Last July, doctors told stand-up comedian Quincy Jones he had a year to live after a diagnosis of Stage 4 mesothelioma. Although he immediately began chemotherapy treatment, he didn't take a break from his passion — in fact, he doubled down on it. His ultimate goal was to film an hour-long stand-up show, and with the help of a Kickstarter launched by fellow aspiring comic Nicole Blaine, his story appeared on Ellen's radar, where he eventually appeared to learn that HBO would be airing his special.
Now the first promo for that show, which was taped in April, has appeared. In it, Jones talks candidly about his diagnosis and how cancer has changed him as a person. In the face of incredible adversity, he's fought for his life with humor and grace, inspiring everyone he meets.
"What cancer does is it changes your perspective of things," he explains in the video, later saying, "What I have the ability to do right now is hopefully to inspire people to dig a little deeper and fight a little harder."
Called Quincy Jones: Burning the Light, the special will air on HBO June 2 and takes its name from the light comedians are normally given to wrap up their time onstage. Because doctors gave him a year to live, Burning the Light is an acknowledgement of the signal he's been given for the end of his life, but also an active defiance of it. Jones concedes that the prognosis and subsequent treatment broke him down initially, but, "When you get broken down, it's beautiful, because then you get to rebuild yourself.
"Whether it's cancer, whether it's a breakup, we're all one misstep away from losing it," he says later in the promo. "But you just gotta tighten up, you gotta pull it together ... one day at a time. It took a lot of baby steps to get to this point right here."