Thursday February 27th, 2014 – Island Lake, IL
The standup comedy world is flying flags at half mast today in honor of a freshly lost comrade. Tim Wilson has passed away apparently from a sudden heart attack, and the planet will miss him whether they know it or not. I crossed paths with him several times, and he was a wonderful guy.
I’m not sure if he was originally from Atlanta, but that’s where he lived when I met him around 1984. He was working at a club in Milwaukee called The Comedy Corner, and I was just starting out then. I would go and watch the week’s comedians when I could, hoping to learn from them.
Tim worked there several times as a feature act, and he was very southern but also very funny. Milwaukee crowds can be rather stiff to say the least, but he never flinched at any time and just did what he did. I happened to enjoy it immensely, and we struck up a friendship at that time.
He was one of those guys one can’t help but like, and since we were both hungry to get into the business we hit it off nicely. I got what he did, and when he would come through Milwaukee I’d make a point to go see him whenever I could. There were a lot of comedians like that back then.
Another guy that worked that club frequently then was Andrew ‘Dice’ Clay of all people. I saw him several times as he was first getting started, and he was quite different than the character the public ended up knowing. That was just part of his act then, and Tim was his opener quite a bit.
Looking back now that’s one of the oddest standup comedy pairings imaginable, but it worked well at the time. They were both putting their acts together, and I wish there were tapes of those shows to show young comedians that everyone starts at the bottom and has to build their legend.
The last time I crossed paths with Tim was several years ago at Zanies in Nashville where we were both part of a television taping for a show called ‘Comcast Comedy Spotlight’. The shows were thirty minutes long and featured two comedians, and I happened to be paired with Tim for my appearance. They recorded several shows that day, and it was a long grind for everybody.
We were told to keep our times very tight, and that’s normal for television. I went first, and did my time to the second. For whatever reason, Tim went long and they couldn’t get him off stage. I have no idea why he did that, but it didn’t go over well with the producers. They were incensed.
Tim got an ear full, but he blew it off. Then the whole group of comedians went out for dinner, and I sat at the table next to Tim and his manager Chris DiPetta. We ended up making each other laugh the entire evening, and our end of the table kept the party going. We were all lighting it up.
It was one of those special nights hanging with comedians that I’ll cherish forever. Tim was as nice as they come, and extremely genuine and down to earth. I wish I’d stayed in closer contact, but it’s too late now. All I have will be the times we did have - but every last one was pleasant.
Somewhere out there there’s a ‘Comcast Comedy Spotlight’ episode featuring Tim Wilson and Dobie Maxwell. I never saw it, but it sure was fun to record. May Tim’s memory live on forever. Bastards like Manson and Castro are alive, but Tim Wilson isn’t. What’s wrong with this planet?
|There are funny guys, and there are nice guys. Tim Wilson was both.|
|He was also a comedian and musician and good at both. That's rare.|
|Somewhere in the cosmos there's an episode of 'Comcast Comedy Spotlight' featuring Tim Wilson and Dobie Maxwell. I am honored to have crossed paths with a truly talented and kind hearted soul. He will be missed by many.|