Comedian Dan Ronan

Saturday June 14th, 2014 – Island Lake, IL

This next post ripped my heart to shreds, and I’m still reeling from the loss:

* * *

Sometimes Facebook is the bearer of bad news. I woke up this morning and was slapped in the face with news that comedian Dan Ronan had died over the weekend. I’m still in shock, and unbelievably saddened.

Dan was a bright young kid that totally ‘had it’. I try to help young comics get a taste of the road life when I can, and I took Dan with me on a trip to Minneapolis in January of 2012. He was unbelievably grateful, and told me he wanted to ‘make me proud’.

He absolutely did, and then some. He was absolutely terrific on stage, and adapted to the situation like a seasoned pro. There was a power outage on one of the shows, and he was on stage with no sound or lights but didn’t panic in the least. He was beyond his years in maturity, and his love for the craft just oozed from him. It was a pleasure to watch.

Off stage, we hung out and he told me of his life and how he got into drugs in high school. He was very up front, and just a very sharp kid all around. We stopped for pizza after our Thursday night show in Eau Claire, WI, and there was a hot blondie waitress that he was smitten with. I flirted with her on his behalf, and got her to come to our table as much as humanly possible.

We laughed about it all the way there and back, and we kept in contact after the week. He was extremely grateful, and I really was impressed with his talent. He had huge potential, and hearing of his death has frozen me in my tracks. I don’t know how old he was, but I know he was not close to 30. What an absolute tragedy, and I still can’t believe it.

Why is life so cruel and unfair? Fidel Castro and Charles Manson are alive, but brilliant creative talents like Dan Ronan are not. If you are a praying type, please send one up for Dan and his family. This is not how life should be, and my heart will be heavy for a long time because of this.

Any day could be our last. Let’s live accordingly.

* * *

It’s been about a week now since this news first hit me, but it’s still tearing me up inside. What a waste, and a major tragedy to lose such a bright talent at such a young age. He was loaded with the rare combination of everything it took to hit the big time, and now none of us will enjoy that.

I had a chance to share some of my knowledge with Dan, and it was an honor to have crossed paths with such a high level of natural talent. While I’m grieving at the loss, it also inspires me to keep on mentoring as many young talents as I can. I know I can help young comedians, and I want to do it.

I don’t know how I can do it the best, but I know that mentoring needs to be a part of my life as long as I will be alive. I revere the memory of my own mentors, and see from my side how much impact they can have whether they know it or not. My mentors live on in me, and I want to reach out to as many as I can and keep paying it forward. Dan’s loss will sting for a long time to come.

Chicago comedian Dan Ronan was one of the brightest young talents I've seen in a long time. His tragic passing at only 24 will lay heavily on my heart forever. What a tragic loss for us all.

Chicago comedian Dan Ronan was one of the brightest young talents I’ve seen in a long time. His tragic passing at only 24 will lay heavily on my heart forever. What a major loss for us all. That kid had all the tools.

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