Ken Kaz isn’t about to quit his day job. But if the Scottsdale resident had his way, he’d gladly trade the usually boring desk of an accounting and financial professional for his more exciting nighttime gig as a stand-up comedian.
“I have an alter ego,” said Kaz, a Cigna Healthcare Peoria employee by day who does comedy at the Entertainment Alley and other Scottsdale venues at night.
“I always liked comedy and, about four years ago, I took a class at Jester’z (improv comedy troupe) and decided to give comedy a try.”
Kaz, 36, said comedy has helped him become more outgoing at work. Kaz said he’s basically shy and, while he may snap off a line or two at the office now and then, the real funny man in him only comes out at night.
He has had no trouble acting up around friends and family, but trying to do a routine for colleagues and strangers had him spooked.
Kaz still has some difficulty working a crowd, which is one of the reasons his routine starts with him walking into what appears to be a playroom after putting his three children to bed. It’s something he does at home as a favor for his wife, Denise.
“I’m a lot more introverted than people think,” said Kaz, a former Chicagoan who’s also a certified public accountant.
“I’m at ease talking with people but, especially at work, a bit shy. I deal with data at work. What I do at night is the complete opposite. People I work with are surprised when I tell them about it. They’re shocked after they come to watch a show.”
Kevin Kauffman of Glendale said Kaz was much quieter at work when he started.
He said he thinks comedy has helped Kaz integrate into the group more.
“He’s evolved over time at work,” Kauffman said.
“He’d just sit next to you and not say too much and just get the job done. Going to a show and seeing that different personality come out was pretty cool. I was surprised. He was really funny. I was quite impressed.”
Kaz started in the insurance field — “Can’t find a more boring industry. What better way to keep what you want to do a secret than work in insurance,” he said — before getting involved in health care services.
He said while he has always wanted to be a comedian, the necessary travel and time away from his family keeps him from pursuing a career.
“My day job is just that,” he said.
“I enjoy what I do. If I had a choice, comedy would be the biggest thing for me. The biggest thing is not abandoning your family.
“I want to stick with my job, entertain at night and get people to come back to see my routines.”