After beginning his acting career with a play, Stiller wrote several mockumentaries, was a cast member on Saturday Night Live (for all but three or four episodes during the show's 14th season), and was offered two of his own shows, both entitled The Ben Stiller Show. After acting in a few films, Stiller had his directorial debut with Reality Bites, and has since written, starred in, directed, and/or produced over fifty films and television shows. His films have grossed more than $2.1 billion, with an average of $78 million per film. In 2008, he starred in the film Tropic Thunder, which he also co-wrote, co-produced, and directed.
Stiller is a member of the comedic acting brotherhood colloquially known as the Frat Pack. He seems to have a thing for self-deprecation, if his Jerkass As Himself roles on Extras and Curb Your Enthusiasm are any indication. A lot of his characters also tend to have a hilarious Berserk Button.
Heterosexual Life Partners with Owen Wilson, whom he's collaborated with numerous times on-screen; Wilson once said that Stiller was more defensive about Wilson's signature crooked nose than he was. Also really good friends with Tom Cruise; Stiller helped revive the latter's career with a scene-stealing turn in Tropic Thunder and has done affectionate parodies of Cruise multiple times, most notably on Celebrity Jeopardy! and hosting the MTV Movie Awards. The two have been trying to collaborate on a film together based on The Hardy Boys (with Frank and Joe grown up, obviously), but it's been stuck in Development Hell.
- The Cable Guy (1996) - writer/director; dual-role cameo as Sam & Stan Sweet
- Theres Something About Mary (1998) - Ted
- Mystery Men (1999) - Mr. Furious
- Meet the Parents (2000) / Meet the Fockers (2004) / Little Fockers (2010) - Gaylord Focker
- Zoolander (2001) - Derek Zoolander
- Dodgeball (2004) - White Goodman
- Envy (2004) - Tim Dingman
- Starsky and Hutch (2004) - David Starsky
- Madagascar (2005) / Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa (2008) - Alex the lion
- Night at the Museum (2006) / Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian (2009) - Larry Daley
- Tropic Thunder (2008) - Tugg Speedman (and Tugg Speedman as Sgt. "Four-Leaf" Trayback)
- Megamind (2010) produced - built from a discarded early script intended for live-action.
- Tower Heist (2011) - Josh Kovacs