Last May the comedy world lost an amazing comedian too soon. Mike DeStefano, who was HIV positive, passed away from a heart attack days before opening of his one-man show A Cherry Tree in The Bronx in New York City. In a stroke of holiday magic, the powers that be have announced that screenings of Mike’s show will be available to the public “real soon.”
This year’s New York Comedy Festival celebrated Mike’s life with a tribute show in their schedule of events, a huge honor. With stand-up performances by Colin Quinn, Eugene Mirman, Robert Kelly (and more), and family footage of Mike, the event had over 700 people in attendance. I spoke with Mike’s brother, Joe DeStefano, who went up at the end of the show. He said it was amazing to see so many people there to remember his brother. “If everyone who wanted to come came there, there wouldn’t be enough room,” he recalled. “The best part of the night for me was the standing ovation for Mikey, when it wouldn’t stop. That was definitely it, for me.”
Joe, who also manages his brother’s Facebook profile, said the current plan is to screen the show in New York in Greenwich Village, where Mike frequently performed at clubs such as the Comedy Cellar, Laugh Lounge, and CB’s, and in West Palm Beach, Florida, where he lived for a time with his late wife Franny. Details are still to be determined, but we can expect West Palm Beach screenings as early as March.
This is an amazing opportunity for more people to experience Mike’s inspiring story of living with HIV, losing his wife to AIDS, and overcoming drug and alcohol addiction. Stay tuned for screening dates. You can follow Mike DeStefano-related news on Twitter @Mike_DeStefano.