Comic Relief (for comics)
ATTENTION YOUNG, BROKE L.A COMICS! I’m giving away 75% of my clothing! When I was starting out in comedy roughly 50 years ago, one of my good friends, Bobby Lee, had just finished his first year on Mad TV and was moving to a nicer apartment. He was getting rid of trash bags full of clothing and he invited me over to pick through what I wanted to keep for myself and then take the rest to various clothing resellers and keep the money I made. 10 or 15 shirts fit me perfectly thanks to the steady diet of Wheat Thins and Subway 6 in subs I was on at the time. The jeans were a no go because Bobby was 3ft 8in so I sold those to a vintage store that catered to babies and bridge trolls. I was super pumped on the shirts though because I was still wearing old high school clothing from Millers Outpost and Pac Sun.
I felt a new sense of confidence when I put on my RVCA shirts and Flaming Lips concert tee. Selling the extra clothing made me a few hundred dollars, which at the time was like winning a Powerball jackpot. Bobby figured as much because he was a stylish guy who knew his hip clothing would yield a solid return. Another thing Bobby knew was he routinely sleeps until 7PM so there’s no way he would’ve done it himself unless a 24 hour vintage reseller opened up inside his bedroom. Nevertheless, it was an incredibly thoughtful and selfless act.
After thanking Bobby for the 200th time, he finally pulled me aside at The Comedy Store and said, “Nick, lesson not just karate only. Lesson for whole life. Whole life have balance. Everything be better.” I didn’t understand what that meant at the time, but after seeing how Bobby continued helping more and more younger comics without ever asking anything in return it became clear. He was trying to tell me through that thick, unintelligible North Korean accent that one day we all should help in any way we can big or small.
Bobby has long since faded into obscurity; his whereabouts a complete mystery to the many former cast members of Mad TV who went on to achieve success beyond their wildest dreams. Even Bobby’s brother Steve, a very successful podcaster/musician is unable to locate him. There are rumors Bobby went back home to work for the Kim Jong Un regime as a court jester. One thing is certain though; Bobby’s willingness to help younger comics and support the comedy community as a whole was always one of his many redeeming, well, one of his few redeeming… all right who are we kidding, his one and only redeeming quality.
Comedy is a long, hard road and when you’re first starting out even the smallest gestures like free clothes, buying an opener a meal, your first feature set on the road way before you’re ready, a recommendation to an agent or just saying a few uplifting words after a long week of terrible open mics can make a whole world of difference. So, in Bobby Lee’s memory, I invite anyone who wants some cool , free t-shirts, jackets, sweaters, jeans, hats and more to reach out and we’ll set something up.