VOLUME 1 | ISSUE 19 | Komedy for a Kidney

Komedy for a Kidney: Having A Laugh While Raising Awareness.

by: Tyler “Tyski” Dombroski

I originally had planned a colourful introduction to the start of this edition of Seriously Funny with Mr. Paul McCallum. However, the ambassador to The Muleholes and the Rock’n Stand-Up Comedy brand has far more important issues to present to you, the Velvet Rope audience. Case in point, and the subject of discussion, the Friday, May 4 presentation of Komedy for a Kidney, a benefit show for one of Paul’s good friends.

Paul, you are “The Super Hero of Comedy”, but now it really seems like you’re being called to duty with the Komedy for a Kidney show at the Delta Hotel in Guelph. How did this super-group of comedic talent come to join forces for the Lee Clark Benefit & Comedy Show?

Paul: My first comedy production was a show at the Guelph Little Theatre in June 2011.  It was a fantastic success, so I had planned to make it an annual event. I was just starting to contact venues in Guelph about booking a potential date for the 2nd Annual Muleholes Show, when I saw a Facebook update regarding an old high school acquaintance, Lee Clark.

I was aware that Lee often posted articles emphasizing the importance of organ donation, but on this particular day her post was in response to an old classmate of hers who was inquiring as to how her own battle with kidney disease was going.

Right then I thought to myself, what if we could do a show that could generate enough publicity that it ultimately led to Lee getting a Kidney? I immediately sent Lee a Facebook message, but didn’t expect to hear from her for a few days. She was online at that moment and we were soon on the phone with each other putting together the basis for what has become this show!

Lee Clark must be incredibly thankful for the efforts of all the people involved. Did you ever think that your own talent for laughter would ever be put to such a noble use?

Paul: When you first start out doing stand-up, all you want to do is survive getting up on a stage, followed by getting off stage with some shred of self-dignity left…overall I do think it is noble to want to make people laugh and consequently maybe bring a little bit more happiness into their day that they may not have otherwise had.

What can you share about the other three comedians on the bill for this show? I assume you have worked with them all before. How would you describe each of the acts involved?

Paul: I have had the pleasure of working with Mark Matthews on several occasions, in various comedy venues over the past year. Mark is as seasoned as you can get in this funny business, and I appreciate immensely any advice he would bestow on me after I finished a set. Further, Mark has opened for the likes of Gilbert Gottfried, Jimmie J.J. Walker, and toured with Jerry Seinfeld – so I was enthralled by his road stories that he would share with me about those guys.

After initially speaking with Lee, I came up with the name Komedy for a Kidney. When I Googled that moniker, I found there was already a show called Komedy for Kidneys which was put on annually in the Niagara region by none other than Mark Matthews!

As I researched further, I was informed that Mark was actually himself the recipient of a successful kidney transplant seven years ago, which was in-part why he produces his annual show in Niagara Falls.

When I contacted Mark to ask if I was encroaching on the name of his trademark show, he was more than willing to come to Guelph and personally host the show on Lee’s behalf!

As for K Trevor Wilson, I have been a big fan from the first time I had the pleasure of sharing a stage with him at the Yuk Yuk’s Laugh Off Competition finals in Kitchener last year. He has since gone on to do the prestigious televised Winnipeg Comedy Festival and he is the only two-time winner of Ian Atlas’s Comedy Brawl that hosts over 150 comics each year vying for the title. I had been after him for quite a while to come to Guelph to be part of a Muleholes show, and this cause was the perfect vehicle for him to agree to do it!

David Green has also been one of my long-time favourites whose English dry wit will undoubtedly add that extra spice to the show!

Can you share the details of Lee’s condition and why this show is so very important to her? What is the overall goal for this event?

Paul: Lee Clark is a friend, sister, daughter, wife, mother and a member of our community and Lee has kidney disease. Lee needs to find a compatible kidney donor. She is in end-stage renal failure – without a kidney transplant, she will be on dialysis. Proceeds from the show will be provided to Lee for financial support as she navigates through her medical crisis, to ease the burden of associated out-of-pocket expenses. Equally, this is a “Night of Life & Laughter” for awareness, not only to help sustain Lee, but also others facing organ transplant.

One thing I found particularly enduring about Lee when we were discussing the possibilities of producing this show, was that despite her own need for a kidney, she was selflessly more interested in promoting the overall importance of organ donation in general.  And therein we have the true nobility of this production.

What would you like to offer the readers today?

Paul: To potential comics, just get up there and do it! To the readers of Velvet Rope and Seriously Funny fans, one donor can save eight lives! If you haven’t done so already, register for organ donation at www.beadonor.ca. (Did you know that signing your organ donation card is not enough? Now you must be registered to be on the Ontario Trillium Gift of Life Organ & Tissue , Donor Registry. As of today, only 21% of Ontarians are registered – those numbers need to increase drastically!)

Finally, a sincere thanks to all the residents of Kitchener Waterloo area who regularly come out to support local comedy – and don’t forget to laugh!

What’s next for The Super Hero of Comedy?

Paul: Comedic world domination while bringing attention to worthwhile causes!

Best wishes to these seriously funny comedians, K Trevor Wilson, Mark Mathews, David Green, and of course, Paul McCallum. Good luck to Lee Clark and others in need. We’ll keep you posted on the results of the event when I sit down with Paul and get in deep about his own adventures in the art of comedy.


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