I had no fricking clue who Joe Bodolai was when he followed me on twitter.
I saw his picture, and naturally assumed he was some creepy guy who just wanted to tweet at someone whose user icon was dishonestly taken several years before. And when he tweeted me, I searched for whatever the social media equivalent of a rape whistle is. Then he told me why he had found me. Some random internet posting I had made some years earlier. A 10 minute play I wrote in my early twenties, about a man and a crazy cat lady sharing space in the last few minutes at the end of the world, had him in stitches. "Dark, but funny." he said. "Imagine my luck," he said, "when you turned out to be a babe."
So I was right about him being creepy. But he insisted on talking to me about writing, because that's what he knew. He was the epitome of the washed-up writer, and he owned it. So we talked, via direct message and email for the better part of a year. He told me I had (and Jarrod Hunt will appreciate this) "snark and sugar water" running through my veins. He begged me to go meet his friend Sarah Hyland (the comedian) and attempted numerous times to arrange a date for us whenever she came to Louisville. Given my propensity for laziness and I assume Sarah's propensity to not want to meet random people, nothing ever came of it.
I didn't know who Joe Bodolai was. I knew he wrote sketches. I knew he was a vehement believer in conspiracy theories. He rambled a lot. I never really researched the man. He shared my love of France and would occasionally talk about being in Paris in May 1968 (if you don't know what happened then, look it up.) I knew he once had one line in a Monty Python sketch. When I asked if he was sorry he didn't have more than one line (And I regret now not asking him what the one line was), he said "Are you kidding? I can say I shared a stage in a Monty Python sketch with John F***ing Cleese and not be lying."
Some of you may say that I just relish the emails because I had someone complimenting me. I would agree. I mean, I like compliments as well as any woman. Some of you might same I'm trying to put myself in the thick of things by writing about it. No. Just in shock. Some may say "Eww. He was old.Why were you emailing back and forth with him?". I would agree, tell you he was totally creepy and tell you I have no clue why I did, sometimes you just feel compelled to answer. I had no clue who he was. I still don't. There is something really validating when the universe sends someone to you whose only purpose is to say "Hey. You're a pretty talented dame." Yes. He used the word "Dame".
He hadn't been working for years. Not steadily anyways. He had alcohol abuse issues. He was depressed. I knew he had been sick. The most prominent sickness among comedians is the rampant inability to be happy. I told him once that "the greatest joke anyone ever played in the history of the world, is the fact that the funniest people are the most miserable." He only responded with "Ain't that the truth?"
Joe passed away on the 26th of December. He left a rambling note on his blog, which read more as a manifesto. I didn't check his blog regularly. Apparently it went viral and I missed it. I only know what happened because he sent my stupid play to someone who said, "Hey this is rough, but funny. Do you have anything else?" And I sent a tweet to him and one of his fellow twitter buddies last night to ask, "What the heck do I send?" and his friend basically said "No clue and Joe is dead."
I hate that the darkness got him. Depression is an everyday war and people who try to write it off as self-pity are terribly misinformed. But despite the way he died, I feel so amazed by the life he lived. The main lesson to take in this life is that you simply go where the doors open. Live. Live. Live. It doesn't matter if you're the star of the Monty Python skit, so long as you got to be on stage with them. That's life in a very funny, very perverted nutshell. Much like Joe.