To meet Ken Garr is to be immediately charmed. He has the cool demeanor of a Rat Pack member born to the wrong era. He’s a sturdy guy with a Midwestern ease and whip-smart whit. Dude is smooth.
So, it caught me off guard, initially, when he casually mentioned he earned a bronze medalist in the 1988 Special Olympics. I don’t know what I expected a 1988 Special Olympian athlete to look like, but it certainly wasn’t Ken.
“I did the math. I went back and looked at my medical records. I think I have broken around thirty-five bones. So if you average six weeks for recovery… that’s around two hundred and ten weeks or roughly four consecutive years of my life just recuperating.”
Ken has spent most of his life being broken in one sense or another. His first bone break came at six months, and by age three, he’d broken his legs six times.
His bones endure a rare bone disease called Osteogenesis Imperfecta, which basically means he breaks easily. The disease wrapped most of his youth in casts and braces and forced him into walkers. Surrounded by a family of burly firefighters, Ken stuck out. He was different.
“In the eighties if there was anything wrong with you, you couldn’t stay in regular school. They didn’t know any better back then. So they would throw a helmet on you and put you in special needs classes.”
Ken didn’t let his bones hold him back. In fact, he seemingly raced to the next injury with the gusto only a child can muster up. He played baseball, kickball, football. Each came with a new battle scar, but he welcomed the pain for the chance to feel normal.
The pain he endured over the years made him who he is today. When he was in a cast or sling and couldn’t bond with friends on the playground so instead he built friendships with humor. He became the funny kid in the arm brace. Making people laugh became more regular than breaking bones for Ken. His broken bones as a child is what has lead Ken to a solid career as a comedian.
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Find out more about Comedian Ken Garr:
Twitter : @ComedianKenGarr