Benny Jay: Cell Phonegate

June 28th, 2012

On Wednesday I get to go on Chicago Newsroom, a cable access talk show also known as The Ken Davis Show.

Actually, I believe I’m the only one who calls it the Ken Davis Show, which I do because Ken Davis hosts it.

Hence, my logic.

The Ken Davis Show’s the best TV talk show in Chicago — way better than anything you’ll see on a certain publicly funded station we’ll call WTTW.

That’s because Ken’s really smart and he’s not afraid to bring on guests who have something interesting to say.

As opposed to: Well, on one hand this, on the other hand that….

But that’s not my point for today.

No, my point has to do with Ken’s cell phone obsession. As in — no cell phones on the set!

Before each taping Ken stands at the studio entrance and initiates something like the following exchange.

Ken’s the good-looking guy on the right.


Ken: Do you have a cell phone?

Guest: Why, yes.

Ken: I’m sorry but I’ll have to take it. I’ll return it after the show, of course.

Guest: But WTTW doesn’t take my cell phone when I go on Chicago Tonight.

Ken: Did I ask you about WTTW, mutha fucka!

Editor’s Note: Ken does not actually say the mutha-fucka thing.

Anyway, most guests don’t care about the no cell-phone policy. In fact, in the two or so years Ken’s been doing the show only one guest has complained.


That’s cause I have this strange obsession about never wanting to let go of my cell phone. Which leads to a variation of the following exchange.

Ken, hand extended: C’mon, Ben.

Me: I’ll turn it off so it doesn’t ring. I promise.

Ken: Ben.

Me: I’ll be good, I swear.

Ken: You know, Ben, there are professionals who can help you with this.

Fred Klonsky, who is not necessarily FK….


But back to yesterday’s taping….

When Ken stretches out his hand to take my phone, I let a certain cat out of a certain bag.

“Someone told me you didn’t take his phone when he was a guest,” I say.

“Who told you that?” Ken asks.

“I cannot reveal the identity of my source.”

“I’ll buy you lunch if you tell me.”

“Kenneth, I cannot be bribed by a lunch. Dinner, on the other hand….”

“Who was that scoundrel?”

“For the sake of having a reference point, I’ll refer to him by the initials: FK.”

“Oh, so it was Fred Klonsky.”

I think: Damn, he figured it out.

I say: “I will neither confirm nor deny that FK is the great blogger Fred Klonsky. Though Fred Klonsky was recently on your show and his initials are FK.”

“What did Fred tell you?”

“FK — not necessarily Fred — said you let him walk on the set with his cell phone! He said it’s cause you like him better than you like me.”

“I never would have suspected Klonsky,” says Ken. “You know it’s always the silent ones.”

“I’ve said too much — I haven’t said enough.”

Sorry, Fred. I mean, FK. Hope I didn’t get you in trouble.

2 Responses to “Benny Jay: Cell Phonegate”

  1. Fred Klonsky says:

    Don’t worry about it, Benny. I probably shouldn’t say this, but Ken told me that you were a pretty good journalist, but that most of your education stuff you stole from me.
    I blushed, and said, “Well…yes. But Joravsky is best on TiFs and dope stories.

  2. Benny Jay says:

    Fred, I mean, FK: Technically, it’s not stealing. More like borrowing.

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