Tags: quincy jones | comedian | cancer | hbo

Quincy Jones, Comedian With Cancer Diagnosis, to Premiere HBO Special

Image: Quincy Jones, Comedian With Cancer Diagnosis, to Premiere HBO Special
(HBO via Youtube)

By    |   Thursday, 02 Jun 2016 10:24 AM

Quincy Jones, a terminally-ill comedian, is realizing a dream with the June 2 premier of his HBO special "Quincy Jones: Burning the Light."

The performer, whose real name is Quami Wallen, was diagnosed with stage 4 mesothelioma last year. At the time, doctors estimated the Seattle native had a year to live.

“Realistically, I just want to be remembered as one of the nice guys who’s funny,” Wallen told The Seattle Times. “Maybe some people will remember my jokes.”

His friends Nicole and Mickey Blaine helped launch a Kickstarter campaign to film a special. The campaign caught the eye of Ellen DeGeneres, who invited Wallen to appear on her talk show in March. She made a pitch for the idea on her show, and called the comedian a week later to announce that HBO had agreed to do it.

The one-hour special was subsequently filmed in April 4 at Teragram Ballroom in Los Angeles.

“We put the hour together to make it smooth in two weeks,” Wallen told The Huffington Post. “Once we announced it, I was on the road and had to get to work."

Wallen has been reluctant to address cancer in his comedy, saying he doesn't want the disease to define him or have too much power.

“But I figured since everyone was going to be there for me that night to support, and it wasn’t gonna be awkward for me to talk about cancer, I figured it was just a good thing to do just to address the elephant in the room,” he said.

He told the Seattle Times that he hopes the show will be a launching point for a tour and possibly another special.

"All the great writers die, and we want more of their work. It's the same with comedians," Wallen told the Los Angeles Times. "I don't have kids, I don't have a dog. All I have is student-loan debt. I don't have real evidence that I was here, and that's a scary feeling. I wanted something visual that could live online and showcase my skill set, because I feel comedy has saved my life."

Wallen, who has no relation to the music producer Quincy Jones, told Entertainment Weekly that he took the stage name at an open mic event.

"I was scared at an open mic that one of my ex‑girlfriends was going come because she said she was going to boo me if I wasn’t funny," he said. "So, I put down my name as Quincy Jones so she wouldn’t figure out it was me."

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Quincy Jones, a terminally-ill comedian, is realizing a dream with the June 2 premier of his HBO special "Quincy Jones: Burning the Light."
quincy jones, comedian, cancer, hbo
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2016-24-02
Thursday, 02 Jun 2016 10:24 AM
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