In the days of my youth, when I was an opening act (a job that I really loved because you got to watch the best comics in the world perform for free, and you could make about $50 per show doing it), I spent a weekend in Reno working a double headline bill with Greg Proops and Gary Lazer. When we weren’t performing for drunks who had lost a great deal of money, I was hanging on Greg’s every word, as he was and still is one of the most brilliant people I have ever met. We got to talking about who was the funniest comic of all time. Greg said that the person who made him laugh harder than anyone was Warren Thomas.
Warren Thomas was the funniest comic and we all worshiped him when I was among the young fledgling standups in San Francisco. He passed away in New York City on September 2nd. I didn’t know him well. I just thought he was a great and talented guy, with a handsome grin that charmed the hell out of all the cocktail waitresses, and kept female patrons hanging outside the green room at the Punchline late into the night. Whenever he went onstage, it was an event, and everyone would sit back and watch him with awestruck jealousy. He also grew this weird topknot on his head, like the lid of a cookie jar, or so my friend Ebby had said. It was at first this little nub, which grew into a full on handle over time. You could almost lift it and see if there were any cookies in his head.
The better comic you are, the less time you have on earth, it seems. I suppose I get to grow old and grey because I am just okay. Warren Thomas was a comic genius, well respected and loved tremendously by his peers. He will be sorely missed.