The Seattle aboriginal hasn"t let a terminal cancer diagnosis stifle the laughs or protect against him having a career year.

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BySeth SommerfeldSeptember 20, 2016


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On august 6, 2015, Quincy Jones was given his fatality sentence: stage 4 mesothelioma, a rare cancer in the lining that the lungs and also abdomen that has no recognized cure. He was told he had actually less 보다 a year come live. On June 2, 2016, the comedian"s an initial hour long standup special, Burning the Light, premiered ~ above HBO. Come say the 33-year-old Seattle native has actually been v an physical, emotional, and also career whirlwind over the previous year would be one understatement of epos proportions.

Jones relocated from Seattle to Los Angeles come purse comedy in 2012, grind away (to the patently absurd song of performing 1,000 to adjust in a single year) in the city"s myriad the standup spots. He to be honing his craft, but had yet to rest though. When his career might"ve looked especially bleak ~ his mesothelioma diagnosis, the all adjusted when his comedian girlfriend Nicole Blaine set up a Kickstarter in February to raise money to fund Jones"s an initial standup special. The campaign ended up being a viral success (raising over $50,000 despite its modest goal of $4,985), boosted by Jones appearing on The Ellen DeGeneres Show. DeGeneres made some calls and also convinced HBO to air his standup special, and a mere two weeks later on he to be taping it (time is precious, after ~ all). It needs to be one of the many bizarre and also mildly morbid huge breaks in history. (While Tig Notaro"s star rose with her currently legendary post-cancer diagnosis standup set, she"d already established it s her as among the top standups in the industry and also her breast cancer wasn"t terminal.) 


This Friday (September 23), Jones makes his triumphant homecoming with a headlining gig at the Neptune Theatre. Not negative for a dude defying a death sentence.

For our latest Fiendish Conversation, us chatted with Jones about his health, returning home, and attempting to procedure all that"s happened in the previous six months.

What was her initial reaction as soon as your friends began the Kickstarter to accumulation for her special?


I remained in chemo as soon as it dropped. So ns wasn’t totally aware the how conveniently it took off. I am forever thankful for mine friends, because that Blaine, because that doing that. I’m likewise grateful for my cousin Alexia sharper for beginning my GoFundMe that helped me in the beginning stages. Ns couldn’t have done it alone, and also that’s why when whatever thing take it off, ns tried to make certain to I constantly had everyone in mind. When you have actually that budget , I could have excellent it elsewhere, but I determined to perform it in LA due to the fact that that’s where it go viral, that’s whereby I live, and also I feel the civilization who helped donate should have the ability to come see it, friend know?

Were there any an especially surreal moments from the past year that you store reflecting earlier on?

I median it all happened so fast, man: the Kickstarter walking viral, me doing all the comedy podcasts that i listened come while came up, obtaining on Ellen, and also then getting on Ellen again in a week, the taping the the special two weeks after we announced it, just everything. I visited a mesothelioma conference, which helped put me in touch through a surgeon— Dr. Richard Alexander at university of Maryland clinical Center—who walk the surgical procedure on me in July, and that assisted me live longer. Whatever happened so quick that i still haven’t had actually time to reflect. Man, it has been a hell the a ride.


I’m in new York City best now. Ns looking at the liberty Tower. It’s all crazy, friend know? Comedy, hard work, and an excellent friends have taken me to places and heights that—who knows as soon as I would have actually reached? however I’m here now, and I’m blessed and humbled and also honored the I’m may be to perform it.

What is your present state of her health?

I’m AWD. That way “alive with disease.” you know, there’s no cure because that my kind of cancer. They eliminated what they might see at the time being, but additionally at the finish of the day, we that the liquid will begin coming back. So because that now, castle took the end my spleen, castle took out my omentum, castle took out my abdomen wall. And also that absolutely takes a toy fee on a person. Yet I was fortunate that the exposure obtained me call with people who can prolong mine life. Ns didn’t want to keep doing chemo, you understand what ns saying? so I’m grateful for it. Things space good. I’m tired. I’m definitely tired.


I feel like anyone through your breakneck schedule these past few months would be tired, also sans illness.

Keeping busy has constantly been my goal. Even now once I have actually a small break coming up I’m prefer I desire to market a show or I desire to get earlier to writing. Reason time is precious. I’m just trying come maximize mine time here. As soon as you’re offered a prognosis favor the one i got, friend really start to truly evaluate what’s important and what’s not.

While I understand comedy offers escapism for an audience, carry out you additionally find a sort of escapism when you take it the stage?


I discovered refuge in it. You understand when I obtained out of the hospital last year after 45 days, the very first thing ns did was go to open up mic. I was the end for two hours and I go to open mic. That tells you whereby my head to be at.

Growing up in Seattle, what was her initial introduction to standup comedy?

I grew up watching every the legends. I remember seeing chris Rock’s Bigger and also Blacker and also hearing certain jokes from his album. I was like ah man, ns gotta talk favor that. I desire to carry out something choose that one day. And I simply did it. Someday I signed up for the open up mic, and also then the was that. I just gained addicted and kept going.


When go you begin going to open up mics?

I very first went up at 21. Then I began going full-time when ns was like 25. I’m an observational comic. Beginning at an larger age, I sort of knew what I want to speak about. Ns wasn’t going through the awkward, resulting age phase as a comedian. Ns was an adult that was learning how to be funny on stage.

Now that you completed that dream score of putting out a standup special, what’s next on the horizon?


I desire to proceed writing, occupational on my brand-new hour, possibly delve into acting, just do a little bit of everything.

For me, sort of wraps up my whole whirlwind that a previous 5–6 months. I’ve been on the roadway for virtually the entirety summer, and now this is like my critical stop prior to I go earlier to LA and also grind. It just feels good to go home to the place where you started and sort of lid off an remarkable run. Couple of things ever come full circle, and also I’m simply excited for it.

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What does it typical to you come come earlier to Seattle and play a venue prefer the Neptune?


Man, i’m so excited. Friend gotta understand, I checked out Hamilton center School. Many of mine friends have seen me perform in the earlier of a Thai food restaurant—Jai Thai—on Capitol Hill, and I’m coming house to execute a theater. Talk around the growth. Ns unveiling brand-new material indigenous my brand-new hour, and so I number that my city whereby I’m from need to be the first place to obtain it.

Well, I’m certain there’s lot of of current life suffer to draw on for brand-new material.