Ben Kennedy transforms his tragedies into comedy, his mishaps into lessons, his food into energy, and makes his money disappear!
After tragically losing his father and half-brother in a homicide/suicide in November of 1995, Ben Kennedy made a decision. He would be surrounded by good times and laughter, even if he had to make them himself. It was in this process, that in 2000, a stand-up comedian was born.
Since then, Kennedy, a Baltimore native, has been one of the more well-known names in the mid-Atlantic stand-up comedy scene. Kennedy was a staple of Baltimore stand-up, and an extra in many film and TV projects that came through the city. Projects that included Warner Bros. “The Replacements” and HBO’s “The Wire”. In 2002, Kennedy played the character Chip Johnson in a large viral web campaign for Hanes’ “Go Tagless” and in 2004, had a brief stint on CBS radio in Baltimore. His debut stand-up comedy CD, “You Don’t Know Me” in 2006 was made available everywhere from iTunes to vh1.com. That year also found him performing in 11 states of the East Coast.
However, 2006 also saw the birth of Kennedy’s son Benjamin, and instantly his accomplishments in entertainment seemed very small. Kennedy’s focus shifted to his family, and he began to tour less. In 2008, he moved his family down to his wife Kerri’s hometown of Charleston, SC. The move was the best thing for his family. It was also the worst thing for his stand-up comedy career. Add to that a toddler son conquering firsts by the minute, and it was clear: Kennedy was now a family man.
Kennedy left the stage behind, but the desire to bring laughter to people was as alive as it ever was. He began to write material with the intention to sell it to his friends in stand-up. However, he soon found that his new material was turning into 800 word essays. No longer restricted by the “set up, punch line” rule and time limited sets, Kennedy couldn’t help himself. Once all about getting laughs, he now saw the potential to move people, touch their hearts, make them think, and help them to take a new look at the world around them. This began Kennedy’s pursuit as a writer.
His website, www.bigbenkennedy.com, once showcased video clips and upcoming tour dates for the young comic. Then in the fall of 2008, Kennedy began posting his essays and short stories on the site.
Family, friends and fans of Kennedy's stand-up began to take notice of his talent in writing. Soon they were asking if he had ever thought about submitting them to publications.
As Kennedy searched for publications, he found a call from the popular book series, “Chicken Soup for the Soul”. The book was titled “All in the Family” and was to feature “101 Stories about the Fine Line between Comedy and Tragedy in Our “Dysfunctional” Families”. Kennedy immediately knew that one of his first works, "That Did It" was more than perfect for the book. "That Did It" is a humorous 1200 word story about his late father and half-brother involving sibling torment and a prank gone wrong.
Kennedy submitted the story. Two months later, he would be able to add another accomplishment to his growing list: Published Author.
Kennedy plans to release a collection of short stories and essays in 2010. After that, Kennedy's hopes and dreams go right back to his family. "I know my son will start Kindergarten in two years, and I want to buy our first family home.” says Kennedy. “As for my career, I just hope my humor will continue to find a place in people’s lives.”
Ben Kennedy's story, "That Did It!" will be featured in "Chicken Soup for the Soul: All in the Family"! Available in bookstores October 20th, it is "101 Stories about the Fine Line between Comedy and Tragedy in Our "Dysfunctional" Families". And it is just in time for the holidays! You can pre-order your copy at chickensoup.com, or at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and all major book sellers worldwide!