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March 11, 2014

Comedy: Tim Wilson — A fond farewell to a Louisville classic

Tim Wilson fancied himself a “singer/songwriter/philosopher,” but he was so much more. He was a comedian, an entertainer, a father, a husband, a friend and an all-around decent human being.

On Feb. 26, the comedy world lost a lion when Wilson passed away. Comedians around the country, from Lewis Black to Ron White, took to Twitter to somberly break the news and mourn the loss of their friend. Friends were not something Wilson was short on; if he knew you, you were his friend, and you were going to get the same sparkling smile, firm handshake and moment of undivided attention he gave to everyone else fortunate enough to cross his rather broad path.

He was not someone I personally knew well, but I was a fan of his work and will miss his presence in the Louisville comedy scene. So it feels appropriate to turn it over to his friends and colleagues to reflect on a funny, funny man.

Will Hardesty (comedian): “The thing that always struck me about Tim was how he embraced his Southern heritage while simultaneously moving beyond it. Tim sought out people different from himself; that his first wife was an Israeli citizen and his second wife African-American wasn’t a coincidence. It was Tim only being comfortable outside his comfort zone. It’s a remarkable irony that the most conservative person I called a friend was more open to disagreement than I am.”

Tim Northern (comedian): “Tim was a dilettante of the highest order. He was honest and warm. My life and career are better for having known him. He will be missed by this humble comedian.”

Steve Hofstetter (comedian/co-owner of the Laughing Derby): “The ultimate testament to how beloved Tim was was not the amount of tickets he sold in his life or the amount of empty stages he left in his death. It was the shock and the loss the comedy community felt. That is Tim’s true legacy.”

Alex Reymundo (comedian): “I can’t think of one time I was around Tim that we didn’t share a drink, genuine talk and some smiles. When I think of him being gone, I think, ‘Way too soon, too many unwritten songs, too many logical Southern perspectives of how ridiculous life can be that we won’t enjoy.’ My prayers are with his wife and children, for they mourn the most. Tim Wilson was a good man, a kind human being and a comedy legend.”

Tom Sobel (former owner of Comedy Caravan): “On the Sunday after the 1995 Kentucky Derby, the club was, as usual, sold out for Tim’s 8 p.m. show. After a storm blew through around 4:30, we lost all power. When it wasn’t back by show time, rather than disappoint (over 250 people), Tim took a bar stool and did 75 minutes on the sidewalk in front of the club for the delighted people standing in our parking lot. Talk about a classy guy … Like so many others, I’ll miss him.”

Brett Sohl (writer/comedian): Tim Wilson a true pro. No matter the crowd size, day of week or if it was his third show that day, he gave 100 percent every performance. He genuinely cared about giving his fans a great a show. After his shows when he sold CDs, he would take the time to talk to each person and sign those CDs personally. He was a friend to everyone. Tim had strong opinions on most things but was a man who would listen to and respect your opinion as well. As the stage manager of Comedy Caravan, I had the pleasure of working with Tim for many, many years, and I will miss him. He was gone too soon.