The day the buzz died
It’s a dangerous time to be famous. With the recent deaths of Michael Jackson, Farrah Fawcett, Ed McMahon, Karl Malden and David Carradine, fans can hardly keep up with the tabloid memorial onslaught. Celebrities are dropping like flies all over Hollywood, and now the curse has come to Sacramento. Literally. Francois Fly is dead.
Sacramento’s own insect stand-up comedian, born in France in 1972 as Francis Flykowski, expired on the Crest Theatre stage last Saturday night during the opening ceremonies of the ninth annual Trash Film Orgy. Though shocking, his death did not come as a surprise; the average housefly only lives 15 to 20 days, and Francois’ last ones had been bitter.
Sources close to the fly say a myriad of problems—failure to progress past the opening round of Last Comic Standing in 2008, a bitter maggot custody battle, persistent allegations that he’d mated with a female fly who’d yet to pupate—contributed to his decline.
An anonymous associate admitted Francois had been huffing Raid. “His last days weren’t pretty, and we’re talking about a guy who normally eats poo.”
Francois’ fans hoped hosting this year’s Trash Film Orgy would be a turning point for the fly. Francois co-founded the B-movie festival in 2001, but later severed ties, citing personality conflicts with Crest Theatre manager Evil Sid Heberger.
Trash Film Orgy co-founder Christy Savage seemed optimistic about the fly’s return. “We’ve got enough bug spray to keep him high all the time,” she said. “Oh, and we got him some fly girls.”
Francois rehearsed all week with a new band, Les Buzztones, featuring the Riff Randals’ Heather and Kortnee Randal. Their musical debut was to precede that night’s movie, 1980s sci-fi spectacle Flash Gordon. Hundreds of fans turned up to witness the event.
The moment Francois took the stage, it was obvious something was wrong. He staggered toward the edge and puked over the side. He sang haphazardly before collapsing and begging for a spoon to collect his vomit. His unprofessional behavior drew the wrath of Evil Sid, brandishing a fly swatter. There was a scuffle, and a swat, and Francois was no more. Carnivorous hillbillies carried off the corpse before an autopsy could determine the cause of death.
Organizers insist the Trash Film Orgy will continue despite Francois’ demise. There are five more weeks of Saturday night spectacles, including a Buffy the Vampire Slayer prom on August 1 and this weekend’s double bill of Satan’s Cheerleaders and the Trash Film Orgy original short Cheerleaders From Hell.
In the tradition of great celebrity deaths since Elvis, rumors abound that Francois might have faked his death. “I know from experience that Francois dying is never a guarantee that he won’t be there next week,” said Francois’ close friend and fellow stand-up comedian Keith Lowell Jensen. “I’m not saying he will, either. Things could get quite confusing this year.”