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“Home Improvement” Actor To Appear At Mid-Maryland Home & Garden Expo

Dylan Roche
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April 3, 2018

Although it’s been nearly 20 years since “Home Improvement” went off the air, many fans of the sitcom still recognize Richard Karn from his role as Al Borland, the assistant and sidekick on Tim “the Toolman” Taylor’s show-within-the-show, “Tool Time.” Karn makes an appearance this month in Millersville at the Mid-Maryland Home & Garden Expo, and in anticipation of the April 7-8 event, the Voice spent a few minutes chatting with Karn about his career. Here are a few of the highlights.

Voice: How did you come to be a part of this upcoming expo?

Karn: (laughs) Well, you know, it goes back to a couple of years ago. One of the three guys who created “Home Improvement,” Carmen Finestra, lives in Harrisburg there, and he’s a big fan of the Senators — you know, the Double-A team — and he put together a thing where they did a “Home Improvement” night to drum up people coming to the game. Players wore plaid jerseys and all this kind of thing. Then because of that, another Double-A team in Frederick called me up and asked me if I would like to do that. I went to Frederick and did a “Home Improvement” night for their team. Then one of the guys that puts this home show together met me there and called me and asked would I like to do something for this particular event in Clarksville. Scott Smith is the promoter who puts these home shows together, and that’s kind of how it all came together.

Voice: In what ways does being on the show “Home Improvement” develop your skills in the art of home improvement?

Karn: I don’t know whether it was the chicken or the egg. My father was a builder and so was my grandfather, but I had other aspirations and I became an actor. It ended up that I ended up playing my father. The thing is my dad was a really good builder, and that’s kind of what I built Al around. I think that kind of persona that people trusted fed really well into the home improvement market, where people are going to treat you fairly and do a good job. That’s kind of what I exuded.

Voice: In what ways are you like your character in real life?

Karn: When you have a team of writers, I don’t know that anyone can match up to that. They have something to say for every situation. I’m a regular guy, I guess, because if I think I can fix something, I’ll try to fix it. Some things are daunting, but when you look at them, you go ahead and do it and realize it’s not so bad. But then there are other things — you’re not going to fix the solenoid in your dishwasher. At least, I’m not. So I’ll hire somebody who knows how to do that.

Karn will be on the scene at the Mid-Maryland Home & Garden Expo the weekend of April 7-8 at the Benfield Sports Center in Millersville. The expo runs 10:00am-5:00pm on Saturday and 11:00am-4:00pm on Sunday, and admission is $5 for adults, $3 for retired and active military, and free for children 10 and younger. Free admission will also be granted to anyone named Al wearing a flannel shirt. For more information, visit

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