Last September, The Pleasure Chest celebrated their 40th Anniversary by making all shows that month free, which included Performance Anxiety. The final show that month had Sarah Silverman as a guest drop-in. T.J. Miller and I agreed to stack the line-up with an even split of established, heavy-hitting comedians, and some faces people aren’t as familiar with unless you’re a comedy nerd. One of these faces was a comedian named Angelo Bowers. In the age of available information and people going out of their way to get their stuff seen on the web, Angelo’s stuff was hard to find. He wasn’t on Facebook or Twitter, and his one YouTube clip was taken by a patron of the Ha Ha Café who simply wanted someone to identify him because of how funny he was.
Sarah Silverman asked to go up first, but was running late to the show, so I asked Angelo to go up first. Without hesitating, he was ready to go. As he went on stage, Sarah arrived and watched Angelo’s set, commenting on how funny he is. Three weeks later, catching up with a non-comedy friend who works on an animated show that Sarah does voiceover work for, she mentioned that she got to meet Sarah they day after Performance Anxiety. One of the first things Sarah said to my friend Karen was (and I’m paraphrasing here) “That first comedian who went up was so funny!” This is Angelo at the show:
Angelo would’ve done the same set whether he was in front of a full crowd in a sex shop, a full house at a comedy club, or a bar show with an audience of three. And he would’ve killed at all of them. He was one of the best joke writers with a unique stage presence. He was also one of the most positive comedians, constantly smiling and having fun on and off stage. Last night, Angelo was killed in a drunk driving accident. Another funny, amazing comedian, Josh Adam Meyers was in the car with him (pictured below) and he is in critical condition, currently recovering.
Yesterday, Jake Weisman and I invited Angelo to come do a last minute episode of The Morning After… Podcast we put together for later that day. He couldn’t make it, but we caught up with him at the Red Rock open mic on Sunset a few hours later. He mentioned he was heading back up to Northern California to finish some medical treatment. I offered him a guest drop-in spot at next Tuesday’s Performance Anxiety and it was to be his last set before he left Los Angeles for a little while. A few hours later, Josh and Angelo were driving and they were struck by a drunk driver. Josh is in the hospital and Angelo is no longer with us. To anyone out there, comics and friends, please don’t drink and drive! We hear about this in PSAs and always make jokes about how last night we shouldn’t have driven home cause we had that extra shot, a few too many beers, and laugh it off because we’re sitting around joking about it the next day. I don’t know if there was anything Josh and Angelo could’ve done to avoid the asshole that did this, but none of us have to be the person in the other car. The only thing worse than being killed by a drunk driver is taking a life because you are the drunk driver.
I’m not just asking you to think of Angelo when you’re at a bar. If anything, you should think of him when you’re at a show or a mic and remember a person who was happy to do a spot any place that had a mic, an amp, and a list for him to sign his name and take to that stage to make people laugh. This really was a guy who gave a 110% anywhere he went up.
RIP Angelo Bowers. That spot is still there for you!