It has been almost two years since Brandon Cubas passed away. It has been hard to think about and hard to talk about. Today will be the third year that improv friends in and around the “nameless!” community get together and perform a memorial show to honor his memory. I have finally built up enough courage to write about Cubas on here and try to capture what he meant to us all and how he changed my life. The story is full of silliness, tears, and joy.

brandon-cubas-nameless-comedyBack around the year 2000, I was attempting to date a girl that Cubas was also trying to date. And I saw him leaving her apartment as I was arriving or vice versa. It was a little awkward, but I didn’t think much of it, that is until he started showing up at our weekly “nameless!” improv comedy show on the campus of Southeastern Louisiana University. My first thought was…. Its’s that MOTHER FUCKER! Well I got to know him as an enthusiastic audience member and he was just so awesome, funny, and witty, that it was never an issue that we were trying to date the same girl.

At the end of the following summer, “nameless!” got offered a show and only two cast members were available to perform. I was scrambling to find another performer, so I got in touch with Cubas and asked if I could come over and talk to him about the show. He said I could come over, but told me to pick him up at a specific mile marker on the interstate headed towards Amite, LA. A seemingly odd request, but he lived on the other side of the fence next to the interstate and felt it was easier for him to hop over the fence and guide me to his house rather than have me get lost navigating the back roads of this small Louisiana city. At the time I had a silver Miata and was blaring the Mission Impossible theme when I picked him up, he seemed to get a kick out of that because he would always tell everyone how funny he thought it was.

So Cubas, Chad P., Marcy Jarreau, and I did the show. Cubas was amazing, he had such a talent for performing that I went ahead and asked him to join the cast and perform at our weekly shows in Hammond. Well, this caused a bit of a problem. Improv actors can be like cats sometimes, they don’t like playing with other cats that they don’t know well. The cast gave me a lot of shit for letting him join the show and decided to make him audition. The amazing this is, he auditioned and he blew everyone away, the cast loved him and was totally cool him joining the show.

We become very close friends working together, often hanging out until the wee hours of the morning. Cubas and I had a very emotional and high intensity friendship. One thing about Cubas that was remarkable was how talented he was, he could draw anything, play keyboard by ear, do amazing things with multimedia, he was a highly talented actor, and the list goes on. This of course is one reason we were all so heartbroken when he died, he had just started to break into the film industry as an extra in American Horror Story and some other projects.

About three months before he died, he called me at 3am. I had not talked to him in a while and he wanted to get some things off his chest. He apologized for somethings that had to do with our friendship from many years before, he didn’t have to, but he did. We talked for over two hours. Over the years I have known him he has made many really good hip hop songs and over the years I have asked him many times if he would collaborate on a hip hop album, and he always said no. Until the last conversation we had, I asked him like I always did expecting a no, and he said let me know the beats and songs you want to use and I will send them over, and he did. He even helped me out with a few other projects I was scrambling to finish. He conveyed that he was at the top of his game and felt at one with himself, another reason we were all so heartbroken when he died.

I was actually at a “nameless!” comedy rehearsal in 2014 when I got a call from Casey Saba telling me Cubas had just died. I cried like a baby. Even the New York cast was saddened. When we started doing shows in Jamestown, NY, Cubas was very supportive and when our cast member Sam Abbott got diagnosed with brain cancer, Cubas would check on him saying things like, “Us nameless homies got to stick together.”

first-cubas-mrmorial-show-nameless-coemdy

First memorial show for Cubas. Pictured: Christopher James Jenkins, Wade Kerr, Joel T. Sutton, Dennis Thomas, Lindsey Ehricht, Trey Lagan, Conor McGibboney, Casey Saba, Rachael Johnson, Jacob Zeringue, Chad Pierce, and David Prejeant got cut off at the top.

The original cast members of “nameless!” as well as cast members of other improv shows he worked on decided to get together and do a memorial show in his honor. In his passing he helped us all rekindle our friendships and love of the creative arts. But the thing about someone like Cubas is that they never really die, they become legend.

We also lost Ms. Kay Files (I will share some awesome things about her another time), which was one of the theater teachers at SLU and so tonight is the 3rd Annual Cubas & Kay Files Memorial Show. Tonight at 7pm we honor people who have inspired us along the way and we share great friendships on the stage. To night we all come together as The Avengers of Improv!