Wednesday, May 20, 2009

GayMaryKay Was Way More Than Okay to Me

I received terrible news last week, one of the nicest people I've ever met and one of my biggest supporters in my early comedy career passed away. Ellen Kobor (mostly known as GayMaryKay in the circle of friends we share) passed away after a brief illness. I didn't even know she was sick at all, and had randomly thought to contact her to say hello just two days before I heard the word. Really weird.

GayMaryKay and I took Mike Irwin's stand-up comedy class together in the fall of 2003. She was an incredibly bright and charming lady and I felt comfortable talking to her from the very first day we met. GMK was always so encouraging to everyone else, almost completely selfless in her ways. I'm sure that everyone who knew her at some point has received some little gift or token or tape of their favorite show or comedian from her. Once she even tried to take me out to do karaoke - she knew I loved it. Unfortunately, being the minor that I was, I was not allowed into the place. She felt terrible about it but I was just grateful for her efforts and her company. She got me my first real guest spot, opening for Rich Vos at the old Comedy Works when it was still at the Quality Inn in Glenmont. She contacted the owner and one night I got an e-mail and a call asking me to perform. I got my first show all because she asked and knew that Rich Vos was one of my favorite comedians at the time. When she came to my graduation party, she made it her duty to ensure that I was having a good time by submitting spontaneous songs to the DJ for my friends and I to sing.

When our stand-up teacher, Mike Irwin, became ill and passed away almost a year ago, from what I could see she was always there for his family. At his memorial service she made fantastic collages of pictures from class and his career. GMK was a giver. She lived in Hawaii and worked at Honolulu hospital, and I think she was even a paramedic at one point.

She was also a magnetic personality who dreampt and achieved big. While in Hawaii she became a radio host and that's where she got her start doing comedy. She had many friends, some from all over the globe, which was seen at her wake last Friday. The line was out the door and more than the usual 2 hours were definitely needed.

I'm really going to miss GMK, and I'm disappointed in myself that I didn't stay in touch with her as much as I would have liked. I truly appreciate everything she did for me and I wish I could tell her. Who knows, perhaps she will follow my blog from her own little piece of the Pacific Ocean in the sky. If so, I'd like to say... I miss you and Love & Aloha, GayMaryKay!

For her real published obituary, please click the following link:

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