Ben Stiller remembers calling late father Jerry during a bad LSD trip, plus other funny memories
The late Jerry Stiller was as funny and distinctive in real life as he was on screen, and his son, Ben Stiller, appeared on The Tonight Show to share some of his best and most hilarious memories of his father.
The Zoolander star said he wanted to go on the late-night show to celebrate his father, who died on May 11 at the age of 92. Stiller said his dad was ultra-supportive and often went to see his shows. He was even supportive when a 16-year-old Ben called him in the middle of a bad acid trip. "The first and last time," the comedian told host Jimmy Fallon of taking LSD.
"I got freaked out, scared, and my first instinct was, 'I'm going to call my parents.' Because every kid calls his parents on LSD, right?" Stiller said. "But maybe that speaks to our relationship too because I felt like, okay that's where I wanted to go."
Jerry Stiller, who was away in Los Angeles shooting an episode of The Love Boat at the time, tried his best to give his son good advice.
"I think his first thought was 'acid — he drank battery acid.' And I said, 'No, LSD,' and I could hear the silence on the other end of the phone, because I think he [had] that feeling of like, 'I failed as a parent,'" he continued. "And the next thing he said was, 'It's going to be okay.' And he started to talk me down, even though he knew nothing about drugs. He said, 'I know what you're feeling. When I was 10 years old I smoked a Pall Mall cigarette and I was sick for two days.'"
"No, this is different," Stiller tried to explain.
As caring as he was, Stiller said his dad took certain things very seriously, so much so that he once roasted a fourth-grade play that his granddaughter, Ben's daughter Ella, appeared in.
"Afterward I said, 'Dad, what'd you think?' And he said, 'I didn't care for it,'" Stiller recalled, mimicking his father's serious expression at the time. "He said, 'Ella had the commitment and she was shining up there but I didn't feel the rest of the kids were up to it.' He wasn't kidding...it really bothered him."
During the interview, Stiller also talked about what it was like having entertainers as parents, as his dad worked alongside his mom, Anne Meara, who died in 2015. The three all came on The Tonight Show years ago to play charades, and Stiller said it was the perfect showcase for his dad's sense of humor.
"He wasn't really trying to be funny," Stiller said. "He wouldn't go for a laugh. He'd just be himself."
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