I would love to see everyone worldwide speak many different languages. If you understand each other it makes us all a little less fearful of one another and then, it’s harder to bomb a place if you have friends there.
I had the pleasure of interviewing Ken Rogerson. A national headliner, writer, sketch player, actor and comedian, Ken Rogerson wrote and starred in comedy film pieces on Fox’s “Sunday Comics” and has made film appearances in “Fever Pitch” and “There’s Something About Mary.” He has written several episodes for USA Network’s comedy, “Sirens.” You may have seen him on F/X’s “Rescue Me,” ABC’s “It’s All Relative,” NBC’s “Late Night with Conan O’Brien” or “The Late Show with David Letterman,” Comedy Central’s “Comics Come Home,” and Showtime’s “A Pair of Jokes” just to name a few.
YW: Thank you so much for joining us Ken! Can you tell us a story about what brought you to this specific career path?
KR: Growing up, I always liked making my friends and family laugh. When our TV was sent out for repairs, I would sit in the empty stand and entertain my sisters and brother with made up commercials and whatever weird television parodies that came to mind. Then, at the age of ten, my parents bought me the Smother’s Brother’s album “Mom Always Liked You Best” for Christmas, and that sealed the deal. I listened to the record hundreds of times and learned the routines by heart. I didn’t know it at the time but I was learning the craft of comedy. Years later, I moved to Chicago and started going to open mic nights.
YW: Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you started this career?
KR: Not really. There are many things that have happened to me in forty years of being a comedian and to try and boil it down to one would not be possible. One of my favorite shows I ever did was on a US Navy Destroyer in the middle of the Persian Gulf. We flew in on a Blackhawk helicopter, landed on the fantail, and did the show right there. The crew were amazing people and it felt like being Bob Hope for a half an hour.
YW: Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?
KR: First mistake I made when I was first starting out was thinking that drugs and alcohol would make me funny. They do not. I was awful and could barely string a sentence together. Second part of that mistake was inviting people I knew to come watch my very first time on stage ever. It did not go well. If you went back to that club today you could still smell the stench I left behind. Nothing worse than having people spend their hard earned money to watch you suck. I think there were a couple of those people whom I never made eye contact with again. Not so funny when it happened but hilarious to me today.
YW: What are some of the most interesting or exciting projects you are working on now?
KR: Right now, I’m on an album called The Best of Boston Vol 1. that’s soon to be released, and I’m taping a Dry Bar Comedy special which will air online sometime in the fall.
YW: Who are some of the most interesting people you have interacted with? What was that like? Do you have any stories?
KR: I have met many famous and interesting people and had a few adventures with a few of them. None of those stories will I repeat here for the sake of all of us.
YW: Which tips would you recommend to your colleagues in your industry to help them to thrive and not “burn out”?
KR: Tip number one. Drugs will not help you be funny in any way. Everything you need to be good is already inside you. Drugs do not put them there. Secondly keep writing and don’t do everything for money. Also, always tip the bouncer.
YW: You are a person of great influence. If you could start a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger 🙂
KR: I would love to see everyone worldwide speak many different languages. If you understand each other it makes us all a little less fearful of one another and then, it’s harder to bomb a place if you have friends there.
YW: What are your “3 things I wish someone told me when I first started stand-up” and why. Please share a story or example for each.
- I wish someone told me to never tease a strange pit bull with a piece of hot dog. I would not have needed stitches so often.
- Never swear at someone in traffic while riding a motorcycle. They can hear you and policemen don’t like being sworn at. Also, put aside money for bail
- If a member of the Hells Angels heckles you on stage, it’s best to let that go. Sometimes, they’ll just take you on a long motorcycle ride and dump you off in a different state, naked, and sometimes it’s not that pleasant.
YW: Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?
KR: Not to drop names, but I once had the honor of meeting the famed Producer Gary Marshall. A friend of mine was meeting with him to discuss a possible writing job one of his television shows and invited me to tag along. Sometime in the evening, the conversation turned to egos and showbiz and he said, “Try to remember compliments are like perfume. Wear it for a while but don’t drink it.” In other words, don’t believe your own hype. I’m not famous, but I like to think that I’ve been real with people in my life and career because I never drank the perfume.
YW: None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story about that?
KR: Barry Crimmins was the Godfather the Boston comedy scene. He was the founder and the reason comics made real money. It launched the careers of a lot of great comics. We met at Zanies in Chicago in the late seventies. He did not mince his words, was totally honest, and I’m pretty sure insane. We hit it off right away. He invited me to come to Boston to work. I did and never looked back. Be it fate, luck, or random chance, my career, friends, kids, and everything I hold dear, happened to me because of meeting him.
YW: Is there a person in the world, or in the US whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch with, and why?
KR: I would love to have lunch with Mel Brooks just to pick his incredible brain about comedy and writing and life in general. The laughs would be priceless, and I’m pretty sure he would pick up the check.
YW: How can our readers follow you on social media?
KR: Twitter @KenRogerson ; Instagram @ken.rogerson ; Facebook https://www.facebook.com/ken.rogerson.1 ; Youtube https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCXtbg5F1zN5zoSrgqnLNf-w?view_as=subscriber
YW: Thank you so much for joining us. This was very inspirational!