Ken is a comedic actor, improviser, writer and all round nice guy. Ken is one half of the fun loving, mad cap duo of 2-Man No-Show along with Isaac Kessler. He has performed sketch/improv in Edinburgh, San Francisco, New York City, Chicago, Charleston, Boston, North Carolina, Montreal, Winnipeg and Toronto. Nominated for a Canadian Comedy Award for the film Chère, Ken also teaches at the prestigious Second City and Bad Dog Theatre in Toronto. Ken finished in the top six to represent Toronto in the CBC’s The Second City Next Comedy Legend and can be seen in an upcoming episode of Single White Spenny on Showcase. Ken is a cast member of Bad Dog Theatre’s flagship show Theatresports and recently performed as part of The Bench at Second City. Ken also performs weekly with his long form improv team Nakatomi Protocol through The Impatient Theatre Company.
Preface: I’m 4 foot 9 with a congenital disease called scoliosis or curvature of the spine which means I was born with it and did not receive it in the mail. I have a metal rod fused against my spine and have 50 bone grafts in place to solidify my back and protect the rod.
- Some people often feel the need to bend down to talk to me (sometimes even if they’re not much taller than me). I suppose this is meant to help me see them eye to eye. When I see someone start to take a conversational knee I feel a pang of embarrassment. Truth be told I want to punch them in the face…I have not yet done so.
- When someone asks me “Can I ask you a personal question?” I cringe. The question will no doubt involve a very delicate tip-toe-around-the-tulips- around-about- way of saying “Hey, what’s wrong with you?”
- Some people feel compelled to hurl derogatory comments at me from moving vehicles. This could be an Olympic sport one day.
- I often feel pretty normal until someone asks me what’s wrong with me or asks for clarification about how I classify myself…”Midget, Dwarf or Little Person” (not much of a list to choose from if you ask me). At those times I’m reminded that “oh yeah I am different than everyone” and the safe bubble I reside in is momentarily popped and I’m left feeling deflated.
- An apple a day keeps the doctor away…not if you have severe scoliosis…you need to get on that right away. You also require good doctors and good surgeons. I had a great surgeon named Dr. Bobechko who appeared on the show “That’s Incredible” in the 80’s for his contribution to corrective measures in treating scoliosis. He assisted in inventing something called the Harrington rod and a specific kind of clamp. As I grew I would have to get a new rod placed in me every so often (kind of like a spinal tune up). I actually have an old rod at home that I asked to keep before I went under for an operation once. I should Antique Roadshow my wares someday. Dr. Bobechko also had his personal surgical gear blessed by Pope John Paul the II. I also had a shitty surgeon who once wanted to take my rod out and put me in a hammock like contraption for 6 months when I was 14…my parents passed on that archaic offer and we booked a flight to a private hospital in Dallas where my good surgeon had moved to. We even worked out a deal with him and OHIP so we wouldn’t have to pay the full cost for private health care in an American hospital. He was a great man.
- Short men are gifted with great drive and ambition, perhaps as a way to compensate for our vertically challenged nature. I’m an over achiever. Perhaps I see it as a way to gain acceptance until I finally become a “real person”.
- Dating can be tough. I once saw an episode of 20/20 where they had men stand in a line up and there were a bunch of women behind a glass who were evaluating the men. When asked if they would date the smaller man in the line up one woman replied “Maybe, if the other guys were psychopaths” and a few of the women agreed. That stayed with me for a very long time.
- My surgeon had very strong hands…from time to time I get uncomfortable when people touch me. This might be as a result of being pushed around when I was younger or simply a result of the traditional upbringing of Scottish handshakes over hugs. But I miss the way his hands felt on my back…it was like he didn’t need to operate on me but he could just form me the way he wanted to as if I was made out of moulding clay. Is it possible to hug a person with your hands? If it is then that’s what it felt like. I felt safe with him.
- I was closer to my surgeon than my grandfather. I have fond memories of him ever since my first operation when I was 5 years old. Back then he called me ‘Tiger” I think because of my red hair. He still called me Tiger up until the last time I saw him in Dallas, Texas in 1990.
- My surgeon helped treat my scoliosis but helped me more in becoming the person I am today. I like to help people and make a positive difference in other people’s lives. I like to fix things i.e. people’s problems and I often take too much on. I’m an employment counsellor by day and an improviser/actor in the rest of my life. I feel that doing both helps people which in turn helps me. Last year I was nominated by George Brown College’s Career and Work Counsellor Program as Counsellor of the Year. I think in many ways Dr. Bobechko planted the seed that showed me the importance of valuing and helping others.