It’s been a tough week. Mike Enriquez is a friend of mine who (Thursday night) succumbed to cancer after fighting it for a year. He was smart and funny, but I think the word that most of us in the Chicago improv community would use to describe him would be “sweet.” And he was kind and generous with his time, his talent and his presence. I was lucky enough to be his teacher and his friend and then I was even luckier to share the stage with him most recently in the Armando Show at iO Theater where he also taught. The stories he told were fun, funny and moving. He moved to Chicago on a whim years ago and became a respected performer, coach and teacher whose talents in each of those fields were sought out because he was good at them. That may seem like a simple, almost obvious statement, but it is not always true. It is a true statement when applied to Mike Enriquez.
This is a city with millions of people and a business that is cut-throat at its best, but Mike made us laugh and made us love him. And now, his absence makes us cry. I hope this phase is over soon and I will laugh and remember my friend.
You made other people smile and laugh
By sharing yourself and your ideas.
You shared the load and sometimes carried it for us.
When it came time to coach, you exemplified the word by
Not telling us what we wanted, but what we needed to hear.
When it came time to teach, you explained and listened
And helped us find our own way.
My only regret in knowing you is
That it was short. Much too short.
There was a tiny laugh when you spoke as if
The joy could not be contained.
Listening, playing, improvising
You were our teammate, cast member, teacher.
Loving, caring and sharing
You are our friend and brother
and we will miss you.