“My big theory is that comedy is a lot like porno now; there's something out there for everyone.” Ken Marino
New York born comedian, actor and screenwriter Ken Marino rose to prominence as part of MTV's sketch comedy series “The State” (1993-1995), created, written, directed, edited by, and starring the comedy troupe of the same name. After the show ended, he appeared in countless TV projects, including “Men Behaving Badly” (NBC, 1997), “Leap of Faith” (NBC, 2002), “Reaper” (the CW, 2008), “Party Down” (the Starz Network, 2009), “Dawson's Creek” (2001-2002), “Veronica Mars” (2005-2007), “Spin City,” “The Practice,” “Nash Bridges,” “Angel,” “Will & Grace,” “Monk,” “Grey's Anatomy,” “CSI: Miami” and “Reno 911!.” The attractive performer has also acted in movies like “Love Happens” (1999), “Tortilla Soup” (2001) and “Love for Rent” (2005). Making his screen writing debut with “Diggers,” which he also produced and starred in, Marino co-wrote “The Ten” (2007), with The State cofounder David Wain, and “Role Models” (2008), with Wain and frequent costar Paul Rudd. Talking about his script writing, Marino said, “I always want to cut the saccharine with something. Maybe that's because of my sketch comedy background or the type of writing I've done before, which is mostly sketch, but I always want to put a 'But' in or cut the sweetness. I think that only makes the drama of your storytelling more powerful.”
“The Ten” and “Role Models” were directed by Wain. Marino was previously cast in Wain's 2001 indie comedy “Wet Hot American Summer,” which also reunited the two with other The State members. The gifted comedian also acted in “Reno 911!: Miami” (2007), which was directed by fellow The State member Robert Ben Garant.
Marino is the husband of Erica Oyama, who appeared in “MTV's Undressed,” ”The Ten,” and the “Wainy Days” episode “Happy Endings” in 2007, which she also wrote with her husband. They have one child.
Childhood and Family:
Ken Marino was born Kenneth Joseph Marino on December 19, 1968, in Long Island, New York. His father was a clam digger, the same profession held by Ken's uncle and grandfather. Ken graduated from New York University's Tisch School of the Arts with a BFA in drama. He also studied acting at the Circle Rep Summer School of the Arts and the famed Lee Strasberg Institute in New York, from which he received the Strasberg Studio Award.
In 2005, Ken married actress/writer Erica Oyama (born on March 28, 1981). The couple has one child together.
Ken is of Italian origin. A fan of horror movies, he loves to watch Wes Craven's “Last House on the Left” (1972) and “The Hills Have Eyes” (1977), Charles Kaufman's “Mother's Day” (1980), and Stanley Kubrick's “The Shining” (1980).
Ken Marino honed in on his craft in school productions such as the musical “Pippin” and Neil Simon's “Brighton Beach Memoirs” before joining the national stage company tour of “A Few Good Man” and “Molt” and then appearing in the off-Broadway adaptation of “Valley of the Dolls.” In 1988, while still a student at NYU, Marino cofounded a comedy troupe named “The New Group.” Later famous as “The State,” the troupe performed in New York City and developed a following on and off campus. Within four years, The State had attracted the attention of MTV and made their debut in front of the TV cameras for the network in the interactive comedy series “You Wrote It, You Watch It,” which was hosted by Jon Stewart. In addition to playing various characters, Marino also served as writer and produced the show.
Together with 10 other members of The State, including David Wain, Michael Ian Black, Todd Holoubek, and Kevin Allison, Marino continued his partnership with MTV by launching a half hour sketch comedy television show called “The State,” in December 1993. The show went on to become a favorite among teen audiences and collected a devoted cult following. However, due to disagreements between the troupe and the network, “The State” stopped airing in July 1995.
In October 1995, Marino and his comedy group made their debut on CBS with the TV special “The State's 43rd Annual Halloween Special.” Although it received positive reviews, the show was a ratings disaster and CBS subsequently called off their partnership. Marino made an immediate return to television with guest spots in the series “Boston Common,” “The Single Guy” (both 1996) and “Spin City” (1997) before scoring a regular role in the second season of the NBC sitcom “Men Behaving Badly” (1997), based on the hit BBC series of the same name. Among his costars in the ill-fated remake were Rob Schneider, Ron Eldard and Dina Waters. Also in 1997, Marino made his big screen debut in a small role in “Gattaca,” a science fiction flick directed and written by Andrew Niccol and starring Ethan Hawke and Uma Thurman.
After “Men Behaving Badly” left the airwaves, Marino guest starred in such TV series as the short-lived NBC sitcom “Conrad Bloom” (1998), the failed remake “Holding the Baby” (1998), the David E. Kelley hit drama “The Practice” (1999) and the Don Johnson-headlined “Nash Bridges” (1999). He also appeared with Frank Langella in the television film “Kilroy” (1999), for director Todd Holland, and acted in films such as “Carlo's Wake” (1998), which won the Grand Prize for Best Feature at the 2000 Rhode Island International Film Festival, and the romance “Love Happens” (1999), where he costarred with Megyn Price.
Entering the new millennium, Marino was cast as Officer Russotelli in the comedy film “101 Ways (The Things a Girl Will Do to Keep Her Volvo)” (2000), which starred Wendy Hoopes. He followed it up with a bigger role in the Sundance-premiered “Wet Hot American Summer” (2001), which was helmed by fellow The State cofounder David Wain. The film also reunited Marino with other members of the group like Michael Showalter, Jo Lo Truglio and Michael Ian Black. The same year, Marino also appeared in María Ripoll's “Tortilla Soup,” a remake of the 1994 Ang Lee film “Yin shi nan nu,” and played Rick Raglow in John Pasquin's “Joe Somebody,” starring Tim Allen. He was also busy on the small screen with one-episodic appearances in The WB's “Angel” (2000), NBC's “Veronica's Closet” (2000), NBC's “Will & Grace” (2000) and “First Years” (2001). He then portrayed the recurring role of David Wilder, a professor who is romantically linked to Joey (played by Katie Holmes), in the WB series “Dawson's Creek,” a role he played from 2001 to 2002, and a regular role in the NBC canceled comedy series “Leap of Faith” (2002), opposite Regina King and Lisa Edelstein.
Following “Dawson's Creek,” Marino had guest roles in “Haunted” (2002), “Do Over” (2002), “Las Vegas” (2003), “Monk” (2004), “NYPD Blue” (2004), “Inconceivable” (2005), “Stella” (2005) and “Grey's Anatomy” (2006) and recurring roles in “Charmed“ (2002, as Miles), “What I Like About You” (2004, as Dr. Turner), “Rock Me, Baby” (2003-2004, as Kelly) and “Veronica Mars” (2005-2007, as private detective Vinnie Van Lowe). In addition, he starred in the Hallmark movie “Falling in Love with the Girl Next Door” (2006), with Crystal Allen, Patty Duke, Patrick Duffy and Shelley Long. On the movie front, Marino provided the voice of Raccoon Jerry for the animated feature “Hoodwinked!” (2005), which starred Anne Hathaway and Glenn Close in the voice roles of Red and Granny, respectively, acted alongside longtime collaborators David Wain and Michael Ian Black in the comedy “The Baxter” (2005), which was helmed and penned by and starred Michael Showalter, starred as Dr. Neil Gardner in the small film “Love for Rent” (2005), which won the Audience Award for Best Feature Film at the 2005 New York Latino Film Festival, and costarred with Mackenzie Astin and Mina Badie in the award winning short “Duncan Removed” (2006).
In 2006, Marino produced, wrote and starred in “Diggers.” Directed by Katherine Dieckmann, the coming-of-age movie also starred Paul Rudd, Ron Eldard, Josh Hamilton, Maura Tierney and Lauren Ambrose. He next teamed up with David Wain to write “The Ten,” a comedy consisting of ten vignettes inspired by the Ten Commandments. Directed by Wain, the film debuted at the Sundance Film Festival in January 2007 and received primarily negative reviews. Marino also appeared in the film as Dr. Glenn Richie, opposite Paul Rudd, Winona Ryder, Jessica Alba, Adam Brody, Famke Janssen, Justin Theroux, Oliver Platt, Liev Schreiber, Gretchen Mol and Rob Corddry, and served as producer. Commenting about the cast of “The Ten,” he stated, “Everybody embraced the project before even showing up to the shoot and I think that's an unusual thing and something that in hindsight we really value.”
Still in 2007, Marino was reunited with Wain and other The State members like Todd Holoubek, Michael Ian Black, Joe Lo Truglio, Michael Showalter, Thomas Lennon, and Michael Patrick Jann in “Reno 911!: Miami,” a comedy film directed by The State alumni Robert Ben Garant and co-written by Garant and Thomas Lennon.
Marino's collaboration with David Wain continued when he appeared in two episodes of “Wainy Days” (2007), a comedy series created by and starring Wain. Marino also wrote and directed a 2007 episode called “Wainy Nights” and an episode called “Happy Endings” (also 2007). 2008 saw the tireless actor in episodes of “CSI: Miami” and “Reno 911!” and starring as Dr. Glenn Richie in “Childrens' Hospital,” parody of medical dramas. The same year, he also began his supporting role of Tony, a gay demon, in the CW series “Reaper,” which debuted in September 2007 and is currently in its second season, and co-wrote (with David Wain and Paul Rudd) and starred in the comedy movie “Role Models,” which was directed by Wain.
From March to April 2009, Marino appeared as Shep in three episodes of the ABC series “In the Motherhood.” He currently stars as Ron Donald in the new comedy series “Party Down,” which began airing on the cable television network Starz on March 20, 2009.