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, 201541 Comments