Seeing as the Melbourne International Comedy Festival is on right now, I thought that this would be as good a time as any to mention this big thank you. If you are in Melbourne and see any of the names that I mention in the festival guide then please go and support them. They are all amazing.
As always, I will start my dribbling on with a bit of back story. Actually two.
The first one. The Comedy Gallery.
The Comedy Gallery was started by comedian Dale Craig and myself in May 2011 and since then we have become a trio with the addition of the multi talented, actor, comedian, etc. Peter Flaherty. Between the three of us under The Comedy Gallery’s banner have supported many charities. I will put more about this in another blog on another day. But let’s say, two of the best blokes with the biggest hearts you’ll ever find.
The second one. The ‘Hood
The Brotherhood and Sisterhood or more to the point the united ‘Hood of comedians was started in early 2012 in memory of the late, great Dave Grant. A very well loved, known and respected comedian who lost his battle to cancer in January 2010. Dave’s famous sign off before he walked of the stage was “Look after each other Brothers and Sisters, that’s what it’s all about!” Which become The ‘Hood’s motto.
Very soon after Hayley’s cancer diagnosis and within a very short space of time of each other I was contacted by Dale, Peter and Frank Hampster, an administrator of The ‘Hood and a long time friend, comedian and top bloke. All three wanting to do a comedy fundraiser to help with our expenses. So they got started. I was so busy being distracted that I had stepped right away from my acting and comedy. I had no idea what was going on. They put together one hell of an amazing night.
So The Comedy Gallery and The ‘Hood teamed up to create The Hilarious Hoo-Haa for Hayley. Some of Australia’s biggest names in comedy volunteered their time for free to help my family. I don’t know why I write these blogs in such a dusty room. Some just went in my eye again. I was personally contacted by other A-Listers who couldn’t be there on the night.
What an amazing line up. Dave O’Neil, Dave Hughes, Richard Stubbs, Kirsty Mac, Chris Franklin (who incidentally cancelled a paid gig that night, flew interstate at his own expense and then flew out again the next day to continue his tour), Mayumi Nobetsu, John Burgess, Matt Elsbury, Emily O’Loughlin, Cj Fortuna, Fiona Scott-Norman and unfortunately, even though he was on the poster, Steve Bedwell rang me that day, very apologetically, having to pull out due to a family health issue. Full points to the very funny David Tulk stepped straight in and filled the spot.
Even the incredible people, including comedians not performing, who stepped up behind the scenes to help out. Gabe Hogan, Damian Cosgriff, Gary Robertson, Brendon and Wendy Warsow (you may recognise their names from the previous Amazingly Generous blog), Michael and Sharon Williams and others. I will edit this blog as the memory and reminders kick in so please feel free to come back and have another read every now and again.
Big thanks also to Alys McDonough for designing the poster and David James from The James Hotel in the Docklands, freely giving the space at his venue for everyone to come and play.
An incredibly proud moment as my then 12yo daughter Natalie (now 13) got the opportunity to open and introduce the night. Approximately 250 people and she stepped up, rattled off a few jokes that were met with a lot of love and laughs and then, just before bringing Frank Hampster on to MC she beautifully delivered the line of the night. Instead of me writing it, here it is:-
The night raised approximately $7,000 for us. I don’t know how we would have survived without this amazing generosity from all involved. Thank you.