“In sketch comedy, people had characters that they loved and characters that they didn't love, but the characters never came back. But for ‘Reno,’ I feel like we've stumbled on characters we really like. It's still basically a sketch show, but you have these main guys that you can pick a favorite one and grab onto and watch, so I think that's a big part of it.” Ben Garant
Emmy Award nominated comedian, writer, director, actor and producer Ben Garant is famous for playing Deputy Travis Junior on the Comedy Central popular series “Reno 911!” (2003-current), which he also co-created and wrote. He reprised the role on the big screen version “Reno 911!: Miami” (2007), where he also worked as a director and writer. First making an impression with viewers in the sketch comedy series “The State” (MTV, 1993-1995), Garant went on to earn his Emmy nomination for his work in Comedy Central's “Viva Variety” (1997-1999) before putting his entertainment career on the backburner during the late 1990s to early 2000s.
Following his successful comeback with “Reno 911!,” Garant rejoined writing partner Thomas Lennon to pen the scripts for motion pictures like Tim Story's “Taxi” (2004), Angela Robinson's “Herbie: Fully Loaded” (2005), Shawn Levy's “Night at the Museum” (2006) and “Balls of Fury” (2007), which he also directed.
Garant also co-wrote the script and acted in the sequel “Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian” (2009). He is also set to script the Eddie Murphy comedy “The Incredible Shrinking Man” (2010), an updated version of Richard Matheson's best selling novel “The Shrinking Man.”
Childhood and Family:
Robert Ben Garant was born on September 14, 1970, in Cookeville, Tennessee. He was raised in Farragut, Tennessee. He had a green Mohawk in high school and once drove a Datsun B210, which was covered in spray paint because he let anyone who felt inspired write something on his car. After high school, he attended New York University. While in college, he toured as a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle.
Ben is married to Jennifer, with whom he now resides in Los Angeles. He also once lived in New York City.
As a member of the comedy troupe The State, Ben Garant appeared in the MTV series “You Wrote It, You Watch It” (1992), which was hosted by Jon Stewart. In addition to playing various characters, he was also a writer for the show. The same year, he made his big screen debut in the bit part in the comedy “I'm Your Man,” helmed by Bob Bejan. It was not until he rejoined The State the following year that Garant first attracted the attention of TV audiences when he acted and helped write the comedy show “The State,” which was broadcasted on MTV from 1993 to 1995.
After the demise of the series, Garant served as head writer and performed in the special “The State's 43rd Annual All-Star Halloween Special,” which aired on CBS in October 1995 as a new pilot. However, due to low ratings, the network subsequently canceled their plan to pick up “The State” show.
Despite this minor setback, Garant returned two years later to the small screen with “Viva Variety,” a spoof of variety shows that enjoyed strong ratings on Comedy Central from 1997 to 1999. He was the co-creator, a writer, performer, producer, and lyricist for the show and nabbed an Emmy nomination for Outstanding Main Title Theme Music, an honor he shared with composer Glen Roven.
After “Viva Variety,” Garant took a break from film and television for several years and did not resume his career until 2003 with “Reno 911!,” a comedy series he created with Kerri Kenney and his writing partner Thomas Lennon. Debuting on Comedy Central on July 23, 2003, the show was an immediate hit and received a nomination for Outstanding Comedy Series at the 2004 GLAAD Media Awards. Garant also acted in the show as Deputy Travis Junior. Garant also teamed up with Thomas Lennon to script such movies as “Taxi” (2004), an action film directed by Tim Story and starring Queen Latifah, Jimmy Fallon and Jennifer Esposito, the Vin Diesel comedy “The Pacifier” (2005), for director Adam Shankman, “Herbie: Fully Loaded” (2005), which starred Lindsay Lohan, Michael Keaton and Matt Dillon, the Bob Odenkirk directed “Let's Go to Prison” (2006) and the Ben Stiller hit “Night at the Museum” (2006), helmed by Shawn Levy. He also appeared as a campus cop in the 2006 comedy film “Bickford Shmeckler's Cool Ideas” (2006), directed by Scott Lew.
In 2007, Garant and the rest of the cast of “Reno 911!” adapted their show for the wide screen with “Reno 911!: Miami,” which he directed. He returned to the director's chair later that same year for “Balls of Fury,” which he also co-wrote with Lennon. The sport themed movie starred Dan Fogler, Christopher Walken, George Lopez and Maggie Q. In 2008, he directed five episodes of the lesbian series “3Way,” one of which he also had a role as Rodolfo Nine.
Garant portrayed the role of Wilbur Wright in the sequel “Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian,” which will be released in May 2009. He also co-wrote the movie with long time collaborator Thomas Lennon. Also with Lennon, Garant will contribute to the script of the remake “The Incredible Shrinking Man” (2010), which will star Eddy Murphy.