The International Myeloma Foundation 12th Annual Comedy Celebration opened with a video of Ray Romano passing the torch of being the event’s host to Kevin Nealon. In the video, Ray said that he had been hosting this comedy celebration since his twin boys were 12. Now his boys are 25, and Ray joked, “They are still living at home.”
Taking the stage after Ray’s video was IMF President & CEO Susie Durie and IMF Chair of the Board Dr. Brian G.M. Durie. They thanked the Event’s Chair Loraine Boyle and brought Dr. S. Vincent Rajkumar (Mayo Clinic, Rochester, MN) to the stage to pay tribute to the event’s honoree – Dr. Robert A. Kyle.
Dr. Rajkumar highlighted that in 1965, Dr. Kyle published his first paper in the New England Journal of Medicine. Today, Dr. Kyle has published more than 1,000 research papers. Dr. Rajkumar explained how Dr. Kyle was one of the first researchers who studied the disease of multiple myeloma to learn who gets get, how they get it, why they get it, and most importantly, what can we do about it. With this, Dr. Kyle entered the stage to a standing ovation and to receive his award.
Dr. Kyle explained that when he was a med student, he recalled that only 1 page out of his 1,750-page textbook discussed multiple myeloma. At the time, the treatment recommendations for the disease were X-ray technology and blood transfusions. Dr. Kyle then discussed the evolution of drug treatment of myeloma, beginning with melphalan, Thalomid, Velcade, Revlimid, and today’s dozens of treatments of proteasome inhibitors, monoclonal antibodies, and immunotherapies.
Dr. Kyle emphasized that without dedication to research, and especially to fostering bright new young clinical investigators in the field of myeloma, such a great distance could not be traveled in the treatment of this very difficult and complex disease.
The comedy show then opened with Kevin Nealon taking the stage. Kevin joked that he and Dr. Kyle often worked the road together in the comedy club circuit, switching off who opened and who headlined. Kevin accepted the hosting torch from Ray and said one of the reasons he gladly accepted to host this show, is that his mother is living with multiple myeloma. Kevin didn’t miss a beat and integrated stellar comedy material in-between heartfelt commentary. He said he calls his son “Buddy,” but mostly because he works so much he can’t remember his son’s actual name.
Natasha Leggero was the first featured comedian of the night. She thanked a crew member for printing out some pages for her before the show and said, she is now just going to call all millennials “interns.”
Natasha, standing at only 5’1”, lowered the mic stand and when towering 5’7” Sasheer Zamata entered the stage, she crouched down to hover where Natasha had left the mic.
After Sasheer’s set, Gabriel “Fluffy” Iglesias got the crowd going with his impressions of Chris Rock and his indecisive girlfriend.
Cristela Alonzo followed suit, talking about what it was like to grow up poor, and how today she has increased her vocabulary with such new words as “health insurance” and “deductible.”
Chaunté Wayans performed next, covering her journey of coming out as a lesbian performer, being arrested for a DUI, and becoming sober—all sprinkled with punchlines.
Jim Jefferies closed the show with a long scatological bit on his “lactose intolerance,” which is too graphic to describe here.
Overall, the 12th Annual Comedy Celebration was a huge success. We cannot express enough gratitude to the Event Chair Loraine Boyle, the Event Co-Chair Laurie Kuzneski, all our donors, and the attendees like you who made the event, “a night to remember.”
If you were not able to attend, you can catch a re-broadcast of the Pre-show Facebook Live Event exclusively on IMF's Facebook (Facebook.com/myeloma). The live stream, co-hosted by TV personality Alie Ward and former pageant queen Daphne Lee (Miss Black USA 2017) features red carpet interviews with celebrity attendees and myeloma experts.