November 27, 1954 |
|Occupation||Musician, comedian, actor, writer|
Steven Banks (born November 27, 1954) is an American musician, comedian, actor and writer of television, plays, books and cartoons, including SpongeBob SquarePants and The Adventures of Jimmy Neutron: Boy Genius.
In 1987, Banks landed his first acting role, performing as a minor character in the fantasy-comedy Date with an Angel.
Banks hit it big when he developed (and starred in) a one-man theatrical show titled Home Entertainment Center – a comedic play about an easily distracted procrastinator trying to meet a work deadline. He gave 440 performances of Home Entertainment Center at venues like the Canon Theater, Pasadena Playhouse, Marines' Memorial Theater, and The One Act in San Francisco (where the show ran for eleven months). For his performances, he was awarded the LA Weekly Theater Award, four Drama-Logue Awards, and three San Francisco Bay Area Critic's Awards. He also performed at the Aspen Comedy festival, the Cast Theater, Callboard Theater, and Las Palmas Theater.
In 1989 Home Entertainment Center achieved national fame when it was filmed and aired on Showtime; the filming was done at the Marines' Memorial Theater. The show featured original songs written and performed by Banks. On May 14, 1989, he appeared (with Penn Jillette) on the Dr. Demento radio program (that year's Mother's Day Special) and performed a number of his songs live on-air.
The ensuing fame landed him a TV pilot on Showtime in January 1991 – The Steven Banks Show (sometimes inaccurately referenced as The Steven Brooks Show). The plot of the show was much the same as his one-act play: Banks portrayed Steven Brooks – an underachieving, chronic procrastinator fascinated by trivia and cursed with a penchant for comedic songs.
In the summer of 1991 after Paul "Pee-Wee Herman" Reubens was arrested for allegedly masturbating in an adult movie theater, Banks was among a number of entertainers who protested the decision of CBS to drop Reubens' show from their lineup. Banks can be seen in a crowd of protestors on an LA street in the E! True Hollywood Story episode about Reubens' arrest. Reubens was later offered (and declined) a supporting role on Banks' fledgling TV program.
Showtime aired the pilot for Banks' show, but never ran any other episodes. In 1994, PBS took an interest in his act. They filmed and aired The Steven Banks Show that summer – the first original sitcom ever produced and run by PBS. Brandon Tartikoff produced the show, filmed at WYES in New Orleans. A CD album for the show was also released, consisting of original songs written and performed by Banks. Thirteen shows were shot and the program garnered critical acclaim, but one episode "Miss Janie Regrets" was not aired due to controversy over a PBS-like children's show parody. Banks' show has attained a kind of cult status despite its short run on PBS. On one show, Penn Jillette sang and played guitar, Teller on keyboard, joining Steven Banks. The song was "I wear the clothes of the dead", the setup for which was Penn wearing suits bought at estate sales.
However, that same year, Banks landed a bit role in Beverly Hills Cop III. By the late 1990s, Banks was making guest appearances on various TV shows, including Dharma & Greg, King of the Hill, and Dream On. He also appeared in Caroline in the City.
Billy the Mime
Banks performed as "Billy the Mime" in the 2005 comedic documentary The Aristocrats which was created by Penn Jillette and Paul Provenza. Other appearances include Jimmy Kimmel Live!, Penn & Teller's Bullshit!, Parks & Recreation (his scene was cut out) and The Green Room with Paul Provenza.
Billy the Mime presented a six-week engagement at The Flea Theater in New York and has 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, The Comedy Central Stage, The Steve Allen Theater in Girly Magazine Party and The Rudy Casoni Show and the Sacred Fools Theater Company.
In March 2012 he performed in San Paolo, Brazil at the Risadaria Comedy Festival and did 24 shows at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival in August;.
He founded Billy's Moving Art Gallery in 2014. "Bringing Affordable Art To The Masses Since 2014". His paintings have hung in The Museum of Modern Art, The Metropolitan Museum of Art and The Whitney Art Museum in New York, in The Los Angeles County Museum of Art, The Getty, The Broad and The Armand Hammer Museum in Los Angeles, The Hamburger Bahnhof Museum and The East Side Berlin Wall Gallery in Berlin because he put them there. All of the paintings were stolen or confiscated.
In 1998 Banks began writing for Nickelodeon's animated series CatDog. He wrote several CatDog books as well. He continued working for Nickelodeon, penning several SpongeBob books (including The Big Halloween Scare which actually charted on the New York Times bestseller list). 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 late 2004 he became story editor and then head writer for "SpongeBob SquarePants" for Seasons 4, 5, 6, 7, 8.
Banks's novel (King of the Creeps) was published by [Knopf] in 2006.
He wrote the book and additional lyrics for "SpongeBob SquarePants: The Musical!" opening May 2007.
He was nominated for an Emmy in 2008 for the SpongeBob episode he wrote "The Two Faces of Squidward"
In 2009 he collaborated with the dance company Pilobolus co-creating a full-evening piece "Shadowland" currently touring internationally.
His play, "Looking at Christmas", opened in New York at The Flea Theater November 20, 2010 and was filmed by local television station WNET. That play aired on WNET the following year in December 2011.
Banks was profiled in the New York Times Sunday Arts & Leisure Section on November 28, 2010.
He wrote the pilot for the Arnold Schwarzenegger / Stan Lee animated series The Governator.
In 2012 he wrote the pilot for a new updated version of the 60's animated classic, Underdog, for Red Kite Animation) and co-developed Supernuts! with Niki Yang for Nickelodeon.
In October 2012 he joined the staff of "Two and a Half Men" as Co-Producer.
2013 – writing one-hour dramedy pilot "A Beautiful Mess" for Chuck Lorre Productions.
His co-creation with Pilobolus, SHADOWLAND, has been performed in 31 countries and sold over 500,000 tickets. It is currently touring the US. A new full-evening piece,"Shadowland II: The Adventure Continues", premiered in Berlin in 2016.
He was a writer on "Harvey Beaks" at Nickelodeon in 2016 and is currently developing "Rio's Nico & Pedro" for Fox Animation.
His play "Looking At Christmas" was published by Broadway Play Publishing in 2016.
"Steven Banks Show" 13 episodes PBS
Producer: Paul Block
- Puig, Claudia. "'Aristocrats' lets you in on the crude joke". Retrieved July 8, 2015.
- Rabe, John. "The sub-cult of Billy the Mime, an actual good mime. No, really.". Retrieved April 29, 2015.