So I got some bad news late last night from my old road hog, Joe Fontenot. The great John Fox lost his bout with Cancer; at least I think he did, because sadly, he couldn’t even get press on his own death. When I Googgled (can you believe that’s a verb now) John Fox dies, nothing of importance came up; that fact is depressing because Google gives us searches we were not even interested in until we typed two words together. “Does hitt” brings up “Does hitting a dog work?” I’m sure if it no longer works on women than dogs caught on too. “Will Hum” brings up “Will Humans live forever” No, and John Fox proved to us that at some point even God had seen enough of his 40 year old act and gave him the proverbial light…Time to get off stage. What would have entertained me is when I put, “Did John Fox die?” into Google; it came back with “Yes, for the last 10 years.”
Am I being insensitive? No, I am not. This is John we are talking about. He was as insensitive as they come. Any female comedian who had to share a condo with him would certainly give you their two cents about that subject. That is, if she can even talk about it pending the ongoing investigation.
R.I.P. John Fox was the facebook update Joe gave us. That stands for Rest in Peace, which is an odd thing to say about him because if his soul lives on like he did in life than I can assure you, not only will he not rest but neither will anyone left in the same area of Heaven. I hope Heaven has a bar that stays open late.
Here is the thing: It is a loss, but we lost him long before his death. He was a legend in the comedy community. His act was legendary both on and off the stage. He started doing his rated “R” act his way but unfortunately it never evolved, it just grew as tired as he did. He didn’t know many comics by name, but not because he was an ass, he just stopped caring. His stories from at the end of the bar were amazingly colorful. I personally would have loved to have heard those stories hit the stage, sadly they never got there.
He had an impact on us though; at least he had one on me. He wanted to do it his way and he couldn’t give two shits about what the industry thought he should be doing. He had his big moments mostly in the 80’s and certainly gave us a performance at every show.
Audiences loved him. From stage, John was that character at the end of the bar named Red with a gravelly voice, a drink in hand, and pocket full of standards “jokes” that everyone in the room could enjoy. You would laugh hard because he was simple that way. There was no complex style and depth that sometimes ruins comedy, he was just a longshoreman telling us a joke that maybe we had listened to a thousand times before, or maybe we had never heard it before at all, but it never mattered. It never mattered because he had mastered the way to tell it to us. Some people have a knack for that, usually it is that guy at the end of the bar but in Fox’s case, he just took it one step farther; into the showroom and from behind the mic.
In my honest opinion John went on stage to hear laughter, he didn’t want to be an artist, he didn’t view his act as artistic, he just wanted it to keep it simple… make them all laugh and in the end, that in and of itself is an art.
A toast to you John Fox for the all the laughter you brought to the people. “Two firemen are butt fucking in a Smoked filled Room…” Indeed, Mr. Fox, “How do you think it all got started in the first place.”
A message from John Fox in his last months. It is original, honest and heartfelt. In the end he wrote something new and hopefully it has impact