I’m scripting this with a heavy, aching coronary heart and a thoughts that flooded with reminiscences of affection, laughs, and pleasure.
Once I acquired the information that Fez handed over to the following realm on August 14, I cried. Quite a bit. I received’t get hear one other killer Fez story, I received’t get to listen to that infectious snicker or see that cat that ate the canary smile.
One of many many issues I discovered on this enterprise is that irrespective of how loopy, bizarre, and funky the modifications occur, as a lot as you’ll be able to, assist the brand new individuals slot in. I acquired that assist once I broke in and I felt obligated to cross it alongside to the following particular person.
So when Ron & Fez did their first present at WNEW on February 29, 2000, it was an honor to assist them get it shifting.
It turned out that after you confirmed them what was the place and the way it labored, it was a wrap. You simply took that step again, watched them work, and loved the journey.
One of many many issues that impressed me from soar was that they by no means acted like ‘the brand new present from out of city’. They gave the impression of New Yorkers who simply returned from quick trip and simply leapt proper in like they’ve been right here all of their lives. But they had been doing the web stuff lengthy earlier than it grew to become a factor. The primary time I grew to become conscious of Google, Yahoo, AOL, and YouTube was due to Ron & Fez.
I made a decision to pay attention to at least one break. Then it grew to become two. Then one hour. Then an hour and a half. Fairly quickly, I discovered myself strolling out the identical time they did.
Ron was – and is – Captain Cool. Add that with Fez’s verbal jabs – which hit tougher than most comedian’s haymakers – it was funky, quirky, odd, daring and got-damn stunning. The New York viewers took to them as a result of they acknowledged that they had been of the identical tribe. One in all us.
I took the leap, fell into their great world and was accepted with open arms.
The speak radio incarnation of WNEW-FM was someplace between a frat home, pirate ship and insane asylum, besides the inmates acquired to go residence at evening and on weekends. It was this odd mixture of castoffs, adventurers, mavericks and holdovers. So for the opposite exhibits to provide unsolicited props to a present that aired from 11pm to 1am meant that they had been doing a little subsequent degree stuff. O&A had been the loopy older brothers. Ron & Fez had been your funky uncles.
The promos – the majority of which Fez wrote – had been the stuff of legend. They had been collected and handed round like combine tapes or bootlegs. 30 seconds of comedy that rivaled something you heard on any medium. A-level hilarity.
Fezzatorials, The Nature Boy. Even dwell reads took on a lifetime of their very own.
Edgy, but informative. Textured, but hilariously absurd.
Grasp lessons on how discover comedic gold in every thing.
I used to be blessed sufficient to have a entrance row seat. Much more so to be requested to contribute to the present on air and off. After they made the transfer over to satellite tv for pc radio, I used to be given the task of a lifetime: Govt Producer. Every day classes on methods to deliver the humorous.
Along with being one of many funniest individuals to ever grace the mic, Fez Whatley was caring, sharp, insightful, witty, and inspiring in ways in which I couldn’t clarify even when I had a lifetime to elucidate it. He demanded consideration to element, flawless execution and needed one of the best not solely as a result of he and Ron had been one of the best, however knew – typically earlier than you probably did – that the standard was additionally in you.
Fez Whatley was additionally the bravest particular person I ever met.
It takes lots of braveness to place your struggles with well being, identification, anxiousness and despair on full show. But one way or the other he was in a position to stare all of it down, confront it and discover a deep properly of humor in all of it. Even when he wasn’t feeling his finest, even in the course of the midst of being unwell, Fezzie saved knocking comedic hits out of the park.
Fez Whatley wore lots of hats: Son, brother, uncle, mentor, broadcaster, producer, and author. However one of the best hat he wore was that of a good friend, and he was one of the best good friend anybody might want for.
Sorry, I’m going to cry once more…
Sending like to Fez’s household, associates and all who cherished him.
I really like you Huge Cat.
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Earl Douglas is a author/photographer primarily based in New York Metropolis. A frequent contributor to The Interrobang, Earl can be Govt Director for the New York chapter of The Black Rock Coalition. Earl labored in radio for practically 20 years at WNEW-FM and XM Satellite tv for pc Radio, which included being the on-air producer for Carol Miller, Scott Muni and Ron & Fez, and a contributor to Opie & Anthony. Earl has additionally independently printed plenty of books together with Black Rock Quantity 1, City Abyss, Cell Uploads, and For Shimmy. His newest mission is the photojournalism journal PRAXIS, which is accessible completely by means of Blurb.com.