Jason Chin was an amazing, extremely caring teacher and one of the dorkiest, sweetest fellows on the planet!
I’ve cried so many times during these past few days since learning of his passing. I can’t believe he won’t be leaving any more funny comments on my posts, messaging me about Asia, offering me weird cookies in the hallway, or drinking all those shots I always ended up buying and forcing on him after shows!
I always assumed he’d always be around and that we’d work together in the future.
Whenever I had a question about improv or producing something or anything at all, he was always available and ready to help. When I was careening from life’s little speedbumps he was always there give advice or simply to lend an incredibly sympathetic ear.
Through Jason I felt really connected to the growth of improv as an art form. Del Close was no longer some mythic figure – as his student, Jason had stories to tell about him that could fill volumes and volumes. Yet, Jason was always so humble. I remember laughing at some snarky comment of Craig Uhlir’s and Jason informing me that Craig was his student. POW! Miiiiiiiiind bloooooooooooown!
One of the craziest things about Jason was he was always full of surprises, which looking back at it now, isn’t all that surprising seeing as how he truly lived his life to the fullest! I remember he comped me to go see him this summer, as he was musical director for a silent show that Rance Rizzutto and Deanna Moffitt performed. I was blown away. Not only was I awed by the silent improvisation before me (I had come to the show not expecting much, and I had been emotionally moved in so many directions.), I was also deeply impressed at just how perfect Jason was at picking the right songs to craft the most beautiful scenes.
Jason and I grabbed a drink at Matilda’s afterwards, and had one of the greatest conversations about anything and everything under the sun. It was as the Chinese say: 聊天聊地 – to talk of heaven and talk of earth. He told me about his childhood, his Triad relatives, vegetarian practical jokes, and so much more. When it came to improv, he knew everyone and had been DIRECTLY INVOLVED with EVERYTHING. It blew my mind.
Now, following his moving on to the next plane of existence, I realize he was beautifully giving and open with everyone. God, he was a good soul (and somewhere still is). There was a tribute held at iO on Friday night and the theater was PACKED with people whom Jason had touched. He made us all better. There were so many tears in that place of joy. It was sublime to all process it together.
We talked about doing an improv tour of Asia, especially China. I would have loved to have done that with him some day, and seen his reaction to everything. It would have been wonderful.
I didn’t miss a single class at iO until this last 5B term. I had several murder mystery gigs and an on-camera workshop, so I missed the chance to be there when Jason subbed in. We hadn’t had a good in-person chat in awhile. I regret that. I regret always feeling there would be time in the future and therefore not making time in the present.
In many ways, Jason was like a doting older brother to me. He was such a sweetie. The first time we really talked was when I fractured my radius. I had to wait for my father to drive me home after class, and I was stuck waiting for my dad outside of the old iO building on Clark street. Jason thought it was really cute that I was waiting for my dad and resolved to wait there with me until my daddy came to pick me up. Maybe to make me feel better or to commiserate, Jason told me about his own health concerns, from his gout to feeling depressed. He confided in me that he lived alone and it could be scary when the gout flare ups were bad. I honestly didn’t know what to say or how to handle that truth because it was so candid and so vulnerable to confess. I couldn’t believe he trusted me so much to tell me that. I shied away from it a bit, at a loss for what to say.
I just wish we could hang out one more time and I could tell him how much his honesty, support, and simply his presence really meant to me. Me and everyone else who knew him loved him.
But, we could spend all the rest of our lives preoccupied with what could or should have been. And, in doing so we would miss the whole of the present and the future.
This video clip of Jason performing has been making the rounds. It’s brilliant. If you haven’t, please watch it.
I wish I had a nerdy super hero movie quote to put here to capture my feelings and give adequate closure, but he was the master at that. I watched Guardians of the Galaxy tonight and even parts I normally would have rolled my eyes at, I watched with a new appreciation while thinking of Jason.
My iO class has our graduation show run going on right now. Tomorrow we’re wearing super hero t-shirts for Jason. I got a Batman t-shirt to wear.
RIP, you improv Jedi master! You were more loved than you’ll ever know! And if you’re looking down, you must be smiling. I love you, Jason Chin! ♡♡♡