I haven’t written about my friend Bill Young’s death yet due to a few things happening in, well, life. And, I just couldn’t yet. I couldn’t process another friend dying. Another comedian.
Bill died in the wee hours of the morning on Dec. 12. Just hours after many of us went to go see Gus one more time, lying in his coffin. The next morning, I was having a work date at a coffee shop with some girlfriends when I got the news from a friend via Facebook IM. I stumbled down Lyndale Avenue sobbing and screaming. Literally. I’m sure I scared some natives.
Just at the very beginning moment of our community accepting that Gus Lynch was gone, we lost Bill Young.
Bill Young, by the way, said about Gus after his passing, “Gus Lynch was a contentious motherfucker.” Not untrue, bless our Gus. But that’s definitely not something you can say about Bill. As it was made clear by the… couple hundred people? at Bill’s memorial last Thursday (I was a mess just thinking about how I had seen so many of the same people just a week earlier in the same situation for a different person), Bill was deeply loved and admired and will be greatly missed. Here’s the perfect tribute to Bill from his best friend, fellow comedian Mike Brody.
I feel like I got to know Bill best through social media and his fantastic blog, Young Notions. It is a really wonderful example of how freaking funny Bill Young was. My very favorite entry was this one about flossing. Warning: it ends with Bill being “dead,” if that’s something you’re sensitive to, but it’s seriously so fucking funny.
For a little while, I lived down the street from Bill and my friend/his wife Jena (they divorced earlier this year), so I would stop by and say hi once in a blue moon for whiskey lemonades and a chat. Sometimes I’d be out front on the stoop at my place, and Bill would be on a walk during his endeavors to be healthier, and he’d stop and chat with me for a moment. And I’d inevitably invite him in for a smoke. He accepted once or twice.
One time he made me cookies too. That was a few years ago. And he drunkenly tried to kiss me after I gave him a ride home one night. It was funny and sweet, though he was pretty embarrassed. It was one of those “we’re hugging goodbye, but we’re not on the same page re: hug release.”
Bill was an amazingly talented comedian and he was a kind, kind soul. I remember him having my back on a few occasions, whether on Facebook, or when I needed a ride somewhere.
Watching the funniest assholes I know cry is heartbreaking. Through the deaths of these two friends, I am growing closer to my comedy friends, and our relationships are growing deeper. I will be forever thankful for that. I wish it could have happened without the sacrifice of these two pillars of the Twin Cities comedy community.
Travel safe, Bill!! You did, in fact, save us all.