“If I had a regret, I’d probably say … don’t suck on toes for that long on national TV,” Benedict Polizzi says with a laugh. “Other than that, no regrets.”
When he’s not wooing women or making viral TikTok videos, the Greenwood native can be seen performing stand-up on stages all across Indy as he continues pursuing his comedy dreams. Now that the Season 2 finale of FBoy Island has aired, we caught up with Polizzi for an interview, discussing his experience on the show and much more.
Tell me about your upbringing in Indy. What was your family like?
My mom has been a tennis instructor her whole life, and my dad was the head football coach at the University of Indianapolis for forever. So I had a really sporty family and was into that all the time.
We were big comedy fans. My grandparents and cousins live in Michigan, so we’d always make road trips up there. On every road trip, we’d listen to comics like Jerry Seinfeld, Jim Gaffigan, and Dane Cook. That’s where I got my sense of what people thought was funny.
How did you first get into doing stand-up?
Growing up, I would go over to my cousin’s house in Michigan, and we would just film funny little videos and compile them all together. They’d just be these 10-minute videos of different sketches that we planned out and thought were really funny. We’d show them to our aunts and uncles, and it was like our SNL. They’d laugh at some stuff and not laugh at other stuff, but we just kept trying to get funnier and do it as best as we could.
I did that a lot growing up, and then I started playing sports a lot. So I didn’t really have time to do funny video stuff, just because high school and college sports take over your life. When I was done with sports, I got a corporate job and was listening to different podcasts and comedy all day while I was working. One day, I was like, “This is what I want to do—the stuff I’m listening to while I should be working.”
So I got into radio, and I worked downtown at Emmis Communications (owner of Indianapolis Monthly) for a while. Joey Mulinaro worked there, too. He’s so funny, and I grew up with him. We went to the same elementary school, high school, and college, so we always kept in touch. One day, while we were working together at the radio, he kicked open the studio door and was like, “Bro. We both want to do funny stuff. We both work here and are always seeing each other. We might as well do it.”
From then on, we started making videos. I had always wanted to do stand-up, so I was like, “Maybe this can launch me into stand-up. I’ll try to get a following on the internet with Joey, and we’ll see where it goes.” A year after making content, I was ready to hit the stage. I’ve been doing stand-up for four years since then, while still putting out the videos.
You now have a large online presence through making viral videos. What do you enjoy about making that content?
I like the fact that you can reach an audience who you normally wouldn’t be able to reach. A bunch of people know about me just from my online stuff. If I didn’t have an online presence, people would just be like, “Who the hell is that guy?”
It’s also a challenge making videos. I feel like the next one always has to be a one-up. If you come out with a good video, it’s like, “Ah man, how am I going to top that?” I like that challenge.
How would you describe the comedy scene in Indianapolis, and what’s it been like pursuing a stand-up career here?
People from other states are probably like, “Oh, do you guys even do stand-up there?” But there are some funny-ass people here in Indy. There’s Crackers, there’s Helium, and then there are a bunch of bars all over the place. You can get on stage every night of the week, and some nights you can even hit a couple open mics, like if you were in New York or somewhere like that.
It’s just a Midwestern comedy scene. Everybody helps each other out. After I get off stage, three comedians will run up to me and be like, “Oh, bro, I think you should say that. But that last part … don’t say that.”
How did you first find out about FBoy Island?
I got a DM from a casting agent. She was like, “I think you’d be perfect for this show. It’s called FBoy Island.” And I was like, “You’re right. That’s pretty on brand.” [laughs] I let the conversation sit there for a while because I didn’t really know if I wanted to be on reality TV. It sounded like a lot and also wasn’t really the guy I wanted to be. But then, my friends were like, “Dude. Do it you pussy.” And I was like, “Okay, bet.”
I joked around with the application process and put random stuff in there. One of the questions was like, “What’s your type?” I didn’t take it seriously at all and was like, “Girls that cover up their check engine light with a Polaroid picture of four different girls they’re not friends with anymore.” [laughs] They were like, “Your answers are so out there. We’re going to advance you to the next step.”
We did a Zoom call, and I just kept joking around with the questions. Like, they asked, “What’s the typical girl you’d go for look like?” And I was like, “She usually has a spray tan and divorced parents.” [laughs] They loved it. I just kept advancing and then had the final call with like 30 producers. They cast me as a “Nice Guy.” I think the reason they cast me as that is because I have a “resting f-boy” face. So they were like, “We can’t tell what you are.”
Going into the show, what were you looking to get out of it?
I was trying to find love. [laughs] I actually did want to see if it was possible. Reality TV is so interesting so I wanted to potentially build a relationship. I knew I was going to meet a bunch of awesome people no matter what, and I was going to meet Nikki Glaser, which was also dope. I was also going to be on HBO. It just sounded like a win-win.
I got there, I had all those things in mind, and then everything just went out the window. Because once you’re in the game, it’s real life. Nothing was staged. You had to grind out there. Being in competition for one girl with five other dudes around was weird. You’ve gotta have a game plan every day when you wake up. It was work.
What was it like being on the set of a reality TV show, where you were constantly surrounded by cameras? Were you at all surprised by anything you experienced when it came to the show’s production?
I knew it was going to be legit, but it surprised me how over-the-top the production was. They blocked out three rooms downstairs to do interviews with three super-crazy cameras in each room. If we were all sitting on the couch in the mansion, there would probably be 17 camera people, and the lighting was perfect. The audio was perfect. Everything was so well-run. The producers were so nice. They’d give you good advice. One time, one of the producers even looked at me and was like, “Benedict! Sit up straight!” They know how to make good TV, and they did their thing.
Did you develop lasting relationships with any of the other cast members from FBoy Island?
Oh yeah. I think the cast likes each other too much. [laughs] We’ve been taking trips together. I can barely hang out with anybody else now—it has to be with the FBoy crew. The girls are awesome. We went to Miami for the premiere party. We went to Miami for the finale. I went to New York last weekend, and Mia was there. They cast us because we have similarities, so it makes sense. But we’re all really good friends. There’s nobody I don’t talk to.
If someone asked you to be on another reality TV show, what would your answer be?
I’d say yes immediately. I’d go on any reality show unless it was a cooking show. I burnt my arm making eggs on FBoy Island, so no cooking shows. [laughs] But any other reality show, I’m game.
What’s on the near horizon for you comedy-wise?
I’m hopefully going to put together a little tour in the next couple months. In the meantime, I’ll be in Indy at the clubs here. On September 2, I’m actually opening for Nikki Glaser in Las Vegas, too. Hopefully, there will be more of that.