Tom Murrin, a/k/a The Alien Comic, RIP

Categories: Nightlife

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Tom Murrin has passed away after struggling with cancer.

Tom was one of the bright lights of the performance scene for years, best known as the Alien Comic, a wackily absurdist funnyman who combined trash-pail chic with deadpan humor to startling effect.

Born in Hollywood, Tom went on to become a La MaMa playwright and then a co-founder of "Balloon Theater," "Dwarf Theater" (which didn't get in your way), and "Trash Theater," which used discarded objects, as Tom did when -- in one of his more vivid incarnations -- he called himself Tom Trash.

Yes, he loved being called Trash!

"I'm not afraid to look ridiculous," Tom once told me, and he did so when showing his stuff at various performance spaces like 8 B.C. and Chandelier, which flourished during the '80s lust for performance-art mania.

I even managed to get him booked on a cable talk show when they were looking for downtown entertainment to illustrate the kind of irrepressible creative spirit I was there to talk about.

They didn't know what to make of it! Score!

Says Mickey Boardman, from Paper magazine -- which Tom wrote for -- "He really and truly was a world-class freak and the sweetest guy ever!"

He's surely looking for trash-pail objects in the sky right now and entertaining all the right people.



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13 comments
Abschwar
Abschwar

I saw Tom Murrin, the Alien Comic, when I lived in the East Village in the 1980s (and maybe the 90s), at PS 122. He was like nothing I'd ever seen. Funny in a quirky way, sweet, manic, and always mind-expanding.

In 1995 I moved from NYC to Indiana, and from time to time I thought about the Alien Comic and occasionally checked him out on the Internet. I was reminded of Murrin when I watched the biopic about Andy Kaufman, "Man in the Moon." One of the bonus features included an interview with Jim Carrey, who said that when Kaufman was doing his act, there was no one else doing that kind of mind-blowing comedy.

Wrong! Tom Murrin was doing it before Andy Kaufman--and far better. Murrin was truly not ready for prime time, I guess because middle America wouldn't know what to make of him. How could you characterize his act? He was no fool either--before performing he had been an attorney.

I'm saddened to hear he's gone. My condolences to his family.

Adam SchwartzBloomington, Indiana

Musto
Musto

An informal wake will take place on Sunday, March 18 from 5-7pm in the garden of St. Marks Church in-the-Bowery. A larger memorial is planned around the full moon of May or June.

Timmee
Timmee

I'm devastated that Tom is gone. He was truly one of the nicest people in the Downtown theater scene. Completely supportive of new talent. And not a jaded bone in his body. I directed a reading of his 1969 play Cock Strong for Peculiar Works Project at the Ohio a few years ago. My conservative Irish Catholic parents from Scranton made it in for the afternoon performance. Given that this was a sexually explicit, completely nonlinear piece of Ridiculous Theater absurdity, I was a bit nervous about their reaction, to say the least. Tom completely charmed them, put them at ease, and they fell madly in love with him on the spot. AND they adored his play. RIP, dear man.

Fred Kahl
Fred Kahl

I am so saddened by this! Tom was an amazing talent with the best possible energy. He was a real New York treasure and will forever be an inspiration! Long Live the Alien Comic!

Merylmoo
Merylmoo

I was supposed to meet him at the Actor's Fund last week.  I'm so sorry that he passed away

anywalsh
anywalsh

The friendliest person on the block.  Loved you TOM Trash.  

Timmmyk
Timmmyk

Saw him @ Jackie 60. A Classic.

Bobby Miller
Bobby Miller

Tom was a great guy, so sweet and funny and always supportive. I miss him already. RIP Legend.

Mr Mickey
Mr Mickey

Thanks Michael for a sweet tribute to one a really unique NYC legend!

Judes
Judes

So sad. He was a sweetheart. 

Libi
Libi

I don't know him, but he sounds major. RIP, dear prince.

rolph
rolph

Oh, no!!!!! I loved him!!!!! Used to see him perform at 8 BC.

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