Also known as his silent, white-faced alter ego Billy the Mime, Steven Banks hit the big time when he developed and starred in the one-man theatrical show Home Entertainment Center, a play about an easily distracted procrastinator with a penchant for comedic songs trying to meet a work deadline. After a staggering 440 performances of the show across the US, he was awarded the LA Weekly Theater Award, three San Francisco Bay Area Critics Awards and four Drama-Logue Awards.
In 1989 the show achieved widespread fame when it was filmed and aired on Showtime, and subsequently landed him a one off TV pilot entitled The Steven Banks Show. In 1994 PBS produced his act as a series, and the first original sitcom ever made and aired by the channel was born. The 13 episode series garnered critical acclaim, attaining a kind of cult status despite it’s relatively short run. A CD album for the show was also released, consisting of original songs written and performed by Banks.
Banks has since appeared on TV shows such as Beverly Hills Cop III, The Jimmy Kimmel Show, and Parks and Recreation, and in 2005, he joined season 4 as head writer and story editor of the hit kids animation SpongeBob SquarePants. But it’s Home Entertainment Center that he’ll always be best known for, widely considered a ‘’lost classic’ that, surprisingly, was never commercially released!
Watch Steven Banks: Home Entertainment Center
An unearthed gem from the US comedy scene that tells the story of Didbert, a young pop-culture addict who clings onto his rockstar dream through inventive musical reenactments in his dingy one-room apartment. The multi-talented Steven Banks performed this show 400 times across the US over 20 years ago, and we’re proud to bring it to the world via NextUp. Welcome back Steven, now – how did you learn to play the flute, bass, drums, harmonica, guitar AND banjo?
See Steven Banks Live
There’s currently no information on upcoming live shows for Steven Banks but watch this space!
Steven Banks diverse career includes successful stints in theatre, comedy, sitcoms, book publishing and films. His early days saw him making a living performing for kids at school. “I did mime in the ’70s, when for one brief shining moment it was cool for like, three months,” he told the New York Times. A graduate of Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Clown school, Banks befriended the magician Penn Jillette, with whom he wrote the play Love Tapes. He also later appeared in Jillette’s award winning documentary, The Aristocrats as his alter ego Billy the Mime, a character that emerged after the success of Home Entertainment Center, and in response to Banks’ disdain for his contemporary practitioners.
As Billy the Mime, Banks presented a six-week engagement at The Flea Theater in New York and also appeared at The Upright Citizens Brigade Theater (LA and NYC), The New York International Fringe Festival, The Montreal Just For Laughs Festival, The Aspen Comedy Festival, SketchFest (San Francisco), The Revolutions International Theater Festival (New Mexico), The Lakeshore Theater (Chicago), and in Los Angeles at The Actors Gang, Sit ‘n Spin, Largo, and The Comedy Central Stage.
Following his PBS sitcom airing, Banks continued to appear occasionally in film and television in the 1990s, guesting on Caroline in the City and Dharma & Greg, before moving into animation, scripting episodes of the Nickelodeon series CatDog, Jimmy Neutron, and SpongeBob SquarePants. In 2002 Banks was named head writer for The Adventures of Jimmy Neutron: Boy Genius, and in 2004 he was nominated for one of the 56th Annual Writers Guild Awards for the episode Rescue Jet Fusion.
In 2011 His planned animated project The Governator, a superhero franchise for children produced by Stan Lee and co-developed with Arnold Schwarzenegger, was halted after scandals surrounding Schwarzenegger’s infidelity emerged. Banks continues to write, his published books including King of the Creeps, and plays HER LAST REQUEST, BILLY THE MIME, AMERICA LOVE SEX DEATH and PILOBOLUS SHADOWLAND.