Wednesday, December 22, 2010


I learned this morning that one of the mainstays of Montreal comedy died last night of a heart attack. Jocko Alston was a consistently solid comic whom I first met at a gig at Stogies when I was just starting out. He'd been well established on the scene for a while already, and as was the case with so many of this city's veterans, he was friendly and inviting and put me at ease in that new and often unforgiving profession that is show biz.

Upon hearing of his death, my first reaction was to think of the Wiggles (stay with me, there's a reason). Like me, Jocko was a relatively new father, and a great one to chat with about kid stuff. When last we spoke, Jocko told me how he was taking his daughter, Presley, to the Wiggles concert at the Bell Centre. I immediately tracked down tickets for my family and ended up enjoying a fun-filled evening not only watching the band and watching my kids watch the band, but scanning the floor section/slash/mosh pit for a bald black head shimmy-shaking away. I think I saw about eight of them. I looked forward to asking him which of those heads was his the next time I saw him, and comparing notes on the show in general.

Now we'll never get to have that conversation. A trivial first thought to have when hearing such bad news, sure, but that's life and death for you. It's the little "nevers" like that that make you miss a person when they're gone. Especially when that person was always positive, kind-hearted, and a great guy to work with and to laugh with.

My deepest condolences to Claire, Presley and all the many other friends and loved ones of Jocko, not just "a funny bald negro" but a very good man.