As most of you have heard, Nashville comedian and former School of Laughs student Brian E. Kiley died at the hands of a drunk driver last weekend. He had just worked with John Reep (of Last Comic Standing fame) who he had opened for several times on the road before.
Brian started in the classes in January 2007 with a really special group of folks. He was the kind of student I really enjoy. He actually did all of his homework, re-wrote jokes, e-mailed and called me for insight, etc., As a teacher/mentor I knew all of my tips would be at least listened to and explored. I’m definitely not always right, but Brian took advice and tested it. Making his adjustments and making it work.
When I wanted to teach a Business of Comedy class, Brian taught me how to put together a Power Point. When I had new writing classes start, Brian was one of several former students who were always game to volunteer their time to help me get them their nametags, workbooks, etc., so I could focus on getting class started.
More than once he made notes to give to me to help make the classes better. He constantly was providing encouragement and guidance to new students and open mic comics as well.
He had been over to my house, met my family and remembered my kid’s names. He helped my wife organize a 40th Birthday roast for me at Zanies that was really special.
We worked several shows together outside of Zanies. He was getting better and better on stage every time I saw him. He could kick off a show with great energy and could keep a show going just as well. I’m sure over time he would have continued to grow, learn and worked his way up the comedy ladder.
I can’t explain how bad I feel for his family – a recent marriage that came with a daughter that he just adored. I felt partially responsible for his fate, having helped him get started in comedy. He wouldn’t have been out that late, on that road, that day if he had stayed home and just kept to his day job. We all know that accidents like this can happen at any time to anyone. I just wish it wouldn’t have happened to Brian.
What I do know is that in the short amount of time that he devoted to comedy he made a ton of friends, entertained a lot of strangers and gave everything 110%. Brian will be missed by many, and I think if there is any bright spot in this tragic ending, it’s that he always had a positive attitude in a sometime dark profession.
Brian left the stage for the last time Saturday. But I believe his memory will be around for quite awhile to come.
Funeral services are set for Saturday February 23 at the Church of Jesus Christ of Latterday Saints
107 Twin Hills Drive, Madison, TN 37115
Visitation will be 12:00 – 1:00 PM, Service at 1:00 PM.
Burial will follow at Christ Church Memorial Gardens 15354 Old Hickory Blvd Nashville 37211