Three Weymouth comedians will join the Boston area comedy scene for a special fundraiser event to benefit one of many Newtown and Sandy Hook School memorials, tributes and charities created in wake of the disaster.
Comics Bob Niles, Jerry Thornton and Tommy Amado, plus musician Kenny Black, all either from or who now reside in Weymouth will take part in the A’s Comedy Asylum fundraiser show at the Commonwealth Restaurant & Lounge in Quincy on January 31 at 7 p.m.
Proceeds from the show will benefit the Newtown Memorial Fund, established by residents of the Newtown and Sandy Hook communities to address long-term needs related to the Sandy Hook Elementary School tragedy.
The Fundraiser is scheduled as a four-plus hour laugh-a-thon bill featuring 19 of the Boston club scene’s most talented and popular standup comic performers going back as far as three decades.
“I’m going to play some of the standard old-school country and honky-tonk that people know me for to open the show,” said Black. “Then I’m going to end my set with `Hallelujah’ (based on the acclaimed Jeff Buckley cover of the Leonard Cohen song). That song has a very spiritual feeling to it, which I think will be fitting for the occasion. I’d like to give folks a few moments to reflect about why they’re there at the show, to help in raising funds after such a sad, tragic event. Before the show moves on with the wild, high-energy comedy for the rest of the night, I think some reflection will be welcome.”
Black, who is a distant cousin of the late actor and philanthropist Danny Thomas, carries on the family trait with his own charitable side. He travels often to Memphis to entertain patients there at St. Jude’s Hospital for Children, which Thomas founded. He’s also played for supporters at a fundraiser for the Joanna Mullin Fund to help families of children who have been victims of violence, and for resident patients at the Massachusetts Hospital School for Children in Canton.
“I took a ride down to Newtown a few days after the event happened. I visited the site at the school where they set up the memorial tribute, with the flowers and the teddy bears and stuffed animals. I also met with some of the people in town at a local breakfast diner, and I can’t even describe the feeling of what it was like in the town. People were still in a state of pure shock and devastation,” Black said. “It’s a very sad scene, and people there just want to move on and get the town back to normal.”
Bob Niles offered his thoughts about playing the fundraiser show. Niles, a welder by trade, has also spent more than twenty years headlining all over New England, performing at comedy clubs, country clubs, Rotary clubs and - as he calls it - just regular traffic rotaries.
“I was pretty moved when I heard about the horrible event,” he said. “I have kids myself, the youngest being 11. In a way, I think too much attention is given to people like this shooter when these incidents happen. It glorifies them too much when they should just be mostly ignored. But I’m a standup comic, and I like to use whatever abilities I have to help out.”
Thornton, a regular New England club scene comic since 1991, is also a weekly guest on the top-rated Felger & Mazz 98.5 Sports Hub talk-radio show, and writes about Boston sports on BarstoolSports.com, will also be featured at the benefit show.
“The shooting in Newtown was an unspeakable tragedy, of course,” Thornton said. “And it seems odd to respond to it with a comedy show. But then, I think that’s sort of like the Irish thing to do, to find something to laugh about in the midst of a tragedy that can’t be changed, and turning it into something positive. Some of the best parties I’ve ever been to were at Irish wake. “
Tommy Amado, another Weymouth comic said he was very happy to be doing this fundraiser, and working with all these talented acts.
“As a comic, I like to do almost any kind of fundraiser. I like to give something back to the business I’m in,” he said.