A TRIBUTE TO THE CLOWNS
By Jennifer Rawlings
Last night I went to sleep with a heavy heart, another one of my fellow comedians , Scott Kennedy, had died way to young. I don’t want to speculate publicly as to why so many comics die young, but what I do want to do is honor my fellow comics, my friends who have died in the last couple years.
Scott Kennedy- I could be wrong but I think Scott Kennedy has done more military shows than any other working comedian. For the last several years Scott has taken his humor to the front lines of Iraq and or Afghanistan nearly every month. Scott booked shows all over the globe and I had the pleasure of working with him many times. On my front porch I have a reminder of Scott from a gig I did for him in Lubbock, Texas at a comedy club called Froggies. It was a family owned club and along with my paycheck the mom gave me a “welcome” stone with a frog on it. Thank you Scott and I hope they wear football jerseys in Heaven.
Danny Gans- “The man of many voices”-Mr.Vegas. I met Danny at a corporate gig we were both booked at many years ago. The audience at the Delta Center went crazy for Danny and I knew that before long he would have a HUGE career and he did. Danny was thoughtful and fun-a real class act. I have fond memories of one of Danny’s birthday parties at the Montrose Bowl and eating dinner with him in Las Vegas before he hit the stage for his consistently sold out show. Thank you Danny for all the joy you brought to others- you were the “man of many voices” but the sweetest one was your own.
Steve Bridges- aka George Bush impersonator extraordinaire. I met Steve many years ago before he became the “go to” political impressionist. I admired his wit and wisdom. When I was asked by a friend to help him write some material for Steve I jumped at the chance. I knew that no matter what joke, sketch, or song we wrote for Steve he would deliver it perfectly. I still laugh at the press corp dinner video with Steve and President Bush. Steve was brilliant as always.
Robert Shimmel- One of my favorite gigs I did with Robert was a week at the Tempe Improv. Every show was packed and there were lines out the door to buy his merchandise and to shake his hand. Robert and I had a fabulous time hanging out in the green room and after the show. He was one of the most thoughtful and considerate performers I had ever worked with. Thank you Robert.
Ken Ober- I first met Ken when he was the star of MTV’s game show “Remote Control”. For those of you too young to remember this iconic MTV game show – Ken Ober was the host, Colin Quinn was the announcer, and Adam Sandler was the third banana. Ken went on to become a well-respected television producer. I crossed paths again with Ken when I was asked to appear on “Tough Crowd with Colin Quinn”. Ken was the producer of the show. Ken had the wonderful gift of making everyone feel welcome and secure- a sign of a good producer, and a great man.
Greg Giraldo- A brilliant man. Greg went to Columbia University and then Harvard Law School. He was successful at everything he did. His star rose quickly as a comedian. There are many smart comedians, and many comedians with an Ivy League education, but Greg stood out. He had a curiosity about life and about the world that helped inform and mold his humor. He had an infectious smile, and every joke he told you would say to yourself “ Wow- I wish I would have thought of that.” Thank you Greg
Patrice O’Neal- Sadly I only met Patrice a few times, but that handful of meetings had a lasting impact on me. Patrice was fearless on the surface- no topic was off limits or too controversial. He took this “no holds barred” approach with him to the stage. Patrice would talk about anything on stage and it was always different.
Sadly the list of comics that have died young goes on and on. So I have only included the ones that have died in the last couple of years and that I knew. Tragically I have probably left a few of this somber list.
It’s often said that laughter is the best medicine. so then the question remains what medicine. do we give the “laugh doctors” so that they stay healthy in body, mind and spirit?
Thank you my dear friends for all the laughs you gave me. It’s a gift I shall always treasure. You are missed.