Al Borland Was Originally a Place Holder on the ’90s Sitcom, But Richard Karn Changed That

In the 1990s, Home Improvement took the world by storm. The series became known for Tim Allen’s stand-up comedy bit about men being ill-equipped cavemen who’s joy in life revolved around power tools. But fans also celebrated the show for the iconic guttural sigh of dads across America and Richard Karn‘s portrayal of Al Borland. Oddly enough, Al almost wasn’t a character on the hilarious ’90s sitcom. 

Tim Allen and Richard Karn
Tim Allen & Richard Karn | Walt Disney Television via Getty Images Photo Archives

Richard Karn’s career took off after ‘Home Improvement’ 

Home Improvement fans know and love Karn as Tim “The Tool Man” Taylor’s (Allen) Tool Time assistant Al Borland, the sensitive guy in touch with his emotions. Allen’s hyper-masculine portrayal of Tim “The Tool Man” made the duo a perfect pair. 

Thanks to Home Improvement‘s success, Karn became a recognizable face, warranting him several commercial deals and guest spots in the 1990s. When Home Improvement ended, Karn continued to work in films and shows like Family Feud and Bingo America

Karn also had roles in the Air Bud franchise, including Air Bud: Seventh Inning Fetch and MVP: Most Vertical Primate. More recently, Karn appeared in two episodes of 

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