I have been putting off making this post. It’s the hardest thing I’ve ever had to write.
I am so deeply devastated by the passing of one of best friends – the Big Cat, Andrew Vaughan. And in the sake of being totally honest – I have not been okay since finding out. I have been a complete mess – and I was a mess before this! My heart feels like it’s completely gone. I literally have no idea how to process this pain.
Back in August of 2018 I did something ballsy and put out an instagram story tagging local comedians who might want to come on the podcast. Andrew was the first to respond. We recorded and oddly enough became almost instant friends. He was likely more hesitate about me than I was of him but after hanging out for a couple hours there was an instant comfort level. Since that first recording with Andrew he helped connect me with so many other comedians in the scene and soon enough I was recording with so many more. He is the reason I started actually going to open mic comedy shows. And soon enough I was hooked.
I never really thought of it this way before but Andrew truly was the reason InTalksicated became a true comedy podcast, and beyond that – he was the reason I fell in love with standup comedy.
Even outside of comedy, he slowly became a close, true friend. We developed a regular texting relationship and would talk about music we loved, movies, life and just stupid stuff we thought was funny. We would say things “we couldn’t say to other people”. He became my favourite person to podcast with because it was just so easy. We could talk about 1000 different topics in 2 hours. And that is something truly special. We bonded over our love podcasting and even came up with awesome ideas together. He invited me on his podcast and as a non-comic and a woman (gasp!) that was a huge honor for me. We started to just hang out off the mic and he started driving me home form Gus’s on Monday nights. We started having brunch together regularly – hitting up Cozy’s or Kempsters or Sunnyside Too in Bedford on most weekends. He was at the top of my messenger at all times and became one of the first people I would message with news – good or bad. Andrew became family to me. He made me feel welcomed and like I truly belonged to this community despite not even being a comedian myself. I have always struggled with feeling like I belonged. This is something I am forever grateful for.
I have seen a lot of posts from comics stating that Andrew’s opinion of them was held high. I would agree with this 100%. He had the ability to be so honest with you, yet so sincere and real about it. I am not a comedian, but his opinion of me meant a lot. When I thought about doing stand up he was honest with me in saying I should hold off for a bit. Any time I had a life situation I asked him about he would be 100% real with me – and it was always out of love. It’s this honesty and genuineness that made him someone comics and friends would look up to. He would hate me for saying this – but sometimes I would actually have the thought “what would Andrew think of this?”. I always wanted to impress him, because I was so impressed by his talent and knowledge about comedy.
When I did my live show I was legit so nervous to talk to him about it. Andrew had his opinions, and he was steadfast in those opinions and dare I say stubborn sometimes. I knew that part of my relationship with him was opening him up to new ideas, slowly and respectfully. I felt like the live show was me saying “Hey Andrew! Look what I can do! Hope you like it!”. When he posted he was proud of the show I legit teared up. I always wanted him to be proud me, because I was so proud of him.
When I got the news it didn’t feel real. I had been talking to him the night before and everything seemed fine. We had streamed together the day before he passed. The last time I saw him was to give him a webcam I had so we could stay connected over the next few weeks and he said “See you soon!” and I said “Unless we die…hahahhaa”. I cannot believe the gravity of that statement now. But I cannot hold that with me. Andrew was always joking around. He would want nothing less than for us to keep laughing, after he is gone.
You guys, I am so devastated. I cannot believe he is gone and I won’t be able to hear his voice anymore. It has absolutely gutted me. I have lost some friends this year, but I never thought I would loose him
As a way of trying to protect myself I have to try to be positive and focus on the good. It’s so hard, and I’m so angry, but in order for me to move forward I have to try.
Here’s what I know currently:
The sheer outpouring of support myself and his other close friends has received has been so appreciated. The GoFundMe created by Andrew Evans has widely surpassed it’s goal and in these hard financial times – that speaks volumes. Andrew clearly impacted SO MANY people, in the comedy community, from his childhood and beyond. If you can give or share, it’s greatly appreciated. Reading everyone’s messages has been a source of comfort for me. Link to the GoFundMe: https://bit.ly/2QBpx3Q
Andrew will leave a legacy behind, in the many comedians he helped in the 10 years he had been doing comedy. You can see this in the amount of “thank yous” he has received from comedians in this scene and beyond. He helped so many people get off the ground, helped comics develop their jokes and has been a pillar of support for so long. That pillar will continue to stand even after his death. His hard work and commitment to comedy will never be forgotten.
In the months leading up to his death – Andrew was on the path to a healthier life. Yes, he could have done more, but the point is he was trying. He cut out fast food and was losing weight. I regret never suggesting going for walks with him – as this was something I had planned on bringing up eventually. If there’s anything to take away from this it’s to always put your health first and also encourage your friends to be healthy. Give them hell for it. Encourage each other to be healthy. Health is all we have and Andrew passing away so young should be an example to STAY ON IT. Because you truly never know when it will happen. All of this is to say – he was moving his life in a more positive direction. He had goals to record a new album, to go out west to do comedy and was always trying to be better. I take comfort in this because I know he passed away with hope for what was to come and that is much better than dying when you are miserable.
In closing – holy shit. I am going to miss the hell out of this guy. Every single day.
His family and friends are constantly in my thoughts.
It’s a god damn terrible time to grieve – since we can’t get together for Arby’s, a drive to the south shore (his happy place) or to put on one hell of a show at Gus’s Pub. We will eventually though. We have to hold on to that.
I want to give a special thank you to Richard Desnoyers for taking on such a logistical role in this terrible time with such strength and calmness, and Andrew Evans for organizing the Go Fund Me. And of course everyone tagged in this for helping me through it all, and anyone who has reached out personally recently. I have countless offers to chat with people. I will get there eventually.
I have no idea how I will get through this. But what I do know is, over time, the network of people surrounding Andrew (friends, family and comedians) will slowly help put each others hearts back together. And for that, I am very grateful.
Andrew explained his stance on death to me on his first episode of InTalksicated. He said that it’s beautiful that life goes on after we die. And while I don’t agree that there is no afterlife, I can appreciate that he would want us all to carry on. He is giving us that permission.
“This is the only dance we dance”
Well Andrew, you were shitty dancer, but it’s been one of hell of a dance regardless.
When I do my first set, I will hear your voice in my head. Trim the fat. Setup – punchline. Find the funny. never go over your time. and so much more.
I love you and will miss you every day, Big Cat.