Next time youre at Tortilla Flats and you find yourself wondering aloud to your dinner companion, What ever happened to the guy who did the Dude, youre getting a Dell commercials? dont be surprised when Ben Curtis, the man himself, approaches your table and explains the tequila list. While guest-starring on Law & Order and acting in films like the upcoming Proud Iva, Curtis has been a waiter and bartender at the Tex-Mex spot for the past year and a half, and though he dressed up as the Dell Dude for the Halloween party, hes not about to repeat the slogan for you. He might, however, give you a free shot. All you have to do, he says, is come and have a good time.
How often do people recognize you as the Dell Dude?
Every day. Its really difficult, but its a humbling experience. There were times when I made boatloads of money as an actor, but here I can be myself.
Whats the most extreme reaction youve gotten?
There was a group of women in their early forties, one of whom was bawling. I walk over and they said, Our friend just passed away. We thought you might be able to cheer [us] up, we know who you are and youre an incredible human and youve been through a lot and youre an incredible actor. Were all DEA agents, and we think you should smoke as much pot as you want to. And we love you.
Do people ask you to repeat the catchphrase?
Ive had tables of young girls who think they recognize me, and when they ask me, I say yes and then they dont believe me and they start arguing and ask me to do the catchphrase and Ill laugh and say, Its been four years, but Im glad youre a fan.
Do people quote it to you?
They get really drunk, and theyll start yelling things at me. I either ignore them, or if its way out of hand, I go up and say, I appreciate your support, but my name is Ben. That usually doesnt work so I smile and ignore them.
Have you met any girlfriends on the job?
I had one when I first started working there, but now Im single for the first time in a while. Ive met a couple people there Ive gotten to be really good friends with or dated for a while.
Youre also in a band?
My band is Whale, made up of a bunch of former actors. We had residency at Fat Baby. Its the first band Ive ever fronted. We have the green light, but weve decided to take a little time off to record our EP and package ourselves properly.
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