Our interview with accomplished comedic veteran, Ken Hall who returns to TBS’s hit-comedy “People of Earth” to star as the ‘Jeff the Grey’, a curious, bug-eyed extra-terrestrial delivering side-splitting one-liners as season 2 rejoins the comedy’s Monday night lineup at 10:30pm on TBS.
“People of Earth” is centered on a group of oddballs that have had supposed alien encounters, the series is a gut-busting ride that toggles between two eclectic groups of misfits. Ken’s character, ‘Jeff the Grey’, is captain and leader of his flying saucer, taking the helm on a top-secret alien mission to Earth. That is, until a new alien arrives on the ship and seizes the mission altogether.
Describe yourself in 3 words.
Kind, funny, and patient
Who is your biggest supporter?
Best friend and other half of 2-MAN NO-SHOW Isaac Kessler. Without Isaac I wouldn’t have achieved the things I have. He always encourages me to go outside of my comfort zone and to be open to opportunities.
How did you get started in the industry?
I took improv classes here in Toronto for several years and in that time I just kept saying ‘yes’ to every opportunity that came my way. I started to get more opportunities to perform in improv shows in Toronto and really learned acting through that process. Thankfully improv is such a cool way of learning about yourself and others and it’s also the most fun as well so, it was easy to continue doing what I was doing not really being aware that I was studying comedy and acting in the process. An acquaintance of mine told me about a couple of casting directors that were looking to cast people in a Scare Tactics styled show called Freak Encounters. I auditioned and booked a role on the show. I was then invited back a few more times and in that process one of the casting directors reached out to me saying an agent reached out to her and was looking to expand her roster and was looking for someone like me. She connected us and I’ve been with my agent ever since then (approx 7-8 years).
What was your first acting role?
First tv role was on Freak Encounters where I played a forest dwelling hobbit like thing called a Puckwudgie. The first play I ever did was in grade 5 in front of the entire school. It was a play I helped write with some friends at the time. I forgot most of my lines but improvised by throwing a ball into the face of my scene partner. I panicked and didn’t know what else to do – surprisingly enough it got a huge laugh. Perhaps that’s where I get my appreciation for physical comedy. Haha. It was many years later that I decided to give performing another shot – so glad I did! For all aspiring actors I do not recommend throwing anything into your scene partner’s face. But I do recommend taking improv classes.
What is the best and worst part of being an actor?
Best part of being an actor is the opportunity to play an infinite number of characters and stories and the wonderful variety there is. I also really like when the work I do affects people in a positive way. I believe entertaining is helping people and I feel so grateful to have the opportunity to do so.
Worst part of being an actor is the uncertainty of your next project. It’s always in the back of your mind as to where your next opportunity will come from. That being said I also like that I don’t know so, when it happens it’s a lovely surprise.
Best advice ever given?
Your job is to now go out there and have fun.
Tell us about TBS’s hit-comedy “People of Earth” and your character?
POE is a comedy that involves an alien abductee support group. I play one of the aliens on the show called Jeff the Grey. He is like the iconic big headed aliens with the big dark eyes. There are other aliens that are part of the mission to invade earth. As the show evolves we see that the aliens are very much like the humans in many ways i.e. dreams, feelings, love, revenge, acceptance and connection etc.
What has been your most memorable experience from the set so far?
One of the most memorable experiences from set so far was in Season 1 when Kurt The Reptilian dies and Don and myself attend a make shift funeral for him. For much of the time after his death Jeff couldn’t admit that he lost someone who was very special to him. It’s at this funeral where we get to see just how much Jeff is affected by Kurt’s passing. It was memorable for me because it was a very heartfelt scene and I felt really good about my acting in it. I’m so grateful to be able to perform on a very funny show and I’m also thrilled that I can also have more nuanced and more dramatic moments too. It was very touching and it’s nice to play a character that has this depth to him.
What can we expect from Season 2?
So much happens this season. Ozzie passes away!!! Kurt returns from the dead!!! We are joined but a new cast member FBI Agent Alex Foster played by the amazing Nasim Pedrad from SNL. Jeff gets a new boss who dislikes him considerably. Jeff and the other aliens plan a mutiny to take back the ship.
What other projects have you been a part of?
I’ve been a part of a few features i.e Patch Town The Movie, A Christmas Horror Story and a made-for-TV movie for the Hallmark Channel called Mistletoe Over Manhattan. I’m also one half of the award winning sketch/improv/clown duo 2-MAN NO-SHOW with the incredibly talented Isaac Kessler.
Who is your favorite Actor/Actress? And why?
Robin Williams is still my favorite actor. He was so excellent in finding the comedy as well as playing with immense heart.
My favorite actress is Sarah Lancashire from Happy Valley. She is just an incredibly gifted and compelling performer.
3 things you can’t leave your house without?
My Cell phone of course, wallet and music. Must have music!
What music do you like?
All kinds – I’m big on 80s music right now. As a former drummer I like a good beat and something that gets my blood pumping.
Your idea of a perfect Sunday is…?
Relaxing with my partner Becky and spending a leisurely day outside after we’ve had the best brunch ever at our favorite tea room.
How’s a normal day in your life?
I’m not an early riser so I like to sleep in when I can. Mostly get up, shower, breakfast, emails, play with my cat – the rest of the day looks after itself. I like the feeling of getting things done and then having the night to do things. Usually spending evenings with Becky or performing in an improv show.
What is your favorite healthy food?
And your favorite cheat food?
Pizza or burgers
How do you see yourself in 5 years?
Happy and healthy.
Do you support any charities?
Yes, The Canadian Cancer Society and The Canadian Heart and Stroke Foundation
Where can we follow you?
Favorite Music: Rock
Quote: “It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.” – Theodre Roosevelt
Holiday Destination: DISNEY WORLD!!!
Food: Chicken Curry or one of my mom’s homemade burgers – they taste like happy memories.
Restaurant: The Keg
Drink: Iced Chai Tea Latte
Celebrity Crush: Tom Hanks
Song: Bobcaygeon – The Tragically Hip
Sports Team: Toronto Blue Jays
Movie: The Fugitive with Harrison Ford