2017 appeared to be a banner year for Joanne the Scammer. The popular character, known for her appearances at awards shows and her melodramatic social media stylings, appeared on the cover of a magazine, inked a TV deal, and earned recognition as one of Time‘s “most influential people on the internet.”
Offscreen, however, the man who portrays Joanne had to endure some rough news in 2017, and after his recent disappearance from social media raised concerns among his fans, he decided to take to Instagram to open up. There, in a recent video, Joanne performer Branden Miller explained that his mother is dying of cancer, and he has put his signature character on hiatus in order to be with her.
In his post, Miller explained that his mother has been dealing with her terminal diagnosis “for a while.” As a result, he has decided that comedy must take a back seat. “When things are not OK, I have to look out for myself first,” he wrote.
I won’t be gone much longer and I’m only uploading this because I don’t want people to think I’m not okay when I am. However, my mom was diagnosed with cancer a year ago and it has already changed my life in many ways. Making people laugh is something I enjoy doing especially when it’s natural and from me. But when things are not ok I have to look out for myself first. And they aren’t okay right now.. but they will be. This will only make me stronger. Time is all that’s in the way.
Joanne has been on the shelf for more than two months, and her absence had been unexplained up until now. Though many of her followers worried for Miller’s own health, the creator said that he’s “in a good place and trying to stay there.”
Eventually, Miller explained, he plans to return to his most iconic role, though he does not know when that will happen. “This will only make me stronger,” he wrote. “Time is all that’s in the way.”