December 14, 20159 Comments
One year ago I got off a plane about 4 or 5 bourbons deep and learned in the late night JFK haze that my best friend Wayne had been found dead in his van, with it still running, apparently of a heart attack. Well, it was pretty apparent it was a heart attack. He was surrounded by McDonald’s wrappers and empty packs of Marlboros. The last time I saw him, a few days prior, he was deep frying porkchops in his kitchen. Come to think of it – that was his nickname from the life before I met him – Pork Chop, or Choppers. Because he liked to eat. I’ve never met someone that would talk about what we were eating for dinner while in the middle of a massive lunch. It became known that within an hour of sitting down next to him at the beach he would ask “What do you have to eat?” We became accustomed to packing extra food in the cooler because, you know, Wayne.
It’s been a weird year since he died. I always steeled myself for the moment – we all knew it was coming. Fast food, cigarettes and obesity end in the same way every time. Fat guys don’t get old. But a depression had sunk into him years before, starting with the recession when bankers brought the world economy to its knees and construction work all but halted. After his death, a depression sank into me. I traveled to the coast of Oregon and spent time hiking alone to try and work out what the universe even means when someone that close to you dies.
So many people have asked if we’re going to do The Lazlow Show again. I don’t know – it’s not really the Lazlow Show without Wayne, just as it’s not the Beastie Boys without MCA. I wholeheartedly appreciate the outpouring of support and kind words from fans of the show and the Rockstar Games work.
I know that this website hasn’t had a lot going on. Same for my Twitter account. I’ve had many thoughts about posts, jokes to put out there. But then I look at social media and see a lot of people complaining, or attacking, or expressing outrage at nonsense. And in a clickbait world, I go quiet. The only real online presence I enjoy these days is Instagram. Cool pics, cool art, people having fun, not complaining about drudgery. Since Wayne died, I concluded that I don’t have time for negative nonsense – and I’d do my best to honor him by focusing on what is cool, and kind, and fun in the world, because we become so blind to that.
Love to Big Wayne – RIP
November 3, 201523 Comments
This Saturday night June 20th from 7-9pm Eastern please join us on OpieRadio – SiriusXM Channel 103 / 206 as we celebrate the life of Big Wayne, who was my cohost and friend for many years. Wayne passed away last November and we will gather together to pay tribute. Joining us will be some of his friends from the Queens days with more stories of setting cars on fire, running from the cops, and street corner shenanigans. If you have a request for a favorite Wayne bit please leave it in the comments. Thanks to Opie, Anthony, and Jim Norton for all their support over the years.
June 15, 201534 Comments
Despite telling someone you love very dearly that they are headed for oblivion, there is no Swedish Ikea manual for grief. When my best friend Wayne died it was no surprise. I landed at JFK Monday Nov 3rd from an international flight. I’d gotten bumped up to first class because of the absurd amount of miles flown the last few years, and as usual I took this as a nod to drink free bourbon and watch superhero films on the in-flight entertainment. I was waiting for the luggage carousel to sound the alarm when my phone rang. It was a mutual friend I rarely speak to much these days.
“Hi Lazlow, are you somewhere you can talk?”
I replied “Wayne’s dead, right?”
She was stunned.
I then panicked upon realizing he was staying at my house watching my dog and cat. I came home to some very hungry and confused abandoned animals, and his soda cans, smells, blankets where he slept. I sobbed into the night. And then emotion disappeared and got tucked away.
The next few days, as the cliché goes, were a blur. I spoke at his funeral. There were lots of laughs. His body was a few feet behind me. It still didn’t really register. I met his old school friends from Queens, the characters of legend, characters in stories he told to a worldwide audience when our show was on K-Rock New York, then XM satellite radio. I vowed to get this gang together for a proper sendoff show.
And then grief set in. I soon realized that over the last 15 years, every room in my house had some work done by Wayne. My recording studio. The spare bedroom. The entire front of the house with cedar siding. The outside shower. The fence. The wood burning stove alcove. It was all stuff we did together – he as the genius carpenter and me bringing him supplies.
Fans started emailing and sending messages on twitter about a promised memorial show. I couldn’t bear the idea of combing through episodes – hearing his voice, trying to pick bits to play. It was too much. I spent weekends helping his widow – what a weird word to call a friend who is close to your age – with everything she needed – and that he should be here taking care of. It’s weird growing angry at a dead person because you are picking up their slack. But that’s what we do. Wayne was a comedic genius, and geniuses are tortured from the inside out.
Wayne got into a bad funk the last few years. He was very depressed. Therapy was suggested. He was too stubborn to go. He found his therapy in weed and liquor and pills. And when he got off that, his comfort continued with cigarettes and cheeseburgers, despite being overweight. We told him he was headed for death. He said he knew, and you have to die sometime. And then he died at 51, still acting like a kid.
His birthday is right around now.
Two different parties have come to me asking about reviving the Lazlow Show. But Wayne was the show. It’s my hope that before this summer – 10 years after we first put him in front of a mic(and me nervously on a dump button at K-Rock) we can do a proper memorial.
I’m sorry the website and twitter have been dark. To me, Twitter and website posts have become a bastion of negative energy, mean comments, and gotcha activism at harmless jokes.. And in my mourning for my best friend I couldn’t bear it.
I’ve started an Instagram account – which seems like a nice place to follow artists and cool pics and positive people. Twitter has become the asshole of the universe.
I’m calling Wayne’s best friend tonight. I’ll let you know when we can make this show happen.
Thanks for all the love and understanding.
April 30, 201549 Comments
So tonight at the wake I met Big Wayne’s real posse. Late 70s – early 80s posse. Youze guyz Train robbers. Corner creeps. A guy that stole TVs out of limos. Guys with all the same mannerisms. They talked like him. Interruptin each other. Queens crew. The crew that was in on all those stories. Fireworks, bags of shit on fire, police chases, stealing cars, breakfast cereal train heists.
We are going to do a radio show.
The Big Wayne Memorial Show. With the original Big Wayne Queens Posse. (I found out tonight there is evidently a story about shooting bottle rockets at prostitutes).
With Lazlow and Reed
November 6, 201438 Comments
It’s weird. You forget moments exist – and then The Internet reminds you. I just found this picture. Online. Me and Wayne and Patrice. My sister in front. When Patrice passed, it really affected me. I loved our conversations during commercial breaks when I was on O&A. He was incredibly funny. Of the several times we were on O&A together – I especially remember one show where we left afterwards, chatted while walking to the corner of 57th and 7th, and his guard dropped – he had discussed some personal things on the show and was having second thoughts. He was a powerhouse of comedy and to see him come down to an intimate raw level like that – he became human. He could be brutal one minute and loving the next, all the while making you laugh your ass off. He and Big Wayne have a lot in common.
I was out of town working this weekend. Wayne stayed at my house, taking care of my cat and dog. He told me on the phone he watched a Norton special and was really loving Netflix. He’s never had it. Plus Wayne loves sleeping in front of a TV.
That’s the last conversation I had with him. Wayne was found dead in his van of a heart attack. I loved him so much. He was the funniest person I’ve known. I came home last night to his empty soda cans, his smells, he had literally left here a day before, intending to return in a few hours. And didn’t. I’m unable to process it.
I always knew Wayne would be taken from us – i just didn’t know when, and I hoped it wouldn’t be this soon.
RIP Big Wayne
November 4, 2014121 Comments