How would you answer this question?
For my first “Fill in the blank: Social media helped me, I can answer. It helped me find an old friend who is fighting cancer.
Let me explain.
Last week whilst scrolling through FB, my buddy and former music biz colleague Bob Roper, posted this meme:
Now, Sam Kinison was one of the funniest performers on the planet back in the mid-80’s-early 90’s. He was what was known as a shock comic, or an insult comic. His best friend and fellow comedian, Carl Labove, was a friend of mine. Bob’s post reminded of the fact that I hadn’t thought of either of them in years.
Sam and Carl were also known as the ‘Outlaws of Comedy’. Sam’s iconic screams were so over the top he made a name for himself, carved out his own niche. He was fortunate to catch the eye of Rodney Dangerfield, who was very supportive. Rodney gave Sam his first big break with an appearance in his 1986 film “Back to School”. He also did stints on Saturday Night Live and Late Night with David Letterman. His star was rising. Carl is also very talented, although by hitching himself to Sam, he tended to have to stay in the shadows. But make no mistake, Carl is very funny too.
When Sam and Carl would play gigs in Toronto, we would always find time to hang out together. Hijinx and all-nighters would ensue. They were awesome guys, and hey, if I could make some of the funniest comics on the planet laugh, well, what can I say, it was all very cool.
So, I posted the following comment on Bob’s page:
I loved Sam Kinison and he died so tragically and too young. He would always come to my place in the Beaches and hang out when he was in town. His friend Carl LaBove was a good friend of mine too, and survived the car crash that took Sam’s life. But oh the laughs and good times we had together! Sam was a really, really sweet guy, completely different off stage. How he didn’t blow his voice with all that screaming, I don’t know! Thanks for the memory Bob.
As I mentioned in my FB post, Sam tragically died in a car accident on the way from LA to Vegas for a show. Carl was in the car with him and Sam’s new wife. They were hit by a drunk driver. Carl and Sam’s wife survived their injuries, Sam died on the scene.
In an effort to find out where Carl was these days, I thought I’d do a little online research. I found a 2013 article about him that brought some shocking news. It seems that Carl’s daughter was actually fathered by his deceased, and so he thought, best friend. Shocking, to say the least.
I kept digging and then found out some sad news. Carl has been battling cancer.
But, thanks to social media, Carl’s friend and fellow comic, Dan Pasternack launched a Go Fund Me campaign to raise money to help pay for Carl’s medical bills. I made a donation (thanks to social media).
I kept digging some more because I couldn’t seem to find a way to contact Carl. But thanks to social media, I found Dan Pasternack on Facebook and sent him a note through Messenger. He kindly replied that he had forwarded my message along to Carl and that Carl was going to reach out to me.
I’m still waiting to hear back from Carl. I haven’t heard his voice in years, but I’m sure the time will melt away and we’ll share a few laughs once again.
Thank you, social media. If it wasn’t for you, I wouldn’t have been able to find an old friend in his time of need. I hope to offer him some comfort and love. Maybe I can put a smile on his face too.
I look forward to reading your answers to my fill in the blank question today.