(finding parenthood painfully funny)
Two years ago I hurried home from my meaningless day job, grabbed my son and daughter from school, squirted bubbles into the kid’s bath, high-fived my husband as he walked in from work, and rushed out the door to sit in traffic for one hour and fifty-two minutes. I had to make it to an open mic on the other side of the 405.
After signing up, I’m forced to wait two hours to see if my name is drawn so I can perform three minutes of new material in front of an audience of seven. The stand-up’s life. I started questioning if this was worth missing the bedtime stories, snuggles, and precious time with my snot-nosed little ones. That night it was worth it.
As I’m waiting for the inevitable, “Sorry, not tonight,” Quincy Jones, a vibrant young man with giant holes in his earlobes, covered in tattoos, bounces onto the scene. He scans the comics’ cliques. He sees me. A new face. His smile is larger than life. He beelines over and plops down in the empty seat next to me. Two hours fly by. I wasn’t even upset my name wasn’t chosen. Quincy’s was, and he was hilarious. The effervescent and jubilant personality that won me over is turned to an 11 out of 10 when Quincy’s onstage. He will be a friend for life. I can tell. He’s special.
Doing stand-up comedy means you get to work with people you never would have met before. When would I have ever crossed paths with Quincy? I wouldn’t have met him in the school carpool lane or at toddler ballet class. I’m lucky I get to step out of my minivan and onto the makeshift plywood stages at microbrews. Quincy and I develop a friendship over the next year as we work the same stages, share thoughts and, most importantly, laughs.
Quincy Jones, Nicole Blaine, Anthony Rebellum (music producer), Jenny Zigrino (stand-up comic). Picture taken on December 3, 2015 at the Virgin Sacrifice show.
He’s in the middle of chemotherapy while still hitting stages and making crowds laugh. Stand-up is getting him through the sickness.
Then I hear the news: Quincy is dying of cancer. My stomach drops. I call him. We meet at a show. He’s in the middle of chemotherapy while still hitting stages and making crowds laugh. Stand-up is getting him through the sickness. He’s been given one year to live. His stage-four mesothelioma cancer is incurable.
I want to ask Quincy the age-old question, what’s the one thing you want to do before you die? Before I can even ask, he tells me his last dream is to film an hour-long stand-up special. I blurt, “I can do that for you. I will make that happen.” Quincy stares at me. “Consider it done,” I assure him. His giant, larger-than-life smile returns. He’s speechless. He squeaks out a soft, barely audible, “Thank you.”
I return home after a long night at a seedy bar show. My husband, Mickey, has finished putting the kids to bed and is doing the dishes. I help empty the dishwasher. While stuffing plastic sippy cups into the cabinet like Tetris blocks I break the news to him. “Today I hung out with Quincy. He told me his last dream is to make a stand-up special. I told him I’d … we’d make him one. So … you okay to direct and shoot and edit and volunteer at least 200 hours of your precious time for a man you’ve never met?” Mickey doesn’t break his pace with the dishes, “Of course.” Mickey knows, certain things are worth the time.
For more information on fulfilling Quincy’s wish: http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/2043275071/comedian-dying-of-cancer-hopes-to-make-a-stand-up
For more on Nicole Blaine: www.NicoleBlaine.com