Jent "J Medicine Hat" Monk
September 21, 1960 - August 13th, 2012
In late 1982, J. Medicine Hat attended his first live comedy show in Sioux City, Iowa. Half way through that show, he knew exactly what he wanted to do with his life. While he continued to support his family by working at the local slaughter house, he sought out area comedy clubs and became a regular at their open mic nights. His success soon lead to paying gigs at comedy clubs throughout the Midwest.
By 1987, J said goodbye to the slaughter house, and comedy became his full time job. After being named Showtime's Funniest Man in Iowa, J. was spotted by a talent scout from Star Search and two weeks later made his television debut. At the Star Search audition, he was signed as an opening act for the Stray Cats' summer tour. This tour lead to opening gigs for Jerry Seinfield, Dennis Miller, Sam Kinison, Roseanne Barr, The Beach Boys, Fabulous Thunderbirds and the late, great Stevie Ray Vaughn. While not on the road, J had a popular morning radio show in Sioux City.
In 1994, J was booked as an opening act for a hypnotist. Half way through that show, he knew exactly what he wanted to do with his comedy life. By merging stand up comedy and hypnosis, J knew he would have something unique to offer audiences. He invested all the money he had in the world into learning the art of stage hypnosis. A mere ten days later, J performed his first hypno comedy show. The success of that very first show, was like pouring gasoline on a fire. J Medicine Hat was unstoppable. College students all over the country flocked to see these “rock-n-roll hypnosis” shows. He also honed his skills performing at corporate evenst and fundraisers. His reputation for exceptional shows, soon opened the door to headlining at A-list comedy clubs.
Sixteen years later, J was a top draw in the Funny Bone chain, performing at their clubs throughout the country. He was consistently the top producing performer on the stage in ticket, food and beverage sales. His act produces a loyal following, which allows him to hold the record for most shows in a single room by one comedian at 1200 shows. J was very thankful and grateful for all his blessings, and he was committed to giving back. He held an annual toy drive for the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation, which produces donations from clubs all over the country. He was also in the process of establishing a scholarship to assist Native American students with their college expenses.
I am pleased to report that the Celebration of Life Ceremony at Dial and Dudley Funeral Home in Bryant Arkansas on 8/21/12 went very well. We laughed, we cried, we honored the times each of us had the privilege of sharing with Jent. A photo show of Jent's time with us, from infant to adulthood, and music played in the background started the service. It is amazing how things happen during crises; the music was what Jent requested. I found a notebook where he had written instructions and wishes in the event of his death.
The meaning of the medicine wheel was explained, as it appeared on the back of the program and a Lakota Prayer was read. I am grateful that I was able to speak, although a few times I was not sure I could continue. Several individuals spoke of their experiences with Jent and we all laughed and cried. The Native Traditions of mourning for three days, the name not spoken for one year, and then the gifting ceremony was explained. A star quilt was gifted, feathers, drums, sage, sweet grass, copal and one stated that Jent could not be without tobacco. The pastor who spoke at my mother's funeral gave the eulogy and prayer. At the end of the service, several came forward and also gifted from the Native herbs and frankincense resin which were provided for everyone.
As usual, things did not go without a hitch. We started a little late since there was an automobile accident involving a neighbor and the fire truck came. Thankfully no one was injured. Some of the music was played at the wrong time, or stopped and started; some of the photos did not come out as well as hoped on the big screens.
I had to smile and think about what He would have done during his shows. It was humorous; I felt he was messing with me knowing I don't speak publically. Just letting me know some of what he had to deal with.
Overall it was a good service. Individuals expressed their joy of having known Jent and the sorrow they felt, for we all have lost a great man and father. He leaves us with a Huge Void.
As you may know, the J Medicine Hat Memorial Fund has been set up at Summit Bank, 1800 Military Rd, Benton, Arkansas 72015. There has been some question regarding his charity work at the Pine Ridge Reservation. I have talked with Lash LaRue and we agreed the memorial fund would be the best way to continue Jent's gifting back. It is my commitment to continue the work Jent was so passionate about. A local golf course has offered to hold an annual golf tournament in his honor to raise funds for this purpose.
I would like to thank everyone for the support you have provided me and the family through this most difficult time. Your cards, phone calls, text, online signing of the guest book and sharing of your memories help comfort us all. He was Loved so much by All.
Please check with your local comedy club for scheduled tributes to J. If you know of any, please email details click here.
J Medicine Hat Memorial Service
Celebration of Life in Boise
Virginia Beach Funny Bone
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