March 6, 2008

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Help for a fellow funnyman
All-stars of New England comedy play Palace
By Brian Early bearly@hippopress.com

An all-star cast of New England funnymen will perform at the Palace Theatre in a fundraiser for fellow comedian who has cancer.

It’s called “A Night for Knoxie, Raising Money — Raising Hell,” and it’s a benefit for Boston comedian Kevin Knox, who is battling cancer and whose health has deteriorated in recent months. He’s currently being treated in a Florida facility. Knox was treated for cancer a few years ago, but the cancer resurfaced late last year.

“He said he was going down to Florida for a tune-up,” said Tony V, a regular on Showtime’s Brotherhood. That was a couple of months ago. “Every week he says, ‘I think I’m going to come back next week.’”

Jimmy Dunn, Lenny Clark, Frank Santorelli, Tony V, Steve Sweeney, Robbie Printz, Mike McDonald, Jim Lauletta, Gary Gulman, Bob Seibel and Kevin Flynn are all scheduled to perform in the Sunday, March 9, show. Others may show up as well.

“This is our way of mobilizing,” Tony V said. “We’re such idiots. We don’t know what else to do.”

Knox is well known in the comedy scene in Boston from his own gigs, and especially for hosting the open-mike night at the Comedy Connection in Boston.

“People look to you for words of encouragement,” Tony V said about new comics. “He’s never turned a deaf ear to anybody who has asked for advice.”

The comedy scene is challenging, said Jimmy Dunn, host of NESN’s Sox Appeal.

“If you watch Comedy Central and you see these guys, they do quite timid jokes. It’s a controlled environment. The audience is well behaved. It’s nirvana for a comic. Nobody looks bad on those shows,” he said. “In the real comedy world, sometimes there is a big TV at the end of the bar you have to compete with. There are rowdy drunks. You can’t just stand there on the corner. You have to go to them and be big and boisterous and take over the room. That’s the Lenny Clark and Kevin Knox School of Comedy.”

Each comic will get about seven to 10 minutes at the Manchester show.

“The egos come out when all the big comics come on the stage, and it makes for a great show,” Dunn said. “Everybody will be doing their best stuff. For a civilian, it’s going to be like going to the all-star game.”

And all the profits are going to Knox.

“He’s got health insurance, but he can’t work,” Dunn said. “Everybody wants to help out. We can’t operate on him, so this is the second best thing.”

There’s a certain responsibility to help the comics out, Tony V said: “We created these people. We’re responsible for these people. We didn’t put them away,” he said.

And plus, “There’s not a clunker in the bunch,” he said.


This Sunday’s benefit is for Boston comic Kevin Knox. Courtesy photo.

A Night for Knoxie
Where: Palace Theatre, 80 Hanover St., Manchester
When: Sunday, March 9, at 7 p.m..