While cheers and chants often fill the air at Boston’s TD Garden, on Nov. 3, laughter reigned supreme during the 24th annual Comics Come Home. In support of The Cam Neely Foundation, the longest-running comedy fundraiser in the nation raised over $700,000 to support cancer patients and their families.
The show’s two creators, Boston Bruins president Cam Neely and comedian Denis Leary began the show in 1995 and have kept the jokes flowing since.
Leary hosted the evening, which included performances from Lenny Clarke, Jim Breuer, Pete Correale, Billy Gardell, Robert Kelly, Christine Hurley, Brian Regan, and Jessica Kirson.
Neely began the evening with a message of gratitude for the attendees. After both his parents passed away from cancer, he began the Neely Foundation to provide support for those affected by the disease.
“To be able to give back in some way, shape or form, I felt like that was a duty to do,” he said in a pre-show interview. “When cancer hit my family, it really made it easy to say I’m going to do something for other patients and families.”
He shared that the event raised over twelve million dollars for the foundation. The organization’s next focus is on a nutrition-centric innovation center at Tufts Medical Center.
Once Neely left the stage, Leary walked on with both middle fingers extended into the air, a unique welcome, but a welcome nonetheless.
Accompanied by his band, The Enablers, Leary kicked off the night with a performance celebrating the Neely and his career as a Bruins’ right winger.
“He’d make a grown man cry” and “He’d beat your face and then your team,” were two lines from the tribute. Neely didn’t know about the song beforehand.
The show continued on to draw choruses of laughter from the audience. Pete Correale joked about the wait single person bathrooms while Christine Hurley expressed the woes of being a Little League mother.
In the middle of his set, Clarke shared about his wife’s battles with breast cancer. During the treatment period, they stayed in the Neely House, a living space for cancer patients and their families to stay located in Tufts Medical Center.
Jessica Kirson graced the Comics Come Home stage for the first time. She said she was grateful to participate in a show dedicated to “such a worthy cause.”
“When I do stuff like this, it makes me feel like I’m making a difference and doing something that can really help people,” Kirson said.