In just the last year, LA-based stand-up comic Quincy Jones met Ellen Degeneres and performed his own HBO comedy special dubbed Burning the Light. “I was very blessed this year, and I’m definitely aware of it,” says Jones. “Being on Ellen was a privilege and an honor to meet a legend who has literally changed the game. To be on her show and have her look into the camera and say, ‘HBO, let’s give him a special,’ and then for HBO to say ‘Yeah, he’s funny enough to do this, let’s back him.’ It was surreal.”

Jones’ comedy received national attention after he was diagnosed with stage IV mesothelioma, and his friends started a Kickstarter campaign to raise funds for an hour-long TV comedy special. Degeneres and her crew got word of the viral campaign and decided to help the young comic out. Although it’s stunning that a recently diagnosed cancer patient would be traveling to create a comedy special, Jones says, “All this did was make me work harder and dream bigger.”

First pulling inspiration from Chris Rock, Jones has been performing comedy for eight years now. What makes his jokes unique? “I actually write a joke about everything. I try to find the funny in the simple things in life, things that are relatable to everybody regardless of race, background, religion, or gender,” he says. Using observational techniques, Jones appeals to a wide audience and avoids dating his jokes by using topical material or recent events. The mundane and everyday life events are what he finds the most humor in — he even has a joke about bendy straws.

After participating in the 2013 Charleston Comedy Fest, Jones will be returning with his own stand-up show this year, and he can’t wait to munch on some bacon-grease laden, deep-fried Southern delicacies. Oh yeah, and to meet all the comics. He says, “Charleston is a great city with an amazing comedy scene, and the fact that there’s a festival that’s almost Wes Anderson cult style classic, it’s an honor to be a part of. To me, it’s another city, another opportunity to meet interesting people, do comedy, and spread joy.”

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