[UPDATE, VIDEO] Comedian Jacy Catlin’s House and Work Go Up in Flames
the family is safe after the frigid blaze, and a GoFundMe page is set up for recovery donations
[UPDATED TUESDAY, FEB. 16]: Chippewa Valley-based comedian Jacy Catlin posted this video walkthrough of his fire-gutted house on Facebook. It’s filled with humor, pathos, and some completely understandable profanity.
“One thing they never teach you in school is what to do when your house turns into a cave,” Catlin tells the camera as he observes the smoke-stained icicles hanging from his kitchen ceiling and sticking out from atop a table. “I’m guessing that most of the time when your house turns into a cave, you just get the stalactites. You need a special set of (expletive) circumstances to get the stalagmites.”
At one point as he explores the gutted home, Catlin offers this deadpan: “Oh by the way, there’s a good chance I’m about to film my own death.” Spoiler alert: Catlin and his family are OK, but their home obviously isn’t. Below, you’ll find to a link to their GoFundMe page if you feel moved to help them.
Chippewa Valley comedian and artist Jacy Catlin and his family are safe after a devastating fire resulted in a total loss of their house near Fairchild over the weekend. A GoFundMe recovery campaign has been set up to recoup some of their losses here in the dead of winter.
Catlin is perhaps best known for his goofy, one-of-a-kind, hand-drawn T-shirts he sells over at SPROTS.ORG, where he Sharpies strange and hilarious non-sequiturs on plain tees for his rabid online following all over the world. But that really just scratches the surface of his personality, character, and work. When he’s not sending up cringe, Facebook-aunt memes on Laughapalooza or mining otherworldly correspondence with social media account managers in private messages to brands like Arby’s and Skippy Peanut Butter, he’s making absurd short videos on Instagram (and before that, Vine). And there’s more, still – tangibly and intangibly – to his wholly unique comedy and persona. He was a fixture at the Eaux Claires festival a few years ago, and made a video for their “For Wisconsin” voting initiative last fall about the importance of rural internet access.
Catlin lives a quiet, rural life here in the Valley, making a career and business on the internet from home with his partner Kelly Hendzel and their two daughters. But last weekend’s fire took everything. All of their possessions, all of his inventory of T-shirts, everything.
“Most of our belongings are likely destroyed ...” he wrote in a post on Instagram. “All of my writing, drawings, video footage, guitars, amps, the monkey skull necklace I got in Burma, 30 years of records and media collecting are likely gone.”
“Our house was the coolest house I have ever been in in my entire life,” he added.
It’s an unfathomable challenge to put out a fire in subzero temperatures, but the Osseo Rural Fire Department was there on the scene to do the best they could. Photos posted to the department’s Facebook page show helmets and gear encased in ice and long icicles all over the wreckage. Catlin himself posted a chilling video the next day on Instagram walking through the house surveying the damage. Luckily, the family is insured, but this kind of loss stings for one of the great hidden talents of the Chippewa Valley.
To contribute to the family’s GoFundMe page, go here.