Jane and John Marlatt. Photo credit to Terry DebonoPhoto Credit: Terry Debono.

The Moonshine Comedy Jam is CANCELLED.

I have to tell you that is rare. Outside of COVID, we may have have had to cancel three times … in fifteen years.

Fifteen years with John Marlatt, the club’s owner.

And our friend.

Our friend passed away late Sunday or early Monday morning if you want to be technical about it. It doesn’t matter when. He’s gone. And it’s a crushing blow to the artistic community of Oakville.

John was both self-proclaimed curmudgeon and formidable community pillar. Literally, he was holding up the lot of us rag tag non profits with estimable talents but lesstimable finances. He helped us at Oakville Improv immeasurably, as we built up our bearings and community legs. He put us out there, and promoted our shows in his emails, and calendars. He told people about us. And they came. Most recently selling out every house. Because we’re funny, yeah. But John was our rock. It was John and Jane’s venue that kept us coming back to practice and finesse skills and talents. It was The Moonshine that gave us the stage and the microphones to be heard.

John laughed hard at our comedic successes. He laughed at our big failures, too (in a good natured “that stunk up the stage” kind of way). He gave people the same bar order, the same cheek, and the same gruff “get out of here with your coffee” voice. He was consistent. He had integrity. He was true to himself.

He was an avid fan of anybody who put themselves out there and tried. He loved music. He loved good comedy — no matter who was doing it. If you made him laugh, it was huge. If he shouted from the back, it was a challenge.

He slogged in the beer kegs and he BBQd when you needed a burger. He lifted more than he should have and he hauled even more than we saw. He ran a loyal staff who loved him — in a way that only John could be loved.

His wife, Jane, was so good to us, and in turn was JOHN’s pillar. So for her, we ask that you hold Jane in your heart. Hold her up. And James who worked bar for us for so long. And the rest of his children and grandchildren, family and friends. Mighty love  in that family. They were loved by John and they loved him, back. Without being showy, their fierce family vibe was intense and overwhelming. We wish them, all of John’s family, Alex, and his loyal staff and the family of Moonshine friends, our deepest condolences.

Goodnight, John.

Cheers, and thank you for fifteen years we had together.