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« "Bill Hicks and Lenny Bruce are just as relevent today." | Main | Failure is in the Eye of the Beholder »

The Ghost of Christmas Future



Election week 2004, early November.

Andristand I are playingZanies Chicago. First night, legendary comedianJohn Foxstumbles into the back door of the club pre-show and hangs an arm around my neck, saying that I was his protege. I'd only met him twice before and the last time he asked me when I'd started doing comedy before I explained to him that comedy is how we knew each other.


John Fox is legendary for all the wrong reasons. He is legendary for being a free-falling spectacle of how things can go so poorly in a lifetime. He's is legendary for nursing the same act for 20-plus years and still fucking it up from years of reckless abuse of vice. He is legendary for being everything we are afraid of as comics you still run in that marathon.

We see him at the bar round the corner after the show.

"You're not gonna believe the gig they got me doing," he rasps, "I'm opening for The Beach Boys on New Years".



John Fox


The bartender who has obviouly grown tired of turning a blind ear to his bullshit chimes in.

"You told me it was Christmas."

"Ya. Well, it's Christmas thru New Years." he covers but not well enough.

"So why would you say New Year's first instead of Christmas thru New Years?" she says but he trails off rather than have to come up with more bullshit.




Big In Japan


John Fox was big in the 80's - as we're 1000 people who shouldn't have been big. He, like me, never saw fit to give up the lifestyle.

He spiralled out of control more than I've seen in anyone else. But also in ways I see very clearly in myself. I dont remember how I know you either anymore. God knows my drinking is pathetic to some.

On the last night in Chicago that week, John Fox shuffles into the bar just short of last call with the fear all over him. We are well into our pints and we give a cheer.

He overcompensates with a story about only being in the bar to break a hundred dollar bill. He has an early flight to a gig he tells us and cab drivers can never break a hundred. Knowing his need, I suggest he come have a beer with us and he 'aw shucks' us saying it couldn't hurt.

I ask him where he is playing on this run he is heading out for.

"You're never gonna believe it. They got me opening for the Beach Boys."

This isn't Christmas or New Year's. This is early November and he has no idea he's already been selling this pointless avenue of dogshit with different parameters.

"Wow, that's great" I say and I am not mocking him. I am afraid - not for him but for myself.


For he is The Ghost of Christmas Future, and I wonder which drink will be the 'one too many' and I become him.

For kicks we checkThe Beach Boys tour dateson the internet and they are nowhere to be found in the places hesaid he'd be opening for them.

Not to say that John Fox is among the greats you may infer but consider...


For every comic that dies in his so-called prime and you say "It's too bad we will never see how much greater they could have become", remember that they may just as easily become bitter, unfunny, shitty, sell-out, addict wastes or just fucking quit in the face of the pointlessness of it all.

Just a thought and a fear I thought I'd share.





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