Hundreds filed through Martin & Castille Funeral Home’s southside location Wednesday, many bearing the delible mark of Ash Wednesday on their foreheads, to pay respects to the family of Ricky Briggs, a Lafayette comedian and actor who died suddenly last week.
Briggs was a co-founder of Skit Happens, a local sketch comedy troupe, as well as a longtime member of Acting Up! (In Acadiana), the resident theatre company at the Acadiana Center for the Arts. For more than a decade he also coached young actors at Acting Up’s annual Summer Youth Shakespeare Ensemble camp at the AcA.
Briggs was a Lafayette native who studied acting in UL Lafayette’s Performing Arts Department. And while he was passionate about acting and theatre, his true love was standup comedy, an art at which he excelled in comedy clubs across the country and in which he often riffed on his life growing up with cystic fibrosis, an incurable genetic disorder that affects the lungs, pancreas, liver and other organs. It’s safe to say Briggs was more familiar with the United States health care system than few outside the profession would want to be: In the last few years alone he survived a double lung transplant and most recently a cancer diagnosis and treatment. But he never complained about his frequent illnesses; he just turned them into comedy.
Briggs also lost a sister, Amanda Briggs, to cystic fibrosis in 2011. Last year, the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation named an award in Briggs’ honor: the Ricky Briggs Fighting Spirit Award. The family asks that donations be made in Briggs' honor to the Louisiana chapter of the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation.
Briggs is survived by his wife, Hannah Kerner Briggs, and twin sons, Sawyer and Teddy.
Ricky Briggs was 35 years old. Read his obituary here.