Two weeks ago today, I got a text I didn’t want to get.
From my “friend up north” who asked me if I knew my friend Kevin was dead. I called her and confirmed and began wailing like a sick cat. I just couldn’t believe it. Well, actually I could. I’m gonna write about Kevin in due time; I’m still processing the news. Suffice to say I’m “not over it” and perhaps can only “go through it”. Suicide has been part of my art and real life for a long time. Going back to 1973, when my cousin/half-brother (My father’s second wife was my aunt), Larry Kenton jumped to his death of one of the Park La Brea towers. He was 25. I immediately went into a 2 year emotional coma, just starring at The Match Game and spending my entire therapy session just bawling my eyes out.
Then in 2010, after losing everything; my home, my business, my city of London, my careers (because they were all in London) and being stuck in a similar tall tower of potential death, while my mother was in the next room in her last year and because I only had National Health insurance from “my queen”, the British government, I couldn’t get a therapist in LA I so desperately needed. I committed myself to jump off the building “in four days” and told my family and they helped me find a really good therapy intern for $10 and gave me an old bicycle which I used to get around LA, because the City of Los Angeles stole my car. Long story. I started The Laughter Foundation to assure comedians would have health care and booked The Hollywood Bowl April 1, 2011, a show which – although had comedians lined up and committed such as Roseanne Barr – never happened. Money to produce it fell through.
And, of course, I cannot forget my own use of a gun to my head in my comedy act, whereby I’d tell audiences across North America and later Great Britain and Europe, that it was “my last show” because I was addicted to comedy and the laughter and that’s how I ended up producing big shows for Turning Point Scotland, a drug and alcohol charity launched by Princess Diana. (I never say “late”; she’s probably on her way.)
So, last night I did this show and it was a truly great experience. Produced by Roland Bondoc, Suicide Hotline is a live once a month show at Time Warp Records in Mar Vista. It’s an oddly very entertaining show, which is part story-telling, part Vaudeville, part true confessional and of course, part comedy. Wow. What a combo. I talked about Kevin and my own battles with “suicidal ideation”, which is a condition of psychological fantasy. I’m still processing the experience of last night’s show, which as they say nowadays: “It’s all good”.
You’re guaranteed to laugh and be moved in this spellbinding show.
For The Hollywood Dog, this has been Steven Alan “WHOOFY” Green!