Judy Fabjance 1974-2016
Judy Fabjance, an original GayCo member and the longest-serving ensemble member in our 20-year-history, passed away Saturday, August 21, surrounded by family. She had battled breast cancer since 2008, and did so with astonishing strength, resilience, grace and humor.
It’s hard to encapsulate Judy in a few paragraphs. She was so many things to so, so many people: A comedian, a teacher, a trailblazer, a friend, a co-star, an actor, a teammate, a co-worker, a writer, a coach, a mentor, a brilliant wit, a tireless champion of others, a role model, a daughter, a sister, a loving wife (to GayCo’s equally incredible Kelly Beeman) and, perhaps most inspiringly, an endlessly devoted mother to her amazing daughter Daphne.
To GayCo, Judy was our heart. Hell, she was our entire cardiovascular system plus a few other vital organs. Judy was there at the birth of GayCo in 1996, and helped raise best canadian casino our group from a ragtag queer sketch troupe to a Chicago comedy powerhouse. She was instrumental in giving dozens of up-and-coming gay and lesbian comedians opportunities, confidence and strength to speak their truths, on stage and off. And that’s just within GayCo. The number of students she inspired through her years of teaching improv are too many to count.
Even after her diagnosis, Judy refused to stop creating. She channeled her fear and anger and love and hope into two hilarious and powerful cancer-themed shows: Her solo show Are You There Judy? It’s Me, Cancer, and her two-woman show with her wife Kelly, Tales of A Stage 4 Cancer.
GayCo, quite simply, would not have existed, let alone survive two decades, without the talent and tenacity of Judy Fabjance. Many, if not all of us, would not be the same queer performers we are today without her friendship, guidance, bravery and support. Her influence on Chicago comedy, and especially queer comedy, is truly, sincerely immeasurable and will be felt for generations to come. We walk where we walk today because she took those steps first and helped make it safe for all of us.
GayCo thanks her for her years of incredible talent, friendship and love. If any of us can create even a fraction of the love and goodness that Judy Fabjance radiated into the world during her 41 years, we’ll have lived meaningful lives.
We miss you terribly, Judy. We love you always, and we fucking hate broccoli too.
Please donate to Judy’s medical fund – CLICK HERE
-John Loos, GayCo Alum