by Rick Winterson


   As South Boston Online promised in its last issue, the Annual Comedy Night, a laugh-filled party courtesy of the South Boston Collaborative Center, was a great success.  The Collaborative’s Comedy Night was held last Friday evening, November 16, in Florian Hall.  A full house of between 250 and 300 guests formed a responsive audience, who were ready to have a great time while supporting the Collaborative (both of which they certainly did).

The high point of the evening was the presentation of the Annual Darlene Sheehan “Beacon of Hope” Awards.  The two 2018 recipients – George McEvoy and Dennis McLaughlin – are members of the ILA (the International Longshoremen’s Association).  Collaborative Executive Director Andy Ward served as Emcee; Sen. Nick Collins did the Award honors.  Andy spoke about 2018 being the Collaborative’s 21st year, expressing his profound gratitude to Joseph “Dodo” Nee and the Collaborative’s first E.D., Darlene Sheehan – she literally spent her last active year starting up the Collaborative in 1997, before succumbing to ovarian cancer.

Both Award recipients, George McEvoy and Dennis McLaughlin, humbly remarked on the benefits and joy that comes from sobriety, and recalled the good works of Gerard Dembowski – another ILA member, who worked in South Boston’s Conley Terminal and was a real apostle of recovery.  They praised to South Boston’s recovery organizations and concluded their remarks by saying their efforts in the ILA were only giving back what was freely given to them.  George and Dennis received a standing ovation after they got their “Beacon of Hope” Awards.

This year’s 2018 Comedy Night featured two local stand-up comics – Dave Russo and Frank Santorelli.  They are in fact local talents, but both of them have worked all over the U.S. and the World.  Russo’s performance was extraordinarily energetic; Santorelli’s stand-up routine had gag-line references to “Florian Hall”.  Those laughs were due in part because Santorelli didn’t realize that Florain Hall is named for Saint Florian, the patron saint of firefighters (before being martyred in 304 A.D., Florian organized fire brigades in Roman legions stationed in what is now Austria, where he is still venerated). Oh well, it was an odd comedy routine, but no matter – it worked!

A word about Kenny Morrell.  Kenny was the evening’s entertainer.  He’s a (very) talented pianist, who is able to play anything.  He also performs vocals using his own unique approaches to song styling, and he is quite able to play dance music in a large variety of rhythms.

All in all, the Collaborative’s 2018 Comedy Night was quite the evening.