Troy Baxley is a comedian's comedian. "He's a brilliant comic; everything that comes out of his mouth is fucking hilarious," says fellow Denver standup comic Heather Snow. "People know him from coming up -- Ben Roy, Adam Cayton-Holland. All of those guys started in rooms that Troy started. He's like a Denver legend."
One of the rooms he started is now infamous: Baxley's open mic night at Lion's Lair was created as a place for comics to get a taste of the road. He knew how tough it was to step into a bar full of people who didn't care if someone was on stage telling jokes or not, and he wanted his fellow comics to get the necessary training to go out there and kill it.
But now, the man who aided the careers of so many local comedians needs help himself.
A few weeks ago, Baxley was at a gas station filling up his car when he passed out at the pump. Next thing he knew, he was in the hospital having blood drained off of his brain. He was later discharged, but had to be brought back after his roommate and fellow comedian, Steve Gastineau, found him passed out again.
Turns out that Baxley was suffering from something called mild brain bleed -- though Snow says it was anything but mild. "They had to cut open his brain and clean out the blood, essentially."
Although Baxley is recovering, he is unable to work. He is insured, but his daily living expenses -- which are usually taken care of by his gigs as a full-time comic -- are adding up. Snow says Baxley is fighting hard for his own recovery, but his memory and speech issues make it tough for him to do everyday tasks. He also tires easily and isn't able to drive. He needs help.
So she and a group of Denver comics, including Nora Lynch and Phil Palisoul, have created the website Troy Baxley's Brain and a crowd-funding campaign designed to collect $10,000. And on Sunday, August 24, they'll host Brain Aid, a massive comedy hour and fundraiser, at 3 Kings. Snow, Lynch, Cayton-Holland, Roy, Sam Tallent and more than a dozen others will donate their stage time to helping out a friend. All proceeds from the show will go directly to Baxley's care.
"You can go anywhere and someone will say, 'I met this crazy guy from Denver -- his name was Troy Baxley,' says Snow. "Everyone knows him; I don't know why he's not famous. I wouldn't be surprised that if after this, he blows up. He's just so funny, and he is such a great guy who has done so much for so many people. For him to ask for people's help is an unusual thing."
Brain Aid: A Benefit for Troy Baxley's Brain goes down at 6 p.m. this Sunday, August 24 at 3 Kings Tavern. In addition to comedic and musical performances, there will be a silent auction in the basement of the venue. To donate goods or services to the auction, email firstname.lastname@example.org. For a full list of performers or to find out more about this benefit, visit the event's Facebook page; to donate directly, visit the Troy Baxley crowd-funding campaign page.
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