is as much about the writing as it is the jokes. I love the writing aspect of it. If you sit down and you write something and you try to make it quality writing, it’s not going to have (expletive) in it every other word. Probably won’t be in there at all.

What’s your creative process before writing?

I don’t have any ritual to get me there, but usually — either my jokes and ideas are flowing or they’re not. If I’m in a bad mood or stressed out, it’s definitely not happening. Other than that, it’s kind of happening all the time. I just have to write down the ideas as they come in. Or they’re gone. From there, I choose which ideas I think are good and then I work on them and expand them, make them into something.

“Cash Cab” has been airing since 2005 on and off. How does it feel to be back? How do you keep it interesting?

The reception we got from people on the street in New York was amazing. Everyone is so excited to have us back — that alone was worth it. The games are a lot longer now. We have a couple different camera angles. We have social media shoutout. We spend a little more time trying to get to know the contestants.

Are you a trivia person yourself?

Yeah, I am. I am a bit of a trivia nerd. I always watched “Jeopardy” at my house when I was younger.

What’s one of your most memorable experiences or reactions from passengers in the cab?

This time around, a guy got so excited that he started throwing himself up over the top of the seat. This huge enormous man was doing dolphin dives over the seats. He and his wife at one point when they were celebrating they were so excited that she head-butted him in the nose and we had to pull over because we thought he might’ve broken his nose. But he was OK.

Contact Mia Sims at msims@reviewjournal.com. Follow @miasims___ on Twitter.

Entertainment Videos
Brownie sundae at VegeNation in Las Vegas is completely vegan
Donald Lemperle, chef/owner of VegeNation in Las Vegas and nearby Henderson, NV, makes his sundae with ice cream made with coconut and almond milks, a brownie made with coconut flour and oil and organic sugar and cacao, and fresh fruit. (Heidi Knapp Rinella/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Taste of the Town: Henderson Booze District
Those who like to support local businesses and sample local products will find the best concentration in an unlikely spot: a Henderson industrial park.
Founder of theatre talks about a favorite play
Ann Marie Pereth, founder of A Public Fit Theatre Company, speaks to the Review-Journal about which play she would see every day if only given one option. (Rachel Aston/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
New Avengers S.T.A.T.I.O.N interactive exhibit
The new exhibit features original and recreated props and plenty of interactive features. (Rachel Aston/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
The Writer's Block and Lucy are open in Las Vegas
The Writer's Block and Lucy are open in Las Vegas (Janna Karel Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Las Vegas ice cream shop offers everything in the kitchen sink
Have you ever wanted to eat an ice cream sundae out of a kitchen sink? Who hasn't, right? At Sloan's, located inside the Venetian, you can do just that. (Mat Luschek / Review-Journal)
Maxie’s in Las Vegas puts eggs Benedict in a box
Chef David Mangual at Maxie’s in The Linq Promenade in Las Vegas makes his eggs Benedict in a brioche “box” layered with spinach, bacon and tomatoes and topped with poached eggs and hollandaise sauce. (Heidi Knapp Rinella/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Caviar Twinkie Served at Stripsteak in Las Vegas
Stripsteak Executive Pastry Chef Vivian Chang and Chef Gerald Chin create a novel savory food item that looks like a familiar sweet treat at the restaurant in Las Vegas. (Heidi Knapp Rinella/Review-Journal)
NAB attendees battle to qualify for Fortnite event
NAB is sponsoring an online video game event with Epic Games’ Fortnite allowing attendees to qualify to go head to head with top players. (Michael Quine/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Arctic Shrimp Sandwich at Saga near Las Vegas
Chef Gert Kvalsund, a native of Norway, founded Saga Pastry + Sandwich in Henderson to give Scandinavians a taste of home. (Heidi Knapp Rinella/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Guy Fieri and Sammy Hagar talk UNLVino
Guy Fieri and Sammy Hagar talk about the upcoming UNLVino vent. (Al Mancini/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Christie Brinkley at Smith & Wollensky
Christie Brinkley, in town for her run in “Chicago” at the Venetian Theatre, paid a visit to the Grand Canal Shoppes’ still-under-construction Smith Wollensky on Monday for a ceremonial first toast at the bar. (Al Mancini/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Two artists create a mural for peace in Las Vegas
2 artists create a mural for peace in Las Vegas (Janna Karel Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Inside Kaos nightclub and dayclub
A look at new club at Palms.
CinemaCon Brings Theater Professionals To Caesars
CinemaCon is not just celebs, it's also a place where theater owners can browse the latest in seats, projectors and concessions. (Mat Luschek/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Las Vegas restaurants provide a taste of ballpark food
The Las Vegas Ballpark, home to the Las Vegas Aviators, will serve food from Giada De Laurentiis and a team of favorite local restaurants. Heidi Knapp Rinella/Review-Journal
Taste of the Town: Bobby Flay Opens Shark at the Palms - VIDEO
Bobby Flay opens Shark at the Palms; his first high-end restaurant in 15 years.
Chef Marc Marrone at T-Mobile Arena
Chef Marc Marrone has opened a bao cart at T-Mobile Arena. (Al Mancini/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Bellagio fountains celebrate 'Game of Thrones'
A medley of the theme for HBO’s “Game of Thrones” and the song “Winter Is Here” from the show premiered at the Bellagio Fountains water show on the Las Vegas Strip on Sunday, March 31, 2019. The new number will run in rotation through April 13. The series premieres its eighth and final series on April 14. (Mick Akers/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Las Vegan Aunt Chippy talks about being on Jimmy Kimmel's show
Concetta Potenza, Aunt “Chippy” to Jimmy Kimmel, talks about her first time being featured on her nephew’s show. (Rachel Aston/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
The "Flight Unknown" At Bar Centro at Bazaar Meats Las Vegas Features 5 Innovative Cocktails
The "Flight Unknown" At Bar Centro At Bazaar Meats Las Vegas Features 5 Innovative Cocktails (Janna Karel Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Cotton candy crowns pancakes in Las Vegas
At Maxie’s at The Linq Promenade in Las Vegas, executive chef David Mangual fills pancakes with fruit and cream cheese and piles on pastel cotton candy, which is melted in a stream of chocolate syrup. Heidi Knapp Rinella/Review-Journal
Bananas Foster Pancakes go up in flames at The Stove near Las Vegas
Chef Antonio Nunez at The Stove in Henderson, near Las Vegas, flames the pancakes tableside for a fiery presentation. Heidi Knapp Rinella/Review-Journal
El Loco Rollercoaster at Circus Circus' Adventuredome
The El Loco rollercoaster opened at the Circus Circus' Adventuredome in February 2014. It features a 90-foot ascent, followed by a drop that produces a negative 1.5 "verticle G," a 180-degree turn, and reverse 240-degree roll that turns into an inverted drop. The coaster reaches a maximum speed of 45 mph and is the only indoor coaster of it's kind in the U.S., and is the second indoor El Loco coaster in the world, according to MGM Resorts.
Bartending flair competition at the Nightclub & Bar Show
Highlights from the ten contestants who competed for the Shake It Up Flair and Classic Competition at the Nightclub & Bar Show at the Las Vegas Convention Center. (Rachel Aston/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @rookie__rae
Justin Kingsley Hall shares details on his next gig
Chef Justin Kinglsey hall shares some details about the newArts District restaurant he's developing with Kim Owens. (Al Mancini/Las Vegs Review-Journal)
Film prompted Carrie Hogan to found 2 farmers markets in Las Vegas
Carrie Hogan founded Fresh 52 Farmers and Artisan Market in Las Vegas after realizing she had to do something about the influence of factory farms on the food supply. (Heidi Knapp Rinella/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Seafood dishes being made at Pasta Shop near Las Vegas
Executive chef Edwin Martinez incorporates fresh pasta into Lobster Salmon and Saffron Shrimp Sauté at Pasta Shop Ristorante & Art Gallery in Henderson, near Las Vegas. Heidi Knapp Rinella/Review-Journal
Andrew Carmean will be the only local participant in upcoming demolition derby
Andrew Carmean, a demolition driver, will be the only local participant in upcoming derby at the Plaza Hotel. (Bizuayehu Tesfaye/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Masso Osteria first anniversary in Las Vegas
Scott Conant was in town Tuesday to host a one-year anniversary party for his Red Rock Resort restaurant Masso Osteria.
TOP NEWS
Home Front Page Footer Listing