I lost a friend. I am aware that it is going to happen more and more frequently as I get older, but that doesn’t lessen the blow. If you are a regular listener to my podcast, then you know the voice of Big Ed Blake intimately well. He was an integral part of our second wave once the main cast started touring more frequently.
And cancer is an unforgiving fuck.
Ed had one of the roughest year and a half long stretches that I have ever heard of, much less witnessed. A heart condition that required stints, an amputated foot, neuroblastoma, the loss of the ability to communicate, and then, after a brief respite, the return of the cancer.
And I’m just mad.
I don’t know why it’s that emotion. I am sad when I think about him a lot, and it comes in waves, but I am angry about it the whole time. Mad at cancer. Mad at our health care system. Mad at the fact that more people don’t know who Ed is.
And then there is the fear.
Ed and I talked all the time. He was a sounding board for me, and I for him. We would vent. The two of us, hilariously talented comedians not getting the breaks we saw others get. It was more than just commiserating, and we didn’t make excuses for our shortcomings. We constantly validated each other’s funny though, if that makes sense.
The podcast was a safe space for him, he’d say, particularly because it was not a safe space. It was Thunderdome. You can’t just get in the ring with us and think you are going to stay afloat. Every cylinder had to fire, and perfectly. You couldn’t just memorize some monologue; you had to be able to dance! He loved that he could, and FUCK, could he.
This sharp mind, hiding inside the giant body of a big, bald Southeast Texan. That brain should have been writing television shows. That personality should have been on bigger stages. Should have. Could have. A bunch of bullshit words, really. They say if you keep your head down long enough, just keep walking, that you’ll make it.
But that doesn’t always happen.
Now I’m staring at the reality, well, the possibility, that nothing I am doing pays off. That nothing I have given up in exchange for my own dreams was worth it. It’s melodramatic, for sure, but I’ve never had to stand this close to it.
All those lost hours of material and brilliant delivery be damned though. That’s the industry’s loss, and the audience’s. I lost my friend. That’s the worst part of it. And when I get past my anger at the unfairness of it all, I will wrap myself in just the sadness. I just really, really miss my buddy.
There’s not a ton of Ed’s work online, but enough for you to Google him. I’m glad for the hours and hours we got to share on the podcast.
Rest in peace, my friend.