Ben Stiller Reveals Who Surprised Him Most During ‘Celebrity Escape Room’

The Red Nose Day Special
Trae Patton/NBC

You won’t see those famous red noses in stores (donate at to download a digital one), but the show will go on for Comic Relief US’s annual star-studded charity event.

This year, NBC’s three-hour Red Nose Day programming block, which raises money and awareness for global childhood poverty, kicks off with what we hope will be the start of a new tradition: Celebrity Escape Room.

Here’s how it works: Adam Scott, Courteney Cox, Lisa Kudrow and Ben Stiller (above, flanking Jack Black) have an hour to work their way collectively through a series of themed rooms. The next door opens only after they decipher clues (what does the mascot head in the high school hallway do?) and solve a complex puzzle (like a table-size Rubik’s Cube in an ’80s living room).

Black is the maniacal Game Master, who can offer hints but mostly taunts them. Stiller, still reeling from Kudrow not knowing the Beastie Boys song they had to sing in the prom room, offers us a preview.

Red Nose Day Celebrity Escape Room

(Credit: Trae Patton/NBC)

For every puzzle solved, the group earns $15,000 for Red Nose Day. Did anyone surprise you with their competitiveness?

Ben Stiller: I’ve done a couple of [escape rooms], so I knew I get competitive in these types of situations. You just want to be able to do a Beautiful Mind sort of thinking, and no one can. It was great to see the way Courteney kept such a level head and was very analytical [just like Monica on Friends].

Lisa made me laugh all the time, because her reactions to what’s going on are so real. Adam is a pretty sharp guy, but he’s actually less intelligent than I thought. [Laughs] Not that I’m smart, but we were trying to figure out what 4 times 9 is, and I was like, “It’s 36!” And he kept on disputing that!

In one of her confessionals, Lisa claims you and Courteney don’t know how to follow instructions.

People will interpret the instructions in a different way. It’s a high-stress situation; there are cameras on you. It changes everything when there’s a camera watching your thought process, or lack of a thought process.

What made Jack perfect for his role?

The Game Master has to be someone who’s enjoying the process of torturing these people. Who’s going to be the most fun torturing you? It’d be Jack Black.

Celebrity Escape Room, The Red Nose Day Special, Thursday, May 21, 8/7c, NBC