Get the 411 on Abbott Elementary’s newest recurring guest star, Benjamin Norris.
Abbott Elementary is a critically acclaimed ABC comedy that centers on a Philadelphia elementary school.
The cast is led by the Emmy Award-winning Quinta Brunson who also serves as the show’s creator and executive producer (Learn more about Abbott Elementary’s entire cast here).
4 Fun Facts About Abbott Elementary’s Benjamin Norris
Benjamin Norris Started off Making YouTube Comedy Skits
Early in his career Benjamin Norris created and starred in his own series of humorous sketches on YouTube called Live Your Lyfe.
These skits typically were around three minutes in length and spoofed popular topics, such as in the video entitled Couples Who Binge Together.
Around the time Norris was creating the videos, he was also studying improvisational comedy at the Groundlings School in Los Angeles. The Groundlings are a well-known improv group and have been around since the 70s.
Benjamin's Never Have I Ever Audition Changed Trent's Character
In Netflix’s popular series Never Have I Ever, Norris played the character of Trent Harrison. The White Plains, New York native starred in all four seasons of the show, but what he brought to his audition wasn’t necessarily what was on the page:
"When I went in for Trent, the character description was a bit more along the lines of jock/frat boy type. I brought a little bit of that himbo stoner energy in there, and I think it just took flight after that."
Norris realized what a hit his performance had become with Never Have I Ever’s creative team early in Season 3 after the actor busted out some of his improv skills during a scene:
"I knew I wanted to bring the whole 'I'll do anything for Paxton' thing to the character because that was on the page. But when we were shooting a scene in Episode 3 in Season 1, I was already in the motion of delivering an improv line as they called cut. I just looked Darren in the eyes and said, ‘Well, I'll do anything for you, man.'"
As it turned out, he had stuck gold with that particular line and as a result, Norris "leaned into that as much as possible:"
"Crew members after that started quoting that line to me. It really did make me realize, 'Man, what a fun ingredient to the character. We're going in the right direction here.' So I leaned into that as much as possible."
Benjamin Starred in the Podcast Series Academy
Academy is a 2023 audio drama podcast about students at a very prestigious boarding school. Benjamin Norris Lent his voice to the character of Jesse for Academy.
Norris was a guest on Popternative’s YouTube channel where he discussed his approach to acting in the podcast:
"For me, it's all storytelling. I think the approach to performing is obviously a little different. On the screen, you're consciously aware of where the camera is, your marks, where you're scene partner is. Whereas an audio, you're in a booth, there's a microphone. But you don't really wanna change your approach too much, because it’s an audio drama."
He continued, remarking that it’s always important for an actor in a podcast to be cognizant of the medium whilst remaining “as real and grounded as possible:”
“You want it to feel real, you want it to feel lived in. and when people are listening, you want them to be able to picture everything, and so you gotta keep it as real and grounded as possible.”
Benjamin Will Next Star in Puddysticks
Coming up, Benjamin Norris’ next role will be in the dark comedy film Puddysticks. The movie is about a burnt-out workaholic who becomes part of a group of adults with similar mindsets who work out their issues by playing like children.
In Puddysticks, Norris will portray the character Brian, but the cast also includes Elemental’s Mamoudou Athie and Megan Seely, who directed the film.
How To Follow Benjamin Norris Online
For fans who wish to catch Benjamin Norris online, his Instagram handle is benanorris.
Abbott Elementary’s brand-new season debuted on Wednesday, February 7. New episodes of the smash hit series air on Wednesdays at 9 p.m. ET On ABC. The show also streams on Hulu.