The Force Will Be With You, Justin Macumber. Always.

This week, we decided to delay our previously scheduled format until next week, as a member of The Hollywood Outsider family has passed on. We did not feel it appropriate to air a normal show, given the circumstances, so instead Aaron and Scott sit down to share their thoughts on the loss of a founding member of the show. We conclude with a respectfully edited re-airing of Justin Macumber’s farewell episode, and we encourage you to dive into his collection of booksarticles, and listen to his numerous previous HO episodes or his Dead Robots’ Society podcast.

If you would like to donate to Justin Macumber​’s preferred charity, he was an avid animal lover, and those donations can be made to his favorite local animal services charity: http://www.faastexas.org/about1

As you listen to this episode, several of our hosts also wanted to share their thoughts on Justin with his audience. You can find those below.

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John

My experiences with Justin started as a listener of the Hollywood Outsider. He was the voice that I loved disagreeing with…but most often he made me crazy when I had to agree with him. His insights and appreciation for pop culture helped make the show what it is today. It was a pleasure and an honor to share the few episodes I could with him. A great wealth of knowledge has been lost, fare thee well Justin.

Brian

My involvement with The Hollywood Outsider has afforded me countless unique experiences, laughs, and friendships over the years. One of those treasures was Justin Macumber. (My God, he would never let me forget that compliment lol).

If there was one thing Justin and I were guaranteed to have a good time doing together, it was making Aaron frustrated. We would finish the pre-show greetings and sound checks. Everybody’s ready to get started. All’s quiet. Aaron would inhale and then…

“UTINNI!!!”

The Star Wars sound bite that would trip up Aaron’s focus enough to the point of having to do multiple retakes. It never quit being funny (even though Aaron would say otherwise). Justin’s cackling laughter always made it worth the cost of whatever eye rolling I could feel Aaron sending my way. His honest laughs were so infectious that you could not help but join in and I knew comedy gold was struck when I heard that loud laugh.

Things weren’t always fun and games. There were heated moments for sure. There were times I would feel like FedEx-ing a throat punch to him. As with any family, you have your ups and downs. The Hollywood Outsiders are no different. But by the end of the night, there was usually a priceless and hilarious discussion that never seemed to get recorded. He was always in the middle of it – if not leading it. And a “goodnight” to everybody that sometimes included a “love you guys”.

It’s hard to believe I write this having spent hundreds of hours with Justin, yet never even had lunch with him in person. That’s one of the interesting things about the time we live in. You can have a meaningful bond with someone you’ve never physically met. We got to see him chase his dream of being a published author. Consoled him as he worried about his wife’s own health scare. Shared Christmas gifts with one another. And now he’s gone. It’s not fair.

We’ll never get to hear his squeaky chair; hear him softly sing “It’s Been Awhile” anytime that phrase was said; or introduce himself with his own theme music again. And that is a hole that’ll never be filled (that’s what she said *wink*).

We love you.

We miss you.

Farewell, my friend.

Aaron

Many years ago, we were putting together a podcast to talk about entertainment, and we needed a voice. Someone distinct, insightful, contemplative, occasionally combative, and passionate. Scott knew a fella who had already established himself in the podcast community with his show catering to writers, and his name was Justin Macumber.

With Brian in the mix, we all clicked almost instantly, each of us taking swipes at each other’s tastes, and often Justin and I specifically would engage in heated debates that would ultimately end in no winner declared, but everyone listening laughing hysterically. Or ironically. One of those. The truth of the matter is, there were times we each probably wanted to lock each other in the LOST hatch, but more times than not, we were smiling and over it in minutes. We are both very passionate about the things we love, and as a person who loves a good debate, Justin was always a stellar sparring partner.

Along the way, he also became a friend. He loved to tell me when I was wrong, and no topic was off limits. I recall once we even had a hefty argument over my parenting choices, which in hindsight was pretty hilarious because of how ridiculously inappropriate his advice was. At the same time, there were numerous instances where Justin and his “so left he’s leaning sideways” manner helped me see sides to a subject I never would have considered, had he not persisted in only that way he can.

We ended up bonding over numerous interests, and we even did a few side projects together. Those efforts led directly to my friendships with Troy, Wayne, Darrell, and many others. Looking back, it’s amazing to think of the many branches a single relationship leads to. It all culminated in a trip to SXSW where we spent 5 days together watching movies and having a lifetime of experiences.

Over the past two years, I have witnessed his hardships and struggles, and the impact they took on both his body and his unwavering soul. Even things he loved with every fiber of his being – Krista, Star Wars, Superman, his books – ceased being everyday topics of discussion. For a man so in love with dreams and the limitless possibilities in the stars, life’s harsh realities were taking a toll.

I have been trying to put the words together to express what it means to lose a friend you have public discussions with every week, but too many of you already know. Over the past day, such an amazing arsenal of support in every corner of the internet has popped up, reminding those who knew him who he was, and those who didn’t what they missed.

But unlike so many of our friends and family who have passed, Justin is not lost to the ether. He has left an indelible mark on his community of fans in numerous forms. Between his work on Dead Robots Society and The Hollywood Outsider, his passionate voice can live on. With his many published books, his vision, words, and artistic drive can live on. And with the family, friends, and fans he has left behind, his memory will live on.

Even though he doesn’t believe in an afterlife, I pray there is one. So he can look down and see all of this praise, because you know he would absolutely love it. I also want him to read this and know that I was so looking forward to him healing and coming back for another episode, debating with vigor those things we each love. I will miss having that sparring partner. But mostly, I want him to see that I finally used his stupid Oxford comma in this post reasonably, often, and appropriately.

As you would always tell me, Justin: For that, you are welcome.

 

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About Justin Macumber

Born and raised an Army brat, I’ve spent many years living in different states, My greatest allies were books, and now I’ve been given an opportunity to add my own stories to the shelves. In addition to books, I was raised on movies and video games across every imaginable genre and style, and the stories I write reflect that. You can find my novels and short stories at Amazon and at my website www.justinmacumber.com. Justin@TheHollywoodOutsider.com