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By Jef Dinsmore on Jun 5, 2016 to HBO Specials


Dealing with comedy is always subjective but here is this writer’s thoughts on the Quincy Jones comedy special that debuted Thursday, June 02 at 10:00pm and I hope you don’t want to punch me right in the face when I’m done.

Hold up, let me say that it was funny and an entertaining treat on an otherwise boring Thursday night, but it was flawed. Upon watching the comic’s hour I checked many of a review only to discover no one had anything negative to say. What? Was I missing something? After further pondering I deduced that I didn’t think so. All I’m saying is that as comics go he needed a little polishing is all.

Listen, I understand the whole situation. The special was good at explaining all that regarding the DeGeneres show, his health, his Bucket List wish and the Kickstarter funding. I share the feelings right alongside everyone else who wished him well on his dream and what may or may not come next. I am super glad he was able to accomplish his dream of an HBO Comedy Special.

However, I think that he would want people to be as brutally honest and candidly open as he is about the issues; I think he’d respect that. So, his special was slightly flawed. Quincy Jones has some great observations about society and life in his set and a real good rapport with talking with the audience, at least the front row. What he didn’t have is a polished act that you see from big name pros onstage. His transitions between bits wasn’t smooth and the tone of his voice was often too soft to be heard. At one point the applause/laughter drowned him out. If he had offered a crisper delivery the whole way through his set, them it would have been awesome.

QuincyJonesComedySpecialBut, having now stated the negative points I can follow them up with the statement that I didn’t really care in the end that it wasn’t perfect. It was real, it was Quincy Jones and I am happy to have met him on that stage. He used his terminal cancer as fodder for some of his jokes, like his uncomfortableness around broaching a long-term relationship and how we can relate to pregnant women because of his bouts of chemo. But, he did not use cancer as an excuse to pity or feel sorry for him. Her states early in his gig that he was not going to play the “cancer card” and he didn’t. He didn’t even mention his doctor visits, his diagnosis, or even what type of cancer he has. (It happens to be Mesothelioma or cancer brought on from asbestos.)

The ironic thing is I think the audience and reviewers did use it. Hell, he got a standing ovation at the start of BURNING THE LIGHT before he even said a word. I saw it as empathy right from the get-go. Were reviewers, or at least the ones I read, not willing to dis him because of his circumstance? That is playing the “cancer card” and he wouldn’t play it and neither should we.

So, with that, I say keep up the good fight Quincy Jones! Which reminds me to say something about the special’s title. “Burning the light” refers to the light viewable from the stage that comes on to tell the comedian to wrap up their set. A performer will try to push past that warning to get in a few more killer jokes and end strong and doing so means “burning the light.” Well for Quincy Jones the nasty cancer has popped on that light and he is “burning past it.”  Quincy, I support you and I hope and pray you have plenty of time left to refine your comedic talent.

Check out the HBO Comedy Special QUINCY JONES: BURNING THE LIGHT now airing.  

  • Mr. Postman

    I was at the taping. The reason why we gave him a standing ovation before he said anything is because of editing trickery. After the show was over, the director came out and told us to pretend it was the beginning of the special and do a standing o so they could put it in the beginning. Quincy came out and pretended to start the show. We did two takes. Also, Quincy’s voice was weak for obvious reasons. He was an incredibly energetic performer before he got sick.

    • Jef Dinsmore

      Hey, thanks for that insight. That leads me to the thought that I hate when Hollywood manipulates like that, though that is what the industry does all the time. Faking the show’s opening like that is lame in my book.

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