One of my best friends passed away last night. I could spend days writing “Ed Hill stories”. I have a million. The world has lost a hilarious, gregarious, wonderful person.
Ed Hill was a good man. I am very fortunate to have been his friend since the mid-90’s. And since I have the platform here, allow me a few moments to eulogize my friend.
In a very real way, Ed is partially responsible for CTMQ (and many other good things in my life). Like me, Ed liked to watch bad TV and to write. He and I started and stopped a few blogs back in the late 90’s/early 00’s when blogs were just beginning to gain traction. I don’t even remember them all, but I remember them being funny. At least Ed’s were always funny.
When the seminal TV blog TVGasm approached me to write for them, Ed was ecstatic – for me. This was the big time! And really, it kind of was. TVGasm was groundbreaking in many ways – and also infinitely funnier and more intelligent than the other television criticism humor sites and blogs that came along. Shortly after I began contributing (under a pseudonym), Ed joined the ranks as well.
Together, we were the East Coast team, as the site’s creators and owners were in Los Angeles. We had actual “fans” of our writing. We loved making people laugh. There was one particular reader/commenter named “The Svan.” The Svan hated everything and everyone, but he liked what I wrote. Ed and I decided that we’d write for Svan and not the 10’s of thousands of other readers. It became a thing for us – getting a positive comment from “The Svan” was like winning the lottery.
Ed would LOVE that I mentioned The Svan on this page. I’m laughing at what his reaction would be right now.
After a couple years at TVGasm, the site was bought out and Ed and I moved on. I had just become a father, so the timing was right anyway. I couldn’t be a responsible parent while obsessing over my TiVo’s (a gift from Ed, by the way) freeze frame of some idiot’s goofy expression on Big Brother. (Ed owned a “Free Kaysar” button.)
Ed started up a sort of rival site to TVGasm that had some mild success. But it was at that time, in the fall of 2006, that Ed and I came up with idea for CTMQ. I had no idea it would grow into what it is, but Ed helped me pursue the idea.
We originally planned to do this whole massive site together, and while this bit of CTMQ history is pretty much unknown, it is important to me. We had really only done comedic writing, and the whole idea for this site was to make it funny and sarcastic.
The very first official post on CTMQ was a visit to our state’s largest tree: The Pinchot Sycamore in Simsbury. I just re-read it and smiled at the “Mark Linn-Baker Sycamore” joke. That was Ed. The king of random “inside” referential jokes. The first few posts written for CTMQ are rife with them.
We quickly realized that our schedules would make a true joint-effort impossible. But Ed does appear in several of the first posts and early museums. One that still gets lots of traffic is the Witch’s Dungeon Classic Movie Museum in Bristol. What a night that was! (If you haven’t read that post, you should.)
I will never forget… How cold we were and how absurd that entire night was. And how, upon returning to my house HOURS later than anticipated, we simply couldn’t find the words to tell my wife what we just endured. There we were, two grown men, incapacitated by fits of laughter. It was one of those, “I could only have done this with EdHill” type things.
We shared many of those.
That post wasn’t the last one we did together, but it is the last one that retains that sort of TVGasm attitude and flavor. I’ve thought to change it over the years, but nah, I’m keeping it as-is. For Ed.
Ed encouraged my writing early on and celebrated my mild successes, even after he moved to Washington DC. His support and friendship was always genuine and meaningful to me. If I could get a guy obsessed with Sherlock Holmes and Star Wars to read about my trip to a children’s museum in Connecticut, I was doing something right.
Ed was fortunate enough to marry a beautiful, incredible woman. Jess was Ed’s champion. She was everything to him, and she made Ed into an even better person. Her determination and support over the last nine months of Ed’s esophageal cancer has been beautiful and resolute. She fought this thing with a single-minded determination like I’ve never seen before. The best doctors from John’s Hopkins and in DC were on the case. Unfortunately, despite all of that, the cancer won.
Ed texted me last week to simply say, “Blood work is bad. I don’t have much time left.” Ed did his best to prepare his friends for today. While we’re still emotionally devastated, I know why he sent that text and I love him for it. I wish I had the chance to say thank you.
I’ll leave you with one last Ed story: Over the last 9 months, I’ve made it down to DC to visit with Ed a few times. I wasn’t visiting a dying man – I was visiting a man living his life to its fullest potential. We joked, we laughed… and yes, we cried. But here’s the thing: I’d have visited more often, but was thwarted a few times because he was “busy”.
No, not with hospital visits or chemotherapy recovery periods… Busy with other friends and family visiting from afar. His social calendar was full! That’s Ed, friend to everyone, still making me laugh as I write this through the tears.
To Jess and the Hill family – We love you always.
Betty saysMay 2, 2016 at 12:05 pm
What a beautiful tribute to Ed. Thanks for sharing.
Jenny O'Donnell saysMay 2, 2016 at 12:08 pm
EDHILL, EDHILL, EDHILL!!!! May it resound from all the treetops and bars for years to come. Peace
larry saysMay 2, 2016 at 12:38 pm
this is beyond suck. ed’s passing, not your writing. he will be missed.
Joe F. saysMay 2, 2016 at 12:46 pm
Thanks for this Steve. Not enough good things to say about Ed.
Dee saysMay 2, 2016 at 12:53 pm
I am beyond sad. I am so lucky to have been in EdHill’s light. <3
Laura saysMay 2, 2016 at 2:54 pm
A lovely tribute.
Amy saysMay 2, 2016 at 6:30 pm
This was perfect. It made me laugh whileu heart hurts. Well done.
Amy saysMay 2, 2016 at 6:31 pm
Theron saysMay 9, 2016 at 9:09 am
Steve – I didn’t know that whole history of your and Ed’s blogging. You captured and reminded me so much of Ed’s humor in this. Thank you. Ed inspired me for a brief moment to blog, but mine sucked and I was not nearly as dedicated as you are. Still, he was the one reader.