Joe Bodolai, a former Saturday Night Live writer and producer for Kids in the Hall who also wrote the first draft of the Wayne’s World movie with Mike Myers, was found dead in a Los Angeles hotel on Monday. TMZ reported that cleaning crews and police found him with antifreeze and Gatorade, and suspected his death was a suicide. Bodolai was 63.
Bodolai went on a writing spree on Twitter on Dec. 23-24, and on his own WordPress blog, titled his final entry on Dec. 23: “IF THIS WERE Y0UR LAST DAY ALIVE WHAT WOULD YOU DO?”
I’m reprinting it here, without comment.
IF THIS WERE Y0UR LAST DAY ALIVE WHAT WOULD YOU DO?December 23, 2011
By Joe Bodolai
Bacon, eggs, vagina. Oh sure, there’s more…
Things I Think Will Happen Next Year
- Sales of Mayan Calendars up for 2012, drop for 2013.
- Martial Law in the USA, first probably in Louisiana
- Depression greater than that of the 30’S
- More wars for Israel, our rulers. Probably Syria soon.
- War with Iran (!) for Israel may trigger WW3 conflict with Russia
- World Supply of Band Names will run out
- Americans will go along with this, but resisters will be FEMA camped.
- America the one I loved, the one my dad fought for on Omaha Beach on D-DAY, the man who helped take out the machine guns on the cliff, won’t be alive to see young men wearing uniforms and BE the enemy he fought.
- Fascism will be America. It already is. Simple definition: When government rules over corporations, that’s socialism. When corporations use government that, my friends, is fascism.
- Foreign troops may likely be used in popular insurrections.
- Snooki will have another “book”.
Stuff I Would Like to Have Seen In My Life
- Truth about 9-11. THREE buildings went down that day. Building 7 wasn’t even hit.
- Indians winning a World Series (OK, not so bad since my Jays won two in a row!)
- Browns winning a Super Bowl
- Truth about the JFK murder
- Young people mobilizing for change instead of watching E!
- USA not being Israel’s puppet bully.
- An American awards show being half as good as mine. Or, basically, getting a chance here. I can run a show. I can create a show.
- All those new girls I like naked liking me as much as I liked them
- Living in Paris or New York again
Things I Regret
- My inability to conquer my alcoholism
- The things I did because of it
- Leaving Canada
- Moving to Los Angeles
- Not fighting harder or making a better deal to stay with The Comedy Network I helped create
- Not being able to live up to the helping hand so many wonderful people offered me
- The hurt I caused in my family, friends, and maybe even strangers.
- That I am no longer able to withstand any more of life’s pain
- Most of all, the pain I have caused and am now causing my sons and the love of my life, my ex-wife Bianca, my love and connection with her is infinite
- The fact I will never get to repay the love and generosity you all deserve
Things I am Proud Of.
Or Just My Life When I was Really Alive, or just a point form autobiography
(In chronological order, not in order of priority. You decide that.)
- My two sons, who have grown into graceful, intelligent, strong, handsome, creative and loving young men.
- My twenty some years with the greatest love of my life, Bianca. I caused her pain, exasperation, but we also shared love, joy, and an indescribable special unique language of the heart that only we spoke. The greatest gift anyone could ever have. I love her in the words that really trivialize the words “I love you.” She defined that emotion for me and made my life worth living. If there is a loving god, she was my blessing.
- Never being unfaithful to any woman I was with. Although close. Very close. You know who you are ladies. Except you alluring strangers. Sorry. Phew.
- Helping my mom to read and write English after my dad died when I was ten
- Asking my priest “Can God Make Something Heavier Than He Can Lift?” Please read this:https://wp.me/pKBYM-dP
- 1600 on my SATs and got into a good college, Allegheny in Meadville, PA a 90 minute drive. (Also got accepted to Yale, Amherst, and Johns Hopkins but couldn’t afford the travel or probably the parking fees.)
- Resisting the Vietnam War with daily activism, action, writing, demonstrating, traveling to Washington, tear gas, etc.
- Campaigning for Robert Kennedy, then feeling the shock of his murder]
- Leaving America and going to Paris after that
- All the 24/7 sex I had on the trip by ten days at sea (292 girls on board, three guys, seriously. Girlfriends all over France for the next year. Learned French.)
- Becoming involved with Parisian students in 1968 in a wider cultural movement, learning how to silkscreen posters. Getting hit by a flic’s rubber coated lead baton
- Deciding to return to university, going to Cambridge, talking my way in to King’s College (had the transcripts, the grades, and crushed the interview.)
- Being in the wings at Footlights and getting one line in a sketch. Python legacy. Had no idea how huge they were a year later. John effin’ Cleese!
- The idyllic but ivory tower wonder seeming evil after watching the Chicago 1968 Convention and deciding to leave for the real world and back to the fight. No more punting on the Cam to Grantchester and reading Rupert Brooke as I floated back.
- Transferring to the University of Manchester, home of the RSSF (Revolutionary Socialists Students Federation), a working class city with a “redbrick” instead of the prestige of Cambridge and a huge activist student base.
- My Art History Tutor, Alastair Smith, becoming Curator at the National Gallery in London and taking classes with him in our tutorial group (just four of us) by train every Monday to London to walk through the gallery with him. Seeing original Piero della Francesca’s fingerprints on the canvas. Wow.
- Returning to the US and becoming a very prominent small town anti-war activist. Then leaving for Canada as a draft resister, not “dodger”. (Dick Cheney and George Bush are dodgers. I resisted. I was wanted by the FBI.).
- Becoming one of the first video artists in the world, as SONY gave me and a few other artists the world’s first portable video camera and recorders. (Heavy backpacks, reel to reel, cameras bigger than today’s catered lunches.)
- Showing my work (comedy videos) at the AGO, New York, Museé d’art Contemporain in Paris, etc.
- Ted Kennedy intervening in my case to drop charges due to illegal activities by the FBI and CIA against me. (Long story. Very interesting and relevant today.)
- Helping bring Major League Baseball to Toronto by helping start the Toronto Blue Jays as first Publicity Information Director. Fifth person hired. Set Major League record for most attendance by first year expansion team despite 107 losses. Huge fun.
- Moving to New York to work for Warner Bros. in development. Reading a script and at 11:00 at night calling my head of production to send it over in a cab saying “Read this! It’s so greenlight if this goes it is to win Best Picture and if not it’s the best screenplay I’ve read since I’ve been here. Read it tonight Diane.” It was Kramer vs. Kramer. We lost it to Paramount. I was right though. (There is likely more informed info on this story but this was just my experience with it.)
- Being told by Jean Doumanian that I wasn’t “funny enough to write for SNL but you’re spoken of highly. Can you type?” Notes on a script shown to me by another writer: “make it funnier.” (This is background for the famous article in The New Yorker.
- Writing for SNL after Lorne sacked her. (Huge long story here. I discuss this on a podcast and more. Please listen: https://www.blogtalkradio.com/crobama/2011/08/13/joe-bodolai
- SNL. Wow, what fun. Wish I had been more ready for it as I was very alternative. So I was assigned to work with Andy Warhol on his few videos for the show. I could write a lot about this. The glorious Rosie Shuster is more than I can describe. The lightning of her mind, the warm comfort of her enormous heart was a gift from a god that only exists when I think of people like her and my friends like you.
- Becoming a very very minor “co-owner” of the Utica Blue Sox in the New York-Penn League with an unaffiliated independent team and winning the championship in like 1983. Spent the summer in low level minor league ball. Amazing fun. Real owners were Van Schley, Bill Murray, John Alexander and the bogus Roger Kahn. Long story here about this guy. Missed the whole story, wrote a book. Total fiction. What a loss. Reality was so much more.
- Coming back to Canada and working with the wonderful John Brunton, whose friendship and talent I have missed for so many years. Great hilarious speech at my wedding.
- Creating “It’s Only Rock ‘n Roll!” and winning a Gemini and launching Mike Myers as Wayne and pretty much opening the door for his amazing talent.
- Lorne asking me to produce Kids in the Hall. Long story here. He didn’t tell me that HBO was going to cancel the show after the first season. I kept it alive. Honest to god. The cast and crew had no idea what I did and I didn’t either. It would not have gone to season two had I not become the me I loved. Thinking on my feet in the breakfast meeting in the HBO boardroom with Bridget Potter. The Kids have no idea. Ask John Blanchard, who was there but probably will not get what I did. I saved his job too. I fuckin’ kicked ass.
- Writing the first draft of Wayne’s World with Mike Myers. I kinda knew our draft was really a second movie, not an expository first reveal, but my heart wanted him to find his voice. He sure did. (The second movie? Nothing to do with me. Wow, did it suck.)
- My Gemini Awards. I was a writer on the first, and then produced the four highest rated shows in the history of the show. I made them comedy shows. I made news anchors do sketches. I produced the best awards shows in Canada and can kick the shit out of the worse shit they do here.
- Comics! 115 episodes, eight seasons. Designed to unleash Canadian comedy on TV. After I took the job, offered by Sandra Faire, I was asked “how are you going to find 13 comics to do a whole series?”
- I changed the concept Sandra presented me. Instead of a documentary/reality model I said “no, don’t take cameras into clubs. Let me stage performances on a set so it looks like people would pay $50 to be there and use the b-roll budget for whatever they want to express.” It worked. When we finally got into prime time, we were over a million an episode. That’s huge.
- CBC wanted to cancel the show, which originally was buried at 11:00 and no promo. Sandra called me to give me the news. I said, “no fucking way. This is the future of Canadian comedy development.” I went into George Anthony’s office, Sandra on the couch behind me not saying a word, and I demanded that they recognize that for the little money the show cost the benefits are your entire comedy development/talent budget on a shoestring.
- I was on fire.
- I won.
- Now I had a greater mission. I wanted a channel. I felt the huge failure of comedy, such as sitcoms, on Canadian television, could only be successful if showrunners were comedy writers, not Telefilm form fillers. This is one of the proudest accomplishments I have seen come true. Mark Farrell, Brent Butt, so many more of you….
- I remember believing in Mark and teaching him silly things like “pencil not pen. Change pages? Turn the upper right corner…” Knew he was the guy.
- Ivan Fecan asked me to help him go for the CRTC bid for a comedy channel. I was fired up like you can’t believe. Made a horrible handshake deal with a guy I worked with on radio in the 70’s.
- We won. I kicked ass at the CRTC. Video here. We showed this to the CRTC. Game was over.
- Then surreality happened. My handshake disappeared. I got offered a deal my lawyer described as “they want you to walk away. This is an insult.” I objected. The next day they hired Ed Robinson. I like Ed, but…
- So I was fucked. All those years, all that good faith, and now nothing? I had offers in LA, but didn’t want to do that. I love Canada. I love Canadian comedy, the POV, the sweet pomegranate seal meat mixture of it, the lack of mean with the Robin Hood arrows, and now I created the opportunity I dreamed about… gone?
- By the way, most comics thought of me as a “CBC executive” rather than as a colleague fighting for us in the room. It’s okay. I did all right. I may not do standup or like one of you, but my mission was a lot bigger than jokes then. I hope I served you well.
- I moved to LA as it seemed I was totally fucked by Canadian television. So…. did some great work as a “show doctor” on helping people with their pilots and sales tapes with a great company called LaunchPad. I got to work with Ryan Seacrest and Ray Romano and others. I kept an NBC strip daytime reality series on the air by just basically taking over and taking their material and re-visioning it.
- Then the two guys who owned the company split up, before Christmas. As the guy who left was on my side of the equation (creative not promos) I ended up losing at least a year of work. I can’t cut promos. I’m just not a fit for that. I loved working with writers on their shows.
- Meeting and working with the amazing gift from the comedy god that is Sarah Hyland, the funniest woman on earth. Going to her home in Louisville for Christmas and taping (yeah, remember tape?) and shooting with her and her wonderful real life character Gail, her mum. Please watch my wonderful truly improvised videos with her athttps://youtube.com/qualityshows
- The gorgeosity that is Cherie. No words here. She did save my life for real in a psychic connection we have that would just make you think we are crazier than we are. We were a very odd duo. Wow though, so different me and this girly girl is one of the most beautiful women on earth. Love Unlikely actually.
- So look at Canadian television comedy today. Showrunners are becoming more and more comedy writers or performers. You need to keep the fight against formfillers as “producers.” Canadian TV? It’s still fucked up with no promos, no other industry support that can compete with the money assault of US media. Only faith in the quality and morality of it has a chance. Every Canadian comedy show is probably doomed by money. Hence, I created Comics! as a throw the dice and see who will step up. I think I am so proud of helping liberate comedy talent. Russell, you hearing me?
- Look at the list of people whose first break on TV and faith in their creative genius I believed in. Wow. I am so proud. Mark Farrell was the first Comics! we taped. I gave first TV appearances to Russell Peters on three different shows (!)as well. Ron James was there but now he has a show. Anna Gustafson sent me a tape from Lund, B.C. and now she is living her life. Bonnie McFarlane. Her podcast is so amazing you must get on this. It’s called “Bonnie and Vos” or something. I’d probably not want to be married to him either but she’s from Cold Lake, Alberta so funny obnoxious controlling Jews are probably what is down in her pants. Get on this podcast people!
- (I remember Bonnie’s Comics! episode where she wanted to do a new set and couldn’t remember it. So nervous. I said. “It’s just tape. Keep it in your pocket. If you take it out, we can edit it out. The audience will love you more knowing that you work, you write, just let them know this.” She forgot her set. We used it in her episode. One of the great cool unusual moments in a comedy performance ever. “Okay people, I forgot my set.” Pulls the paper from her tight back pocket jeans and the audience is like me. In love. Applause break. Especially since her comedy then was so dangerously dark at surprising moments mixed with observational okaycharmingness and then an anexoria joke. And she had the t-shirt, jeans, no boobage enhancement. At least I got them to brush her gorgeous hair.
- Cold Lake. Bonnie, you should tell Rich that’s the name of your pussy on your amazingly great podcast.
- I’m proud of my life. Not how I lived it. How some of the things I did maybe are more okay than the things people who don’t have my life did awful things.
- I feel so proud of you all. I am so proud of having worked to do some of the following things:
- Raised money and worked for Mercy Corps, IRC, OxFam, NRDC. We need to do more. Please people, look them up. Help.
- Bristol Bay is a chemical Chernobyl we cannot let happen. Please go to NRDC for info.
- “IF YOU DON’T LIKE GAY MARRIAGE, TELL STRAIGHT COUPLES TO STOP HAVING GAY BABIES!”
- Helped HRC with the huge campaign to win marriage equality in New York. That went viral but not mine. Just know it helped me work on some GOP support that helped. Wow, what a Friday night that was. June 24.
- So many long-suffering people. I watched a video of a mother carrying her dead infant searching for water. Somalia. MercyCorps field worker showed me. Somalia.
- SOMALIA AND DOWNTOWN LA
- THAT WAS A TIME OUT FOR TEARS. I heard the girl’s voice on the video. She was carrying her dead child. Carrying her dead baby. God, if you exist, you are fucking evil so you treat your people on earth like this?
- Tell me the difference between god and the devil.
- I don’t believe in a “loving God.” I perhaps believe in one sick superfuck evil.
- I don’t know what more visions of hell I can see, but my life seems to be providing them.
- The shelter I am volunteering in may be my new home. I call it “Shawshank Summer Camp.” 65 men on cots in one big space where sleep is victimhood.
- … and a Happy New Year.
I don’t need replies or comments or anything. I need to feel the good that I did and whatever good I have ever done for you is enough for me. May you all have the happy lives you deserve. Thank you all for being in my life.