This tribute was added by Lauren Post on June 27, 2020
So do you know that scene from classic television situation comedies that presents an protagonist with reading material and a small candle? John Ritter for example, is sitting in a fine restaurant, scrutinizing the bill of fare by the light of a table votive and in doing so, he unintentionally sets the menu aflame? We've all witnessed that cliche scene. Mild chaos ensues and we chuckle at the choreographed bit because it is so ridiculous; no one would actually be so oblivious to his surroundings to allow the simple act of reading lead to an insurance claim filed by the proprietor.

Well, I did witness that. It didn't happen on a classic television situation comedy soundstage, but in a Chicago dive bar. And a Hollywood headliner wasn't the protagonist, but instead our beloved Ken Monreal. And it wasn't a menu that caught fire but a script of our friend Eric. His script was to be submitted for MTV's approval, and it was the only hard copy that Eric had. And there it was: Ken + live flame + carbon based product of emotional and gut wrenching importance. And, oh yes, alcohol was involved. The story did end well; emergency responders were deemed unneccessary, the flame retardant bar top displayed zero damage and the script was reprinted, thus affording MTV a copy of Eric's work "sans char""a la Monreal".

"Truth is stranger than fiction" is an expression that makes me think back to that moment in the Chicago dive bar. I realize that truth is not only stranger than fiction, but when it came to Ken Monreal; truth was funnier, more endearing, more honest, more jaw dropping, eye popping, thigh slapping, drop your head back and howl entertaining than any bit of fiction a situation comedy writer could develop for John Ritter or his ilk.

Ken was a modern day Spanky from the Lil Rascals. I miss so much, his infectious attitude of "Hey, Gang, let's put on a show"! Fondly I recall how he organized, developed and directed a late night comedy talk show "Drinks in Vegas". It was complete with a host, guests, an array of beautiful dancers and musicians. He made certain to include photographers and writers and anyone who needed a chance to contribute their best efforts. All were encouraged to not only enhance their performance resume, but be part of a creative, roll up your sleeves ensemble.

Showbiz wannabes were not Ken's sole audience and inspiration. He encouraged smiles and laughter from all those unsuspecting.

A favorite memory of mine was when I asked Ken to pass out Halloween candy at my house as I prepared dinner. My other guests abandonded the parlor party activities in favor of watching Ken torture trick or treaters with acting direction that Spielberg himself wouldn't have dreamed. He dangled the desired bonbon as he individually sized up every contender "Ok you are a ninja. Give me a ninja pose. Yes, that was awesome! Who's next?" His live theatre produced a roar of cheers from onlookers and camera flashes from proud parents. The intially mortified children stepped away from Ken with not just a heavier sack of candy, but with a smile of relief and new appreciation of the improvisational arts.

In addition to his creative brain and caring heart Ken had a deeply spiritual soul. He always spoke so beautifully of God and his love of his faith. I personally beseeched Ken when the 2020 pandemic took a thrice ugly turn with my parents. I called him and asked for his prayers because he was the person I knew to be closest to God. I miss Ken, but I am comforted because he is Home.

And I am comforted because we are all better for knowing Ken, for laughing with him, for learning from him, and I am personally thankful that I can be a part of those that celebrate him. We will all see Ken again and we will see each other, because Ken loved bringing people together.

For his friends that miss him, and his courage, and his inspiration and his love, please mark my words: Ken is currently organizing his celestial directorial debut. He is having side splitting conversation with John Ritter and suggesting to Charlie Chaplin, "Hey, let's put on a show!" He is considering Merv Griffin to host and auditioning the talents of Sintra for vocals. Lenny Bruce is booked for 8 minutes of stand up. Ken is also workshopping scripts with Terence McNally, analyzing the choreography of Bob Fosse. He is consulting with Shakespeare to see if the rhythm of iambic pentameter can marry with the tempo that the Gershwin brothers prefer. He has a sit down with Flo Ziegfeld as to how best market the production. Later he is doing cocktails with Marilyn Monroe, just because. And I do believe, many, many years from now, when we are all called, Ken will greet us at the theater doors and ensure we have the best seats in the house for his showcase. We will raise our glasses to him then. But for the time being, Let us raise our glasses to him now.

Thank you, Ken. Thank you. Bravo.

This tribute was added by Gina Gibbons on June 26, 2020
Oh Ken. What happened friend? Not you. You’re the good egg. You’re supposed to be here until we are all old and pissing ourselves and then we check out together. You’ve left everyone in disbelief and emptiness now that you’ve passed. This world is getting crazier and your ability to make everyone laugh and feel loved was the anecdote.

We became fast friends as we were close in age and both from Cali but I was not unique in accessing how awesome you were. You were a magnet who drew people to you. You had a genuine heart and truly loved everyone. You loved God and especially loved your family; you spoke of them with such reverence and adoration.

You once told me that if you won the lottery, you would give your winnings to all your family and friends. I also recall that you emptied out your wallet and change holder in your car to give to a homeless person; late one night on your way home from work. You said that you heard God’s voice tell you to stop right now and give this man everything you have. You gave him over $200.

I always looked forward to working with you as I knew my shift would be filled with intelligent conversation and of course, laughter. You would make yourself a cup of coffee, lean back against the counter after putting guests in a time out for not tipping; and we would discuss politics, gossip and your latest idea for a project. You were managements’ pet but we didn’t care you got away with things that we didn’t because you were our pet too. Damn, you got away with a lot and you know it. I can hear you chuckling about it now because you know its true. How I miss your laugh.

I would be remiss if I didn’t mention your endless capacity to create ideas for various books, plays, musicals, songs, stage shows and talk shows. You always wanted to cast or include your friends in all your future endeavors and if there were no roles left to fill, then the rest of us could be your admins and stage hands. lol. It was hard for you to zero in on something because you loved them all! So you just kept dreaming. You lived in the reverie of your ideas.

Ken, thank you for being a light in this world. Thank you for being my friend. You have made an indelible mark on my life and I loved you for who you were and who you aspired to be.
This tribute was added by Beth San Miguel on June 26, 2020
Posted on behalf of Seth Marantz:

Sweet dreams to my buddy Ken Monreal. We were friends at a time when we were all young and beautiful. You were the guy who could make anyone smile. You were voluntarily the butt of EVERY joke because your personal mission was to make sure that everyone you cared about always had a reason to laugh. Your name was synonymous with shenanigans. Your talent was the only thing that outshined your humor. Your profound depth and emotion were never truly hidden behind your ridiculousness; try as you may have. Everyone loved you, and you loved everyone. It was an honor to be associated with you. It was a pleasure to NEVER perform with you. It was nice to have experienced a world with you in it and I don’t look forward to the one that will have to continue on without you. Godspeed, my friend. MexiJew productions forever.
Love, Seth
This tribute was added by Beth San Miguel on June 26, 2020
Dearest Ken,

Just last week I was thinking about our big brainstorm long ago for a BevErtainment Reunion... where we would be the EmCees and everyone would win prom type superlatives. You fake fed Jesse’s dog Sophie FiddleFaddle and I thought it was sooo funny. I’ll be damned if I can’t find that video right now.

I’ll miss sending you pictures of candy corn or ads for gross shit like candy corn flavored popcorn every Halloween. I can hear you very clearly saying “I. HHHHHATE. CANDY CORN!!” That always brought me such joy.

I’ll miss you reaching out to me everytime you hear something about Kathy Bates and telling me I look like her. (I can’t remember how this inside joke started...) I’ll miss retaliating with “well you look like KD Lang.”

I always giggle when I think about that time you were passionately singing to The Stroke in the well and you accidentally punched the bottom of my full tray while I was holding it.

I was so jealous of Ken (and Seth) Status at the Rio, where it was common knowledge that you wouldn’t perform and never got in trouble for it. But it made it even more exciting that one time a year when you did get up to sing.

Your delightfully inappropriate humor and creativity were always a highlight of my day. BevErtainment management once interrogated a few of us on our lunch breaks thinking we were responsible for the “Stu Pedasso” incident. They suspected you, me and Seth, when really it was Nicole Drouin. I was honored to be a suspect with you. 

Tonight I’ll pour a drink in your honor and blast Billy Squier’s The Stroke while dramatically punching my fist in the air and I hope you feel how much you are missed. Until our big reunion...
This tribute was added by Jim Foster on June 25, 2020
I remember Ken from high school. We shared many classes together and shared the same group of friends. I remember him as a super smart, witty, funny, and all-around nice human being. My life is better for having known him and the friends we associated with during those formative years. As is normal with life, we all seem to move into our new worlds after leaving high school .. and yet, so many years later, our hearts are broken when someone we loved so much passes away. Ken leaves behind a enormous blanket of people whose lives were lifted specifically because his actions and words. 
This tribute was added by Julie Win on June 24, 2020
On Friday morning June 12, a whole bunch of us lost one of our greatest friends.  Yes, I know it's a cliche, but Ken was one in a million.  Those of us that are lucky enough to call him our friend know, that there is no other person like Ken, and that his friendships meant the world to him. 

Here's my stream of conscientious tribute to someone who was one of my greatest friends, and a person who is a big part of who I am today. Okay so grab a pint of your favorite brewed drink, sit back, and enjoy some memories (there are a lot).

(A picture is worth a thousand words, so if you're not a reader, there a tons of photos with so many memories)

I think many of us can say, if it wasn't for Ken, we wouldn't have done many of the things we've done. Traveled many of the places we traveled. Tried many of the things we tried. Said many of the things we've said. Have all the friends we have. For me I wouldn't have spent Thanksgiving watching the Macy's parade in the freezing cold or had turkey in one room while a bunch of people smoked weed in the other room. I wouldn't have spent New Years Eve in New Mexico, in the middle of a party where people were chanting and beating drums or in a restaurant in Italy blowing paper balls through giant straws at complete strangers.

I never would have lived many of the places I lived, if he weren't right beside me convincing me to get as much out of life as I can.

Ken will forever be with me whenever I wonder if I should take a risk or go on an adventure. Everywhere I go I see a funny thing I could text Ken.  A picture of a tacky wind chime, or an overstuffed burrito, or a recipe for hot dog cake. Even though he hated those things I know it would make him laugh.  

That's the main thing I will always remember about Ken is his laugh...the way he would he would put his hand on his heart, eyes closed, and laugh until tears came out of the corners of his eyes. He would laugh at himself, and bring up all sorts of funny memories, that would have us laughing at ourselves. Here are some memories that we would laugh about even to this day:  WT's, Dream Girls, Lupita, Wade Lidtsky, "What's that river?"(he asked in New Orleans), "What's that river? (he asked in Laughlin), the gravy I made, these are not pickles, Lean on Me, there's a picture of an airplane, finding Lake Mead, don't shake the baby, losing Aki, look! corn!, baby New Year, Earnest goes to Camp, the Cinco de Mayo song, Jagermeister, black socks and sandals, pretty people day, the ugly experiment, and many more. I'm sure those of you reading this have your own list of haliarous  memories, too.

I spent so much of my 20's and 30's going dancing with Ken. There would always be a group of us that would go out dancing for hours. He mocked me for a lot if things, but never my dancing (at least not to my face).  He always made sure he danced with everyone. I think I'm the only one he kept telling "let me lead" though.

I will never make pico de gallo with out thinking of Ken, or warm a tortilla, make enchiladas or tacos for that matter. Where ever we lived he loved cooking together or grilling and sitting together with friends enjoying food and laughter.

I  will think of him when I'm sitting outside with a pint, enjoying the sun and breeze. When I laugh so hard I cry. When I'm spending time hanging out with friends. Always. I will never forget you Ken. I miss you and love you.

Ken's was a life full of laughter, love, and friendship. A life well lived.
This tribute was added by Tyreen Reuter on June 18, 2020
this is what I wrote on social media when I heard the news. I don't mean to "recycle," but it says what I mean and feel...


Friends can drift away from each other over the years, but with the best of them, the years apart mean nothing. Even if circumstances don't lend themselves to spending time together frequently, the connection is just as strong and right there when you are are together again. Ken and I talked about getting together all the time, even when he moved back west at times, but it hadn't happened in several years. Of course, finding out that he died two days ago makes the regret that didn't happen more than painful, but such is life as we get older I guess. We always said we'd root out Johnny Lyons from wherever he was hiding and take him to one of our favorite Irish bars. Or we'd make Tacos, because STEVE LOVES TACOS. Or play GoldenEye all night long at Samantha's brownstone.

I remember vividly the first moment I met Ken. I was putting together a bunch of TBNT letters ("thanks but no thanks") for people who had applied to work at MTV. He came up to my desk and said his name and that he was there for an interview. I had literally just begun typing his name as a TBNT. So my freaky person radar went off. He looked "ok" and not too wild-eyed, but what if he was like one of those deranged people who thought we all worked with Madonna and wanted to be VJs for Headbanger's Ball? HOW DID HE GET PAST SECURITY???

But I called up the person he said he was interviewing with, and they said, "yeah,okay" and I said "are you sure?" and they said "yeah." And he was hired, doing all the weird things there that we all did, and we became great friends. Epic after-work drinks at that Italian restaurant right off Broadway (Joey Paesano's, with Audrey, right?), where the bill would be $20 for 12 of us for the whole evening, WITH appetizers. All the MTV fall-of-Rome events (were those real penguins?), and anything else he and Julie were up for. Music festivals, bar crawls. Sometimes he was "California Ken," sometimes "Hobo-Ken" (when we all didn't have any money and he lived in Hoboken). Ken was as much a part of my life as my boyfriend (Steve), roommates (Stephanie then Martin), or Canadian brother (Daryll).

For such a handsome guy he was always making funny faces. And always dressed nice, even though he tucked in his sweaters ("I am from CaliFORNia" he would say). He was always up for doing something, even when he wasn't. Its a good thing we didn't have camera phones back then.

He came out to NJ and we all went to Cryan's one night and half the divorcees there wanted to pick him up, even though we all danced around like loons and wore bunny ears as if it was totally normal.

I will miss you, Ken. I've BEEN missing you these last several years. You are someone I loved so much I could tell you so, and I am REALLY GLAD YOU GOT PAST SECURITY.

P.S. As Ken's family will see this, I want you all to know if you don't already that he worshiped you. He talked about his amazing family all the time. I'll be honest, since I didn't get a chance to know any of you it kind of went right by me, but it was really important to him to let people know how awesome you all are. And, he was ALWAYS the nicest and most polite person in the room, even when the rest of us were acting like idiots.
This tribute was added by Kathy Griffey on June 17, 2020
I met Ken through Julie McGowan Win. He was one of the most vibrant and wickedly funny people I have ever met. Julie and I saw a showcase where he played Aladdin! What I remember most about Ken is what a fiercely loyal and loving friend he was. Namaste
This tribute was added by Anna Mccarthy on June 17, 2020
Because we know Ken would really appreciate these tributes, I want to make this a good one.

One of the most VIBRANT AND POSITIVE people I knew. One of the most quick-witted and sarcastic people out there.. He was still out there chasing his dreams and creating.

He was one of my favorite people. From 10th grade on, from musicals, to madrigals, to college choir, from road trips, to prom, from adolescence, to young adulthood, to not-so-young-adulthood. He is always close to my heart.

When we would go pick-up Ken from his house in high school to go out, he always had us come in and say hi to his family. He was so proud of his mom and his dad and his brother and a sister. It was really beautiful.

He also would share on more than one occasion, that he thought he would have been the "cool older brother." One of his highest forms of praise would be to meet somebody and then say, as an aside: "He looks like a cool older brother."

I've been thinking a lot about him and the truth is, I had so many adventures in my life that I would not have had without Ken. He just encouraged you, or some people would say egged you on, until you went for it.

One time I met him for lunch by his work in Times Square. And he asked me to wall up to a table fill of men and razz one of his friends in front of their MTV co-workers. The guy didn't know that Ken was in the restaurant. He told me to go up and pretend that I had been romantic with the guy and he that he never called. When I was done, Ken was so proud of me, and he had ammo to tease his friend.
He couldn't stop laughing.

I've been really racking my brain trying to remember a time when he belittled anyone behind their bavk.. Ken had a wicked sense of humor. and he could say the meanest things but have you laughing about it. Because there was no mal-intent. The guy could find humor anywhere.

And he was a SERIOUS Christmas Caroler. From 10th grade on. I mean serious. Even into our 30's. And karaoke was a must wherever we could find it - from NYC to LB.

I was so thrilled when he and his BFF Julie McGowan moved east. We plotted from my apt in Virginia and then headed to the Big Apple. He and Julie looked and looked and we came upon an unusual apt :-) in Hoboken.
Ken promptly proclaimed it HoboKEN. He and Julie were so welcoming and I cannot count all of the weekends at their place.

Ken would love to get donuts in the morning, walk by Frank Sinatra's childhood home and then end up by the bandshell in the park sitting adjacent to the old guys talking about the good ole days. He was certain those guys knew Frank. Slowly he would work his way into the conversation. He would say that was what he hoped for as an older guy....

Ken would mop me up after a failed NY romance or 3. He seized on life and hung on and wouldn't let go. Somehow he would sweet-talk some horse carriage driver into letting us ride till the next stop. He convinced me that I could in fact do jumps at the Central Park ice rink (I could not.). And he was sure that it was okay if we took out a rowboat at the Boathouse.

I remember being so poor that we had two bucks in our pocket (6 between us) and he, Julie and I walked around and try to decide what establishment would get our $6 for a cup of coffee. I seem to remember that we settled on french fries and one cup of coffee that we split. it's strange to look back on those days when we were so poor :-)

Eventually we all ended up back in Long Beach, where he created a super cool space in his apartment for Julie :-) so they could be roommates once again!

When I was doing regiment of medications for an illness – that made me nauseous, my hair fall out, 2 inches shorter and 30 pounds heavier - he and Julie were the only ones who would laugh with me. What didn't kill me was going to make me funny. There was no feeling sorry for oneself.
He and Julie were my ride to the emergency room over and over again during my pregnancy. And they still managed to make me laugh.

He was game join our adult softball team "The Fiim Flams" - and never won one game. Or even came close. Most of the games were called on Mercy Rule. And can insisted that we go out after each game to celebrate having a team :-)

He was one of the first people to know that I was pregnant. And he would assure me that I was still looking good. My son's very first outing was to go to the bay with Ken.

When he moved to Vegas we visited and brought our 19 mo to Cesar's palace. Ken tried desperately to find a no smoking section where one did not exist. And he was certain that it was against some law to have Cael in a bar. When my dad lost his legs but still wanted to go to Las Vegas, he made sure that my mom & dad were treated well at the Rio hotel where he worked.

Every Christmas Eve for many years, Ken, Rob Durrazzo, Jeff Gott and Rob Cinco would come and sing carols. My grandmother and aunts would swoon and seriously wanted me to marry one of them. They just emanated Joy when they sing those carols. It was like a Bing Crosby movie.

Last time I talked with him was in February. And the last time I got to see him and make fun of him was almost a year ago. It was a very fun afternoon with his family and friends. (Picture below with Ken and Julie.) We were all supposed to get together on March 22nd when he was out visiting. But he didn't make it out because of the pandemic. He was so incredibly proud of his parents,his siblings- Tom and Theresa and their kids.

He was so young at heart. I just cannot fathom that he's not walking amongst us anymore.

Love you, my old friend
This tribute was added by Jeff Gott on June 17, 2020
Wow...this is so tough to write.
I've known Ken for over 35 years, going back to high school. He was one of my best friends in the world.
He made everything we did together so much fun.
So many trips to remember with Ken and other friends in California like San Diego, Big Bear for Octoberfest, and Monterey.
European trips to Spain, Italy, Ireland, London and Amsterdam.
Ken felt that life was one, big big adventure, and we were all fortunate to go along for the ride!
35 years of friendship.
I thought we had atleast another 35 more years to share stories,
laugh (at him and with him),
and go on more adventures.
I love you and miss you buddy!
Rest in peace Ken.

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