The Loss of a Great Man and a Great Fan

This week in Cleveland I received some sad news – Mike Crotty Sr., the father of a friend and teammate of mine from Williams College passed away suddenly.  Although I was a senior when Mike the younger was a freshman, Mr. Crotty hit it off with the entire team.  Present at just about every game he was quick with a compliment for everyone, which was particularly impressive for someone like me since I spent a majority of games riding the pine.

My favorite memories of Mr. Crotty are particularly appropriate to this website however because they both involve comedy.

In September 2005 I was competing in the Semi Finals of the Boston Comedy Festival.  I had probably seen Mr. Crotty only once or twice in the 4 years since I graduated from Williams, but there he was with his son and several former classmates of mine from Williams.  I had a good set and thought I would make the Finals (a recurring theme for me), but sadly did not make it.  I was disappointed, but was just beginning to find out that that is 90% of comedy.  And as all the finalists were announced, Mr. Crotty let out a bellowing “That’s bullshit!”  when it was clear that I was not a finalist.  After the set and seeing that I was somewhat disappointed he reminded me that not one of the other competitors had a dunk like the one I had to end my college career four years earlier (see he could find a hoops highlight even for me).

Now some comedians may read that and say that’s improper or not the nicest way to end a show, but in the grand scheme of things it meant a ton to me.  In a business that increasingly feels like being alone at sea, it was the father of a friend who had the guts to call out what he thought was wrong, all in the name of supporting my comedy.  Outside of my Mother and Uncle I don’t know anyone who would make such a blatant gesture of defiance in defending me on something so small.   As I have continued along in comedy the amount of people standing up for the right thing or willing to speak against “bullshit” seems to diminish with every passing week.  Mr Crotty was not to be counted in that group.

Four years later (this past Fall) I was headlining Tommy’s Comedy Lounge in Boston on Halloween weekend.  The Friday night show on Halloween’s eve had been a success and several friends from Williams (my main Boston connection) showed up, but the Halloween night show was very lightly attended.  But guess who made it to show driving straight from a basketball game a couple of hours away to get there on time?  The Mike Crottys.  After doing stand up for almost 7 years there are few people I can count on to consistently show up for a show.  The fact that Mr. Crotty was one of those people speaks overwhelmingly to his loyalty, kindness and love of a good laugh.

Of the many benefits of attending Williams College, meeting Mr. Crotty was undoubtedly one of them.  I was sad not to attend his funeral, but I’ve been in Cleveland performing comedy.  My next stop next week will be a headlining weekend in Boston.  There will be one big laugh missing for sure.

My thoughts and prayers go out to Mike, his Mom and his sister.  Thanks for sharing Mr. Crotty with a bench-warming comedian.

  • Josh

    this is one of your best entries. my condolences to you and his family.

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