Maybe two or three months ago, we were at a music showcase at Midtown Lounge. And it was bad. The performers weren't necessarily subpar, but the evening just seemed to lack any sort of oomph. There were no real surprises. Musician, break, musician, break, blah, blah, blah. It was weird. Something was missing. Or, rather, someone: Ken 2.
That's him in that picture up there. He's a comedian, but also serves as a show host and whatnot. We'd seen him here and there and pretty much everywhere before we'd even really noticed all that he was doing. But now, after watching him deliver more than a handful of keen observations and fearless quips at various shows, he's become nearly as vital to underground showcases as good musicians.
So, with his first potential headliner gig looming, we opened up the Artist of the Week criteria a bit and welcomed him in. Keep it moving to read about his favorite joke, Tyler Perry vs. a box of hair and the one thing he said that he immediately regretted.
Rocks Off: First, tell everyone everything they need to know about Ken 2 the Fool in exactly six words.
Ken 2 the Fool: Patient, procrastinator, narcissistic, hilarious, fearless, and my all-time favorite, fool.
RO: The name, can you explain that some? Is it, like, Ken to the Fool, like one to the two? Or is it a surname, and you're Ken two, the Fool, like there was an original Ken the Fool - your father, perhaps? - and you're paying homage to him or whatevs?
K2: Well, you're halfway right. I'm a junior and my dad's name is also Ken so my mother saw fit to give me the nic name "Ken 2," which is how I've been addressed my entire life, even in school.
I was always the class clown and I'd be called "fool" a lot; as a term of endearment, of course. So when Twitter came along I simply combined the two together. Naturally, people automatically address you by your Twitter name so whoever you were before is no more and you become that particular handle to everyone. Initially, I was reluctant to refer to myself as a "fool" on the Internet but I knew I was intelligent enough to dismiss any thoughts of a lack of intellect.
RO: How does one set out to write a joke? It seems like such a strange thing to do.
K2: Comedy is all around us at any given time. A comedian simply takes it from reality and presents it on stage. That's why the absolute funniest jokes you'll ever hear are also the truest. So after observing women on Facebook for a while, it's not hard to come onstage and say, "Hey, shout-out all my women on Facebook that turned your bathroom into a photo shoot." It practically writes itself.
RO: Your favorite joke of all time.
K2: Too many to just name one as my favorite. However, the one that instantly comes to mind comes from the late, great Richard Pryor. He explains how he kills his car by shooting out the motor and the tires. When the police arrive, he goes in the house "because they don't kill cars, they kill niggars." Classic.
RO: The one joke you told that you immediately wished you hadn't.
K2: I was in a contest for NBC a year ago, and for the preliminary round you only got one minute. I was racking my brain trying to figure out what I would do in this one minute. So when it was my turn, all I could talk about was how much one minute wasn't enough time, saying, "Man, NBC wrong for this one-minute bullshit. If I ever see that lil' peacock in the street I'm kicking the shit out of it!"
I look up at the two female judges from NBC and they have the most absolute stone faces ever. I felt like I was on that airline commercial, "Wanna get away?" I didn't advance.
RO: Which is funnier, Tyler Perry or a box of hair?
K2: Well, that depends. If it's a box of Saga Platinum Remy Hair, then Tyler Perry is funnier, but if it's a box of lace fronts, then he doesn't stand a chance.
RO: Has Houston ever produced a big-time comedian? Bill Hicks is generally regarded as one of the best ever, but that type of talk didn't seem to happen until he'd died. If not, why not? There are goddamn six million people here, y'know.
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K2: Well, Bill Hicks is actually from Georgia, but that's neither here nor there. You would surely think we'd at least have one by now, this being the fourth-largest city in the country. But Houston isn't exactly a premier city for anyone in entertainment. That's why everyone flocks to either the East or West Coast to try and break through.
People come here for the cheap property, the low cost of living or to go to the moon. Never in the history of entertainment has anyone ever said "Hey, we need to find the next big thing - lets go to Houston."
See Ken 2 the Fool perform Thursday, September 29 at The c=Comedy Showcase, 11460 Fuqua. Also performing that night: Adam Bob, Netra Babin and Mickey Housely in their first proper showcase. Support.