January 14, 2010
“The light has gone out of my life,” wrote Theodore Roosevelt after his first wife Alice died on February 14th, 1884. In his journal, Teddy created a bold “X with two crossing swipes of his pen. It was a stark image for the normally verbose President. If my comedy career had a life of its own, and had hands, and could write, and kept a journal, and actually wrote in that journal, and became President of the United States somehow, then I’m sure that today’s entry would be a huge X.
The rest of this blog post will be written, not as though Tim Dimond has only moved a few hundred miles up the road to the New York. Rather, I will speak of him in the past tense as though he is dead. If you couldn’t tell by now, I’m melodramatic. Molehill becomes a mountain.
Tim was one of the very first comedians that I ever met, even before Terry Jones or Bill Crawford. We became part of a loose trifecta of rookie comedians who quickly bonded during FunnyBone open mics. Me, Tim and a young comedian named Correy Barger (who had probably the funniest impression of a sea otter I’ve ever seen) became a willful band of dubious co-conspirators, traveling to obscure places (a Rec room at the University of Pittsburgh – Johnstown branch campus comes to mind) and performing comedy. We had big plans. But it didn’t last too long.
Corey stopped doing open-mics on a regular basis. I moved over to the Improv and Tim stayed at the FunnyBone. You have to understand; at the time, FunnyBone comedians and Improv comedians were like the Hatfield’s and the McCoy’s. One group did not associate with the other.
Somewhere along the line we reconnected. I think both of us liked each other’s material. I enjoyed his dryly-presented intellectual observations. We became comedy buddies. Every comedian has comedy buddies. They’re the people who you like to hang out with at the crappy open mics, the people who you pitch new jokes to, the people who you want on a show with you because you’d like to share the spotlight.
As a comedy buddy, Tim always kept me sharp, on my toes. If a new joke that I wrote was too pandering, he would roll his eyes and call me out on it. If I got flustered by a heckler and couldn’t think of any good comebacks, he would point that out. Basically, he was like a comedy lifting partner. Always trying to make you do one more rep. Feel the burn.
Now he’s moved to New York City, a place that teems with the energy required to make a superstar. One only has to harness that energy, convert it and make it explode. I have no doubt in my mind that within the next year, you’ll see Tim on Comedy Central’s Live at Gotham smashing the room with his sardonic, ultra-smart humor.
Don’t worry about me though. I’ve gone through this before. Prior to college, all of my high-school friends got put into an academic slingshot and fired off to different Universities in all sorts of directions. After my graduation from Penn State, I spilt off from nearly 50% of my closest friends that I had made there. Some got jobs and landed Washington D.C., some in Los Angeles, Minneapolis, Houston, Miami, etc. It was like someone inserted an M-80 into a fist of friendship and lit the fuse, sending bloody digits every which way.
So my mindset right now with Tim’s departure is the same as it was with my other friends. I was happy for them because they were moving on with their lives. I was not happy for me because they were moving out of mine. But life is full of meetings and partings, that is the way of it.
That last beautiful sentence is a quote from Kermit the Frog, by the way.
I stopped by Tim’s mom’s house this morning to say goodbye before he left. We made some small talk and I, not wanting to prolong the inevitable, said good luck in New York, gave him a hug and walked out the door.
He tried to comfort me. “Don’t worry. You’ll be there eventually.”
“No. I won’t.”
The light hasn’t gone out of my life. I’m not that sentimental. And even though I have a penchant for being hyperbolic, there’s only one thing I feel like writing in my journal today.
Good luck and God’s speed, Tim.