Enrico Colangeli/Instagram; GP/Star Max/GC Images
Friends, family members and fans gathered at the Ha Ha Comedy Club in North Hollywood on Wednesday night to honor late comedians Fuquan "Fu" Johnson and Enrico Colangeli, who died earlier this month after a suspected accidental group fentanyl overdose.
"I respected these guys so much," club owner Jack Assadourian Jr. told the crowd, which included Marlon Wayans and sister Cara. "They left their homes in Boston and New Jersey to chase their dream. They had no family here but they made family. We're here right now. We're their family. Both of them, I know their dark secrets and I know their good secrets. They were such good people. They were always there for you."
Assadourian remembered meeting Colangeli, 48, at the club after the Massachusetts native came from Boston to L.A. and lived in his van "with no windows and a mattress in the back" while pursuing his comedy dream.
"These guys, they were so loved by so many and they were in such a dark, dark place," Assadourian continued. "And I wish we could have done something different."
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Colangeli's girlfriend Laurie said she "couldn't even express how sad" she felt after learning about his Sep. 4 death. The suspected group overdose at a party in Venice, California also killed Colangeli and Johnson's friend Natalie Williamson, and landed comedian Kate Quigley in the hospital. Quigley — the only survivor — continues to recover after being released from the hospital.
"Rico had so many things [left] to do," Laurie said. "So many more things he wanted to do and he was so enthusiastic about just everything. He had so many ideas,, and when he talked about his friends like Jack and Fu, there was just so much love toward all of them."
Colangeli's cousin Jon said comedy fed the late comic's soul. "This was his passion. He loved being here. It was nothing about money. It was never about that," Jon said. "He just wanted to be a part of this scene, and I can't thank Jack and his parents enough because they made his dream come true."
Jon thanked the crowd for welcoming Colangeli into the L.A. comedy scene. "I love all of you guys for accepting him because that's such a big deal to him," he said. "You have no idea how much this meant to him."
Cara Wayans, 34, shared that she considered Johnson, 42, a brother.
"Fu was really special to me, as he was to everyone else," she said. "I don't really have funny stories. I have stories of him showing up for me in ways that only a brother would. I called him often to move things for me or put things together for me. He would ask me for advice about girls. He would always call me and FaceTime me with different women he was dating. I guess he wanted me to meet them."
"I'm just going to miss him a lot," she added. "It really hurts that he's never going to meet my son. It's really tragic what happened."
If you or someone you know is struggling with addiction, please contact the SAMHSA substance abuse helpline at 1-800-662-HELP.