Mesothelioma is no laughing matter. But comedian Quincy Jones is determined to make it one. Or at least to have the last laugh over the cancer that’s eating him up inside.
Jones is just 32 years old and has Stage IV peritoneal mesothelioma. He’s been given a prognosis of no more than a year to live.
So, at some point in the coming weeks, the rising-star standup comic will take to the stage and rattle off his best jokes in a one-hour comedy special his friends are producing for him.
This comedy special will be taped expressly because Jones has mesothelioma. And because he wants to use his art to defiantly give the cancer a raised middle finger.
Mesothelioma Can’t Stop the Laughter
Jones lives in Los Angeles. He arrived there four years ago, after uprooting from Seattle. His career as a master of one-liners had been picking up steam despite having to still occasionally work as a barista for extra money between gigs.
Jones was packing his bags for a tour of comedy clubs along the East Coast when news came that he had mesothelioma.
In an interview with Los Angeles radio station KPCC, Jones was asked if there is less for him to laugh about now that he’s been diagnosed with mesothelioma. His answer: No.
“I still find things funny,” said Jones. “I love comedy. I love the art of it. It’s pure joy for me on that stage. I love the ability to perform.”
Jones — whose idol is comedian Chris Rock — added that one of his biggest fears after receiving a mesothelioma diagnosis was that he would never again be able to do standup in front of an audience.
Fortunately, he has a friend named Nicole Blaine. Blaine is a fellow comedian. She and her husband have been spearheading a fundraising campaign to pay for the one-hour comedy special that will star Jones.
Jones was undergoing mesothelioma chemotherapy at a county hospital in Los Angeles when the Blaines launched the fundraising campaign.
The campaign was conducted on the website Kickstarter. Nearly $5,000 had been pledged in the first two hours after their fundraiser webpage went live. Many of the financial pledges came from other comedians.
By Hour 10, the pledges totaled $15,000 — about three times higher than their targeted sum. More than $35,000 in pledges had come in by late February. And there were still three weeks remaining in the campaign.
Blaine told GQ magazine that all those extra funds will be used to add pizzazz, so that the show looks like a major TV network produced it.
Blaine said DVDs of the show will be quickly made available. She said she wants Jones to be able to watch it as many times as he can before his time comes.
The “laughter that Quincy creates will now be able to live on,” said Blaine.
No Mesothelioma on Stage with Jones
Jones said the hour-long special of his standup comedy will be his most important contribution to humor.
“And so when people asked me, What do you want to do?, I said, Well, the next step in my career would be a special. An hour special. I have over an hour of material,” he told KPCC.
“I don’t have any kids. I don’t have a wife. What do I have? Alright, well, I do comedy. That’s what defines me. That’s what I am. I’m a comedian. So I want to leave a special behind.”
The KPCC interviewer invited Jones to imagine himself on stage during the taping of the one-hour special. What will that be like, the radio station asked?
“There is no cancer when I’m on that stage,” Jones confidently answered.