Noble is defined as “having or showing fine personal qualities or high moral principles and ideals” (Thanks, Google). So, it’s likely that Ben Noble’s ancestors were vegan. That begs the question, why isn’t he? Maybe he’s rebelling, trying to find his own identity. But if that’s the case, why the hipster glasses and plaid shirts just like every other 20-something improviser wears?
Let’s face it: Ben Noble is an enigma. One day he’s in level one at The Improv Shop, and you turn around to find him coaching an independent team. One day he’s acting really snobby, and the next he’s asking you for your opinion on his new blog. I can’t keep up. Maybe you’ll have better luck understanding this mystery man, and why he’s not vegan.
Meet Ben Noble.
What is your name?
How long have you been a non-vegan?
Let me answer your question with a question. How long has it been since my parents bought me my first Happy Meal? Although…since that’s not actually real meat…maybe I am a vegan and I just don’t realize it?
Why have you decided not to be vegan? Describe your journey to veganism and where you got stalled.
It’s not that I don’t want to be a vegan. Look, I get the appeal. It’s healthier, you get to stand for something, you get to be superior, using veganism to explain how you’re better than everyone else (all things I like to do in other aspects of my life!), but the truth is that I hate food in general. Not just vegan food! Lately, as I’ve been more open about that fact, people seem to think I’m weird. But in all honesty, I only eat food because, biologically, I have to (and because buying a girl dinner generally helps me get some tongue on tongue action). If I could eat via autotrophism, like plants, then I would.
The food I do eat is chosen for it’s convenience in cost (because I hear rumors that being vegan is expensive), cooking time/difficulty (because I hate cooking) and nutrient value (because I am a growing boy). I’m sure there’s a way I could be vegan if I wanted, but I find that sticking to my rigid meal schedule means I can pretty much go to the grocery store/prepare food on autopilot, leaving me extra brain space to think about what I would do if aliens invaded, reasons why my cat hates me, and easier ways to get tongue on tongue action with girls.
If you had to take one step toward becoming vegan, what would it be and why only one?
I would probably eat more hummus with pretzel chips. That’s vegan, right? And, I would only take one step because taking two steps would require additional non-auto pilot brain power to both create a second step and then execute it.
It must be expensive to eat non-vegan food. How do you afford it?
Oh god, is it expensive. I try to keep costs down by cooking things in huge batches – like stir fry or chili, which essentially involves just mixing and heating ingredients together in a big pot and will feed me for three meals. I also don’t eat large amounts of food, so that helps stretch my food budget. My biggest challenge in affording to be non-vegan is that: 1) I am always over-filling my schedule, leaving little time to cook, and B) I like intimate talks with my friends, so we end up eating out a lot. $$$$$$$$.
What vegan food do you fear you’re missing out on as a non-vegan?
Vegetables. I don’t know much about those. I feel like they’re good and good for you, but if it’s green I generally won’t eat it. I live alone and I’m never home, so it’s impossible to keep fresh things around the house. They go bad and then I feel guilty because of money and because of those sad Sara Barelli’s commercials with starving kids in Africa.
Also, carrots. I have been trying to like them for 10 years and it just won’t take – like that girl you kind of have a crush on and you’ve messed around with and you get along with and you’re friends even though you’ve dated and broken up and gotten back together and broken up, but you know there’s no future there but you just keep trying and regret it the minute you do and all of the reasons you dumped her the first go around come rushing back to your head and you realize you’ve made a huge mistake. That’s my relationship with carrots. We try to spice things up with ranch dressing sometimes and that doesn’t do it for us either. I guess we’ll just stay friends?
Do you eat fish? You eat fish, right?
Yeah, I do sometimes. I’m Jewish, so it’s pretty much a law that you eat lox (smoked salmon for all my Shiksas).
Are there any animals in your life, such as pets or funny neighborhood squirrels? Tell us a story about them.
I have a cat named Mew (like the Pokemon). But I didn’t get her by choice. She was hanging around my building last summer and my neighbor basically guilt tripped me into adopting her. On the plus side, this neighbor was nice enough to drive me to the vet with the cat and even paid for all of the shots and such – which was all sort of awkward since we pretty much just met that day.
I also have a few tropical fish. That was unintentional too. I got them in a breakup (not my own). When my two friends split neither of them wanted their “couple fish” that they bought together, so I volunteered. We all lost something that day. They lost each other and I lost the ability to go out of town without worrying about living things that are dependent on me for survival. Since I can hardly depend on myself for my own survival, it’s a wonder they’re still kicking. In the spirit of giving, if you’re interested in a few fish and a tank setup, send me a message. This isn’t a joke. (see photo)
What do you do for fun besides eating meat and dairy?
I spend an inordinate amount of time involved in improv related activities like coaching, writing, watching, talking, practicing, and performing. I also play kickball, softball, and enjoy a few adult beverages with friends from time to time.
Do you have any upcoming projects you want to plug?
I’ve got this blog about all of that improv stuff I mentioned in the last question. It’s called I’m Making All This Up. I write two articles a week with tips to improve your craft and interviews with St. Louis improvisers (that I ripped off this fine blog). Check it out and/or like it on Facebook.
Also, I’m single. So date me if you think I’m funny and/or cute and you don’t mind the fact that I don’t cook. Is finding a girlfriend really a project I should be plugging? Dunno. My mom seems to think it is.
Make up a question of your own and answer it.
Is your mom gonna be offended by that jab you just made about her in the previous question?
Absolutely. I know she is going to call me right after I email her this interview. She’ll say, “Ben. You know I just want you to find someone so you can finally be happy. Stop being so picky. You’re not the next messiah or anything. You are as full of faults as Swiss cheese is of holes. All you can really ask for is someone who will put up with your neuroses and your ego.”
So now at least my mom can call me and talk about how I improperly portrayed her in THIS question instead of the last one. But seriously mom, I love you. Please don’t be offended by this question I made up. It’s for comedy.
Song: “I Don’t Know You Anymore” By Bob Mould
Recipe: Carrot Scramble
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