Comedian Quincy Jones is living proof that dreams really do come true, no matter the circumstance.
The 32-year-old comic will premiere his HBO comedy special “Burning The Light,” on June 2. Initially launched as a Kickstarter initiative, Jones' campaign to launch the comedy show went viral following his March appearance on “The Ellen DeGeneres Show.” He discussed his diagnosis with Stage 4 mesothelioma cancer and outlined his mission to raise money to film a comedy special while on the daytime television program.
A week following his appearance, on March 21, Jones returned to "Ellen" where Ellen DeGeneres presented him with the news that HBO had agreed to broadcast the hour-long special.
The surprise announcement led the comedian to immediately write material in time for his April 4 taping of the special at the Teragram Ballroom in Los Angeles, California, according to Jones.
“We put the hour together to make it smooth in two weeks,” Jones told HuffPost in reference to creating the special. “Once we announced it, I was on the road and had to get to work. I had to submit the jokes for approval to make sure HBO approved it and they liked it. Luckily, I got it right the first go round, then I had to structure the jokes. So it really just more so me just doing the work that I normally wouldn’t do, which is just perform.”
Jones went on to add that the special’s title is derived from a comedic phrase for people who are going over their set time, which is something that he plans to do with his life.
Since receiving his prognosis in summer 2015, which at the time he said he was informed that he would only have one year to live, the Seattle-native said he changed his perspective on life. It also helped him with his approach to comedy by allowing him to make light of darker issues and gave his style of comedy “a little more substance” than before.
As for his upcoming special, Jones said he decided to address topics dealing with race, gay marriage, social media and cancer. The latter, being a subject he was a bit apprehensive to address.
“At first there was a debate as to whether I should or if I wasn’t going to address it,” he said. “But I figured since everyone was going to be there for me that night to support, and it wasn’t gonna be awkward for me to talk about cancer, I figured it was just a good thing to do just to address the elephant in the room.”
But his past decision to omit discussing the disease in front of audiences for his normal stand-up routines is something that he doesn’t want people to focus on during his performances. “I really don’t address it, because I don’t want to give the cancer too much power,” he said. “I don’t want people to look at it as ‘oh, he has cancer,’ then you start getting the ‘awes’ and the pities and you sort of soothe the crowd’s feeling for you. I just want to go up there and be funny and have people enjoy theirselves, and provide a good time and then get off stage. And that’s what I like to do.”
With his goal to headline and executive produce a televised comedy special accomplished, Jones has already begun writing the treatment for a follow-up special in-between ongoing performances across the country and attending chemotherapy every three weeks.
Aside from the comedian pursuing his dreams and raising cancer awareness through his affiliation with the American Cancer Research Alliance, Jones said he wants to continue building his legacy through his work.
“The thing about legacy is that you’re never around to see it anyways. So for me it doesn’t matter what my legacy is, I just hope while I’m here now people look at me and draw inspiration," he added.
"I’m hopefully able to inspire and instill a work ethic for comedians or a passion for people who have cancer and they can realize that cancer doesn’t have to get to the quality of their living. That’s all I’m trying to do is be funny and hopefully spread the message of positivity and hard work.”
Quincy Jones’ HBO comedy special “Burning The Light” premieres on June 2 at 10 p.m. E. Check out a sneak peek of the special in the clip below.