RIP Lori Callahan

I just found out one of my good comedy friends, Lori Callahan died.  I HATE that I found out via facebook.

A goofy, badass comedy mom.
Lori Callahan

Lori was a Denver comedy mom.  She took us fledgling comedians on the road and she insisted on paying most of the gas.

She always made sure we were taken care of.  And if anybody messed with us, or tried to rip us off, she tore them a new one.

A long time ago, Lori had meningitis.  When they fixed the meningitis or operated it out of her or whatever, the doctors literally removed the fear part of her brain.   She had no fear.  No fear.  Not no fear like the No Fear t-shirts 1990s douchebags wore before they did an ollie in the mall parking lot.  No she had FEAR- removed from her brain!  She was like a Bond villain- except for good! Without the constraints of fear, she easily tore into any predatory bookers or shady venue owners.  Anybody who tried to mess with our pay or disrespect us in any way was about to enter a world of angry Lori.  Nobody was going to rip off Lori or her cubs!

Lori came from a time in comedy when comedians had to earn their stripes.  You had to pay your dues! These days, it's true: the comedy world has a lot of great comedians who have been grinding it out a long time and are now finally getting their due.  Congrats! But the market is also flooded with has-been tv personalities who want to supplement their income by telling hacky jokes, or youtube/twitter/reddit/pinterest sensations suddenly who just got TV credits and bam presto, they have a comedy career.

When Lori was in full force, you earned your stripes, paid your respects to the old guard (and the old guard of the old guard) kept plugging away strengthening your act, and eventually the world would open up for you.

One story I remember Lori telling was about Matt Vogel's puke cyclone.  He was drunk.  Lori was driving.  Matt opened a window to puke out the window.  He puked out the window.  The back window was open too.  The puke came back into the car, swirled around a bit and tornadoed Matt's barf chunks everywhere!  Matt paid for cleaning the car and stuff, but it never got better.  That SUV just had a puke stink from that point forward.  I wasn't there to see the puke tornado, but Lori had a million stories like that.

Lori used to drink duck farts.  I don't know what's in em.  I don't know how to make em.  I just know  she really liked that drink.  We sat there at Brooklyn's while she drank about 9 of them.  You couldn't even tell she was buzzed.

I don't remember anybody's favorite drink, but I remember Lori liked duck farts.

Lori,  this still makes me laugh!
Photo by Crystal Allen

At one point, Lori lost a lot of weight.  She had a surgery. She did a really good job keeping off the weight.  At that point, doctors had removed her fear and her weight.  I say this with all due respect: that was a lot of baggage she didn't have to carry around with her.  Thanks, science!

Before I left town, Lori told me I shouldn't leave Denver yet.  She said good things were about to happen for me there.  At around that time, I could also see bad things were starting to happen for Lori.  After Mike passed away, Lori changed.  She was just- different. Little things. It used to be I could always get Lori on the phone.  It became harder and harder to get in contact.

We invited Lori to our wedding. My wife's name is Callie, short for Callahan.  I have told Callie a hundred times that Lori Callahan would fit right in with the North Carolina, no-nonsense, sweet, bless your heart, straight-talkin, fiery Callahan ladies.  I wish you had met Callie, Lori!  Callie, I wish you had met Lori.

The last time I tried to call Lori was a couple weeks ago.  For ages, Lori has been booking a show in Gillette, Wyoming.  I used to feature on that gig.  In fact, way back when they used to do two nights and a three-man show, Lori used to book me to emcee that gig!  A couple weeks ago, I headlined it.  I was in Wyoming, by way of Austin, Texas.  Yeah, that is a long, dumb drive.  At the last minute, I picked up Gillette.  Thank goodness!  But Lori didn't book me to do the gig.  TBG did.  TBG had been in contact with Lori.  Somehow, it came up that they had a fall-out in Gillette.  TBG told her I was in the Wyoming area anyway, and pretty soon my feature and I were booked on that one too. Thanks again, TBG, for helping me set me up that show!

Wanting to go directly to the source, to confirm the gig, I called Lori.  However, I never got a hold of her.  Lori didn't have a cell phone anymore.  You could only reach her via her landline, her home phone.  She wasn't answering.  She wasn't answering.  I left a message on her machine.  Hadn't done that in awhile.  An answering machine?  Who has an answering machine?  I knew she was home though, because TBG had just talked to her minutes earlier!  The next time I called, ten minutes later, a man picked up the phone.  He was curt- and a bit rude!  He told me Lori would call me back.  I said I just needed to confirm the gig real quick.  He said she would call me back.  I tried to leave a number.  He said she could get the number off caller ID then call me back.  Lori never called me back.  Now she'll never call me back.

Lori, wherever you are, I know you are not reading my blog.  Duh.  Thank god.  If people have to read blogs in the afterlife, then you need to yell at them for making such a horrible afterlife!

But I wish there was some way to tell you how much you mean to me.  You helped me put food on my table.  You had my back so many times!  We had some good road trips!  We wrote together.  We drove together.  You are my friend.