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Kenneth Catando

Kenneth Catando

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Also Known As: Ken Catando Died:
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Despite considerable time spent behind the camera as writer and on-stage as a stand-up comedian, Frank Conniff was best-known as the spit-curled character on "Mystery Science Theater 3000" (KTMA / Comedy Central / Sci-Fi 1988-1999) known as "TV's Frank." Born August 30, 1958 in New York City, Conniff grew up in Manhattan as the son of newspaper columnist. Admittedly an aimless teen who became an even more aimless young adult, complete with substance abuse problems, Conniff credited a family intervention and eventual rehab stint in Minneapolis with allowing him to seriously pursue a professional career in comedy. (The mention of "Bill W.," the founder of Alcoholics Anonymous, in the closing credits of most episodes of MST3K is an oblique nod to Conniff's recovery.) Following a stint working for the fast-food chain Arby's, which became the basis of many jokes both in his stand-up act and on MST3K, Conniff began performing stand-up comedy around the Midwest and in New York. On the road, he befriended fellow comics Michael J. Nelson, Bridget Jones and Trace Beaulieu, who went on to join "Mystery Science Theater 3000" as both writers and performers. His time as TV's Frank began during the show's second...

Despite considerable time spent behind the camera as writer and on-stage as a stand-up comedian, Frank Conniff was best-known as the spit-curled character on "Mystery Science Theater 3000" (KTMA / Comedy Central / Sci-Fi 1988-1999) known as "TV's Frank." Born August 30, 1958 in New York City, Conniff grew up in Manhattan as the son of newspaper columnist. Admittedly an aimless teen who became an even more aimless young adult, complete with substance abuse problems, Conniff credited a family intervention and eventual rehab stint in Minneapolis with allowing him to seriously pursue a professional career in comedy. (The mention of "Bill W.," the founder of Alcoholics Anonymous, in the closing credits of most episodes of MST3K is an oblique nod to Conniff's recovery.) Following a stint working for the fast-food chain Arby's, which became the basis of many jokes both in his stand-up act and on MST3K, Conniff began performing stand-up comedy around the Midwest and in New York. On the road, he befriended fellow comics Michael J. Nelson, Bridget Jones and Trace Beaulieu, who went on to join "Mystery Science Theater 3000" as both writers and performers. His time as TV's Frank began during the show's second season on Comedy Central, when original cast member J. Elvis Weinstein moved to Hollywood. Conniff co-wrote many of the show's sketches, and was delegated the task of pre-screening the films the show skewered on the air. But it was the cheerful simplemindedness of his onscreen persona TV's Frank that found him most of his fans. Leaving the series before the switchover from Comedy Central to Sci-Fi, Conniff became a staff writer and executive story editor on "Sabrina, the Teenage Witch" (ABC 1996-2003), and appeared on-screen in a few cameos. He then worked as a writer on the animated comedy "Invader Zim" (Nickelodeon 2001-04). When "Mystery Science Theater 3000" creator Joel Hodgson created a live version of the concept called "Cinematic Titanic," Conniff joined Beaulieu, Weinstein, and several other MST3K veterans as part of the troupe.

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