Brian Baron might not have started his comedy career until middle age, but he managed to touch the hearts of many stand-up comedians in New York City over the past decade. The city’s young and up-and-coming comics all knew of Baron, as he hosted open mics, and he also made old comedians feel young again.
Baron died on March 18, barely more than a month after first getting diagnosed with stage 4 esophageal and gastric cancers. He was 63.
Originally from Huntington, NY, he went south to Florida to study business at Jacksonville University, where he graduated in 1980. He didn’t make his switch to comedy Facebook official until 2009.
If you didn’t see Baron hanging around outside the Grisly Pear on MacDougal Street, smoking/vaping and sporting a fedora, or on a summer day on the softball field playing with other comedians, then you could always find him at the HKL open mic (Hugs, Kisses, Laughs), which he co-hosted with Mo Vida.
Vida wrote in remembrance: “Brian and I spent many hours in the basement of Klimat. We bickered like a married couple and talked shit like teenage girls. He’d drive me back to my hood-which he didn’t have to. We would hang at the Pear talking shop and laughing about the bullshit that life hands us. He would show up first at my Orphan Christmas so he could get plenty of stuffed cabbage. He had hopes and dreams. He was immensely proud of his son. He was full of vitality. He and I shared a similar sense of humor – especially about relationships. So Brian… I’m saying this in your good ear… I love you. I will forever miss you. You were a staple of our community and will not be forgotten.”
Here’s a set he got on tape from 2016, recorded at MNN Studios in NYC. Rest in Peace, Brian.