Benjamin Stockham is quite the comedy veteran for a kid his age. He played the precocious younger brother in Sons of Tucson a few years ago, and these days he is finding himself in the same position on NBC's 1600 Penn. As Xander, the youngest of the First Family Gilchrist clan, Stockham has stolen scenes (and hearts) with storylines about sibling rivalry, the little lies parents tell that get out of hand, and soon, a Presidential campaign of his very own.
"I think that Xander would be a really good president-- maybe even better than his father. Maybe!" Stockham said when we caught up with him to talk about his big 1600 Penn episode "Frosting/Nixon."
In the episode, Xander is running for Student Body President at school, where normally, Stockham considers him "kind of an outsider."
"He doesn't have a lot of friends, but he probably has a small group of nerds or something," Stockham said.
"You are meeting some [who] work on his campaign and stuff [but] it's mostly Emily-- actually it's all Emily. Xander doesn't even come up with the campaign!"
In an attempt to bond with her stepson, Emily (Jenna Elfman) steps in to help ensure a win with him just as she did with his father (Bill Pullman) years earlier. She is used to running much larger, national campaigns, so a student election should be a piece of cake. But this time there is a lot more emotionally at stake, as above anything else, she sees this as an opportunity for the two of them to bond.
Stockham shared that Emily will get her wish there, noting that it may be happening "slowly," but they are growing closer. He previewed some similar upcoming moments between Xander and his dad, too.
"There are a couple of episodes where Xander and his dad really get to bond when his dad isn't busy with his Presidential duties," Stockham said.
Stockham has certainly cut his acting teeth on comedy, learning from the likes of Tyler Labine and Justin Berfield on Sons of Tucson and certainly Elfman and Josh Gad on 1600 Penn.
"He's always coming up with different things to say, and they pick the funniest one. It's just kind of fun to watch him adlib," Stockham said of working with Gad.
"If you make Josh laugh, then that means you are truly funny. For a comedian, it's actually harder to laugh at other people's jokes [because] you know what to expect."
But all that being said, he is eager to explore other genres ("maybe even horror!") as his career unfolds. His next venture will be guest-starring on the ABC fairytale drama Once Upon A Time in a very mysterious but sure to be fun role.
Stockham, who recalled "Jack and the Beanstalk" as a particular fairytale he always enjoyed, will be coming into the 17th episode of this second season of Once Upon A Time as Owen, "a precocious, strong-willed kid who isn’t afraid to speak his mind— but his free-spirited, lively personality is all a facade, as he’s secretly dealing with the tragic death of his mother."
"I know he's male!" Stockham laughed when we asked if there was more he could share about the role.
"He and his dad have a really good bond...I watched a couple of episodes of Once Upon A Time, and I really liked it, so I'm pretty excited to be in an episode!"
Whether or not Stockham appears in the Storybrooke or fairytale land-that-was storyline (or both) is something you'll just have to tune in to find out, but personally, we think his casting might shed some light on Ethan Embry's equally mysterious "Outsider." The resemblance is just too uncanny!
Want more 1600 Penn news and interviews? Follow LA TV Insider Examiner on Twitter!