Sometimes people say the comedy world is a cold world filled with backstabbing and people getting screwed over. Cris and Paul Italia, and Patrick Milligan of Cringe Humor proved that to be false recently. As part of the New York Comedy Festival, they held a tribute to Mike DeStefano, a talented comic they were working with who left us much too young.
The event was held at the Tribeca Performing Arts Center, and it was a packed house. That was a tribute to them as well as to Mike, because it’s not easy to get people to show up for anything in New York, when there are always so many other things to choose from.
Cringe was producing Mike’s one-man show originally called Drugs, Disease, and Death, – A Comedy, which got changed to the more user-friendly name A Cherry Tree In The Bronx. It was Mike’s story of living with HIV, losing his wife to AIDS and carrying the message of recovery to sick and suffering alcoholics and drug addicts which was part of his past– and a very important focus of his life. Mike was about helping people, as well as making them laugh in the process.
It could have been a somber event, but thanks to MC Rich Vos, who can make any event funny, and a line-up that included Bonnie McFarlane, Eugene Mirman, Robert Kelly, Kurt Metzger, Mike Vecchione and Colin Quinn, it was a raucous laughfest. Mike would have been happy. His look-alike brother Joe was there, and the likeness is astonishing. He got up on stage and spoke and was actually very funny!
So it turns out that the comedy world may be a dysfunctional family, but it’s still a family!
Check out the video below for an exclusive interview with Cris Italia from Cringe Humor.
For more story and photos check out the Comedy Matters Vlog.