Saturday, May 09, 2015

Sorry, I'm not THAT Ken Levine

Ken Levine but not me
This happened to me repeatedly at my ten-year high school reunion. Classmates throughout the night would approach and ask me, “Are you the guy on MASH?” When I’d say yes they’d shake their heads and say variations of, “Y’know, every week I see your name and think to myself, that can’t be you.” Thank you. Lovely.

But over the course of years I’ve encountered other Ken Levine’s. So to clarify, these are the Ken Levines I’m not.

The former newswriter for several local Los Angeles TV stations who CLAIMED he was me and on numerous occasions took credit for scripts I’ve written. Don’t think it didn’t get back to me, Ken!

The deadbeat who didn’t pay his Visa bill, which resulted in me getting about a hundred phone calls at all hours from the Bank of America. Who pays for hookers by credit card anyway?

The young newbie writer from Ohio who asked me what advice I could give him, since we had the same name. I suggested finding someone named David Isaacs and teaming up.

The far more successful video game developer who created BioShock. I wonder if the newswriter Ken Levine takes credit for that, too.

Another Ken Levine that's not me
The musician from South Africa who moved to the U.S. and has his own swing band that tours. I wish one of my classmates at the reunion had said, “Hey, did you become South African after graduation and make a bunch of records?”

The chef who recently posted a killer Matzah Brei recipe.

The one who imports custom golf gloves.

The CEO of NitroSecurity. Me and computers? I don’t even know how to change passwords.

The motorcycle rider/former teacher/now realtor in Baltimore. Hopefully he’s not still getting people telling him he was a lousy announcer for the Orioles.

The one on Facebook who will only divulge that his interest is women.

The one who is now a woman. “Do you Ken Levine take Ken Levine to be your lawfully wedded wife…?”

And finally,165 other U.S. citizens who share my name. So how do you know which one is really me? I’m the only one who will admit to writing AfterMASH.


MikeK.Pa. said...

"Who pays for hookers by credit card anyway?"

Umm, Secret Service while in Central or South America?

Covarr said...

I'm only aware of one other person with my name. I wouldn't care, but for the fact that he shot up a movie theater in San Francisco a few years ago. I certainly don't want that showing up when potential employers search for me, so it's been rather an effort trying to get that pushed off the front page of Google by getting better content up there.

Alan Iverson said...

Try getting an email address circa '97 with this name. Every variation I tried to verify had Yahoo reply with, "keep dreaming, bub."

The other A.I. might have the fame, cash, legacy and looks, but I am older, so swings and roundabouts.

The weird thing is, neither of us are Scandinavian.

Mike Barer said...

There are also 2 Lee Goldbergs in TV. One is a weatherman at a New York TV station and the other is a TV writer, known to spend summers in Walla Walla as a youth. After finding the Lee from New York on twitter, I asked if he knew there was another Lee Goldberg in the industry, he said he did know that and pointed out some other TV Lee Goldbergs.

Anonymous said...

Ken, you're better looking than that squirrel-faced ringo pictured at the top of your column.

Look, here's what you have to do: You've met gay dudes heading or working in assorted wardrobe departments throughout the years, right? You can still reach some of them, right?

Call up one of them, tell him you'll pay 'em $500 to go to Nordstroms, or anyplace he likes, with you for a couple of hours, and improve your look. That includes the glasses.

You tell that gay dude that you want him to make you into his personal project, as if he's preparing a public demonstration to show how awesome he is at at his job!

9 out of 10 gay dudes will make the magic happen.

Look, Ken... there's nothing more pathetic than a defeated millionaire, and I for one, am tired of your "wah wah, I look like a nerd" routine. Find your gay dude, go where he tells you, buy what he tells you, then come back here, and show us what you can be, goddam you!

– Shlomo the Hip Rabbi

Joseph Scarbrough said...

Ken, your blog used to be the first result whenever Googling "Ken Levine" . . . now it's dropped down to third and fourth, and the first results are now for the other Ken Levine. Sad.

Mike Botula said...

I too, have had some contact with a Ken Levine, the newswriter, and he brought grief and chaos into my life. In fact when Don Barrett first touted your blog, I avoided it like the plague until Roger Carroll vouched for you. Now, I'm a solid fan of "The Real and True Ken Levine." Now, as for me the only other known Mike Botula is my son. Narrowing the field certainly has its advantages.

AlaskaRay said...

I always thought your name was Clem Lebine. BTW, I'll be in LA for a few days, starting next Friday. Please e-mail if you're available.

Brian Smith said...

I went through airport screening last year, and the Transportation Security Administration guy said, "So! 'Brian Smith'! If that IS your real name?" And I replied, "It is, and it's pretty great! I'm impossible to find online!"

The look I got in response taught me an important travel lesson: TSA agents can joke with the passengers, but the passengers can NEVER joke right back.

David in Cincinnati said...

"I suggested finding someone named David Isaacs and teaming up."

Dad-Burnit, you make it seem so easy! LOL

David-NOT-Isaacs in Cincinnati

YEKIMI said...

Last time I checked I was only able to find one other person in the USA with my first and last name. But BEFORE I was adopted when I was way younger there were about a billion people with the same first and last name.

Mike said...

Speaking of AfterMASH, here's a Friday question:

Reading Wikipedia, I see AfterMASH came in 10th in the ratings its first season on the air, when it aired in MASH's timeslot of Mondays at 9. For the second season, CBS moved it to Tuesdays at 8 to take on The A-Team (which had essentially killed off Happy Days the season before), the show got killed in the ratings, and was canceled in December. Given the show's success the first season, do you think it deserved more of a chance?

Mark said...

Ken, you're better looking than that squirrel-faced ringo pictured at the top of your column.

Oh, I disagree. I think that squirrel-faced ringo is pretty cute

Eric J said...

"Who pays for hookers by credit card anyway?"

Try getting a Citicard price rewind if you pay by cash.

Richard Pryor said...

Lots of people share the same name...back when the comedian Richard Pryor used my name I'd get drunk phone calls early in the morning exhorting me to say something funny, or stop over at their party. Even delisting my number didn't end those calls. One evening,years later, I heard my wife answer a call with "no, he's not available, yes, I'll tell him, thank you for your concern and prayers" WTF was that? Turns out a lady had stored the number, never dialed it but she just had to when she learned "I" had been badly burned freebasing cocaine. My wife was too kind to disabuse her that she hadn't reached the druggie/comedian Richard. I was impressed with the kindness of the lady on the other end of the phone. Sometimes it's OK to share names when it exposes you to some human kindness and compassion. the real Richard Pryor

bruce said...

True story. I was a grad student on the west coast and leafed through the student directory and found a "Jeffrey Wachtel" from NYC. I went to school with someone by that name so I called him. "Hello, is this the Jeffrey Wachtel who went to Hunter College Elementary School". "Yes." "This is Bruce Reznick. I was in your class". "No, you went to Hunter with the other Jeffrey Wachtel."

Jeff Maxwell said...

Other than the Visa deadbeat, there's a nice variety of respectable Ken Levines around. I have a namesake serving three life sentences in Texas for sexual assault and torture. Listening to a prosecutor say all the horrible things Jeffrey Maxwell did was really creepy. I wonder if anybody in the pokey ever asks Jeff what Alan Alda is really like.

D. McEwan said...

I've found a few other Douglas McEwans also. One is a professional Sean Connery impersonator in Edinburgh. Sadly, he looks like the current Sean Connery.

There's also a species of Rhododendron called Douglas McEwan. Not once at a reunion has anyone asked me if I was the flower.

Joseph Scarbrough said...

Months ago a friend of mine was really psyched to see that I was trending on Facebook, but it turned out it was me, it was conversative windbag Joe Scarborough who was trending, not me.

I came close though.

LouOCNY said...

My full name is Louie Sherwood, and have dealt with my name being put on documents all my life as Louis.

I am a third generation Louie Sherwood also, and outside of that, the name is pretty unique. I don't mind, as theres never been a mass murder with my name, or a corrupt politician. Also, Lou or Louie is a pretty benign name in itself, so it is one positive.

Wallis Lane said...

Do the other Ken Levines actually pronounce their last name correctly? ;)

Johnny Walker said...

Luckily my name isn't shared with anything else.

Igor said...

A Ken Levine wrote:

"The former newswriter for several local Los Angeles TV stations who CLAIMED he was me and on numerous occasions took credit for scripts I’ve written. Don’t think it didn’t get back to me, Ken!"

Or... Maybe you've been writing this blog for the past 10 years all as an elaborate set up just to now make this spurious claim that you're the M*A*S*H guy.

I love delayed punchlines.

So, bravo! (whoever you are)

Writer said...

Fun fact: Realtor Ken Levine was my math tutor.

Anonymous said...

There is another Pam Purtle where I live. We follow each other around town (but have never met). We see many of the same doctors, hair dressers, etc. The only time I had a problem was when an idiot mixed my file with hers at the cardiologist. You can bet it never happened again.

Moral of that story...always make them check your birthdate.

Pam, St. Louis

Brian Phillips said...

I am not the Brian Douglas Phillips that is a singer. While I believe I possess a pleasant voice, I am not:

1. A Country and Western singer.
2. Texan
3. White.

This isn't me. This isn't me on a startling scale.

Mark said...

I have a governor and an Oscar-winning cinematographer.