Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Ken Ober (1957-2009)

This one is a stunner. I saw the headline on Yahoo!'s front page a short time ago, and of course, I needed to read the article. Ken Ober, the genial MC of MTV's seminal comedy-game show Remote Control, passed away Sunday at 52. No other details have been made public at the present time.

In addition to making Ober a star, Control also launched the careers of actresses Kari Wuhrer (who was one of Ober's sidekicks during season 2) and Alicia Coppola (who replaced Wuhrer, then moved to the short lived Fox series, Against The Law), and actor-comedians Denis Leary (Rescue Me), Colin Quinn, and Adam Sandler. Post-Control, Ober tried his hand at acting, landing a role in NBC's first attempt at adapting the movie "Parenthood" for television, and did some commercials. Control would not be the end of his game show career, though, as Ober also hosted Smush and a revival of Make Me Laugh, both for Comedy Central (though he left Laugh after the 1st season), and a sports-themed game for Fox Sports Net, the title of which escapes me at the moment.

In recent years, Ober has worked as a morning radio host in Los Angeles, and turned his talents to producing, working on CBS' New Adventures of Old Christine and Comedy Central's now-defunct Mind of Mencia. He also reunited with Colin Quinn, serving as a producer and occasional panelist on Quinn's Comedy Central talk show, Tough Crowd.

One wonders if MTV will even be bothered to honor Ober with a marathon of Control. With MTV's programming now largely non-music related, we'll soon see. Rest in peace, Ken.

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