June 25, 2018

Riding the wave

My first real stand up comedy show went well and I'm looking forward to more with four already on the calendar or in planning stages.

Being the rookie feature at the North Bay Comedy for Cancer Cure at the Davedi Club June 14 was really cool. The event raised $3,700 for the 2018 Relay for Life effort, plus $900 more donated to the team online. Not too shabby on $20 tickets with a quality headliner like Sandra Battaglini.

By all accounts it was a success and for me, personally, a huge step forward. I didn't choke or get overwhelmed and there were confidence-building laughs as I gave it the college try on my 53rd birthday. To be honest, the field was slanted in my favour with a large part of the 200-plus crowd either good friends or people who knew of me as a long-time local newspaper reporter. Either way, I'll take it as a solid kicking off point for this chuckle fest adventure.

Here's a link to my video story.

There's definitely momentum with more experience performing as well as producing shows on the horizon.

My next date is a fundraiser July 20 for a former health worker, Suzanne Lefebvre, 65, who is preparing for a kidney transplant and the financial pressures associated with it (trips to Toronto and a post-operative stay). It's a Friday night show at the Davedi Club billed as a Night of Jazz with Solid Gold performing on stage. Doors open at 7:30 p.m., music starts at 8 p.m. I volunteered to be the intermission act about 9:10 p.m. Tickets are $20 in advance, $25 at the door.

It should be interesting as I'm preparing to jazz up my wardrobe for the occasion and it will be a challenge to deliver a solo set as people scatter for the washrooms, parking lots and beer line.

A different and potentially more difficult challenge will be organizing a variety show fundraiser Sept. 14. This one benefits the Alzheimer's Society of Manitoulin, Sudbury and North Bay and will be held at the Grande Event Centre downtown. The timing is perfect for the society's annual Coffee Break awareness campaign. And I have some big ideas to make it a night to remember, although I can't yet share them here until I confirm a few more things.

Picture a melting pot of the arts with painters, photographers, musicians, magicians and stand up comedians coming together to share their talents for a good cause. It's just a coincidence that September is also the awareness month for the Canadian Association of Stand Up Comedians (which is petitioning the federal government to recognize it as an art to open up national and provincial funding opportunities).

What better way to argue the case of being worthy of art-dom than performing with other artists?

This is another volunteer gig as I build up my resume but it's also a little closer to my heart. My father suffers dementia and now lives at a long-term care residence in Sudbury, not far from where my mother and two sisters live. 

As for the other shows, they are not confirmed and still in the initial planning stages. It's funny, though, once an idea for something gets a root down things move ahead fairly fast and furious.

NOTE: If anybody else is interested in me performing at events, I'm setting a $50 fee for charity events (15 minute stand up comedy routine, 15 minutes of funny stories, Q&A) and $100 plus meal for organizational or group events.

CREDIT: Thank you Ed Regan for the photo of me at the Davedi Club with Sandra Battaglini on stage.


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