Kirk Reeves, 56, the unique Portland, Oregon area entertainer, appeared to have many friends, but the self-proclaimed “trumpet player – very bad and corny comedian” apparently had enough demons in his own life to take his life with a self-inflicted gunshot wound. It was a sad end to a small time entertainer who tried unsuccessfully to make it on to AMERICA’S GOT TALENT, had cable access TV shows, entertained at parties, and performed on the street.
Although in my view, Reeves really wanted to be an entertainer, he had very limited talent, and his comedy was completely without any edge. His comedy was so clean and old fashioned that he sometimes looked like an overgrown Steve Urkel trying out an absurdly corny new act, but woefully unsuccessfully. He looked to be an act that desperately needed some serious management and a writer to be a success. He looked much like a bad children’s TV show host, but without a show.
Reeves managed to land himself on cable TV, moving himself up from mere street performing after controversial cable TV host Jim Spagg was banned from by the local programmers. Jim Spagg was well known for dirty humor, nudity, and finally urinating and defecating on his final cable TV show before banned. Jim Spagg had limited talent as well, but was at least a far funnier man, and with tons more edge. Reeves seemed like nothing but a very disappointing replacement. But, both seemed to woefully unfocused and directionless entertainers. Both really could have used a good writer and some good management skills to hone whatever talents they had into something that could be focused into an act that worked.
On his Facebook page, Reeves did have a few entertainer friends such as Earth, Wind & Fire and Carrot Top. But, even Carrot Top has been able to make a successful shtick out of being a bad comic with many great props, and has had regular Las Vegas hotel show gigs for many years now.
I spoke to Reeves a couple of times. I told him once before that his act needed more edge, it needed to be more hip, but his response was always some corny coin trick that wasn’t good at all, much like some bad relative or uncle would pull. The last time I talked to him, only weeks ago, he didn’t seem to be in most happy mood. He seemed a little bit downbeat and not as much fun.
And as an African American entertainer, Reeves just seemed to be the most square one that I’ve ever seen in my whole life. There was no sense of cool or hip about his style or act. He often looked more like some damn fool in his white suit and Mickey Mouse hat get-up than anything. In fact, he claimed to often get ridicule for this outrageous getup. His attire and act often seemed light years beyond juvenile, yet he was always very intelligent and warm to talk to, always telling you about his ambitions. You wanted to believe. But, you just knew that they just the dreams of someone who was only a very minor entertainer at best.
I think loneness might have been something major in Reeves life as well. I think that he really wanted to meet girls, or at least the right girl, but his act was so uncool by today’s standards that it was hardly any chick magnet.
Like so many people that know Reeves, I really wanted to believe in the guy and see him succeed. But, his act just never got any better than it was, which really wasn’t all that much. I wasn’t really convinced that he was a great musician, and I was even far less convinced that he was a good comic, with very much potential. But, Reeves was a nice man who only wanted to entertain and to make others happy. His soul was pure.
Reeves told me that he planned to make a movie. But, without much to put into a film, how could he fill it. He just didn’t have enough material of any worth to fill such a project like that. It was just another one of his ambitions that just didn’t square with his limited talents as an entertainer.
Reeves was always a brainy kid, who was a nerdy intellectual compared to other kids in the tough Boston neighborhood he came from. He hung around computer clubs at MIT, and worked in the computer industry, but strangely feared that Y2K scare and quit his secure job, only to struggle with failure as an entertainer, and sometimes found himself homeless as a result. He began to develop health problems with diabetes and cataracts, and began to Email friends about being feeling suicidal. His final heartbreaks were when his movie project seemed to be going nowhere and he failed to make it on to AMERICA’S GOT TALENT or SHARK TANK. He claimed that he intended to appear on David Letterman’s show before the year ended. But, that was also just a dream as well.
A week ago, the entertainment ambitions of Kirk Reeves ended forever. By that Sunday, his lifeless body was found at the Smith and Bybee Natural Wetlands area at Marine Drive with a self-inflicted gunshot wound that was fatal. He wanted so much to make people laugh, to feel good. But, his ambitions as a successful entertainer just fell so short of his goals. Yet, he is remembered and loved by so many, including myself. I’m very sad about his death.