Ray Garvey All Star Comedy Tribute

raysThere are always those who live in the shadows. In truth they are hiding in plain sight. They let others shine and by virtue of their support and guidance, share in the successes and accolades of their pride. I say pride because the particular gentleman I am referring to is a lion. His name is Ray Garvey and he is mentoring a different bunch of cubs now up there in the heavens. This month we celebrate him in a big way. A who’s who of comedians will be sharing stories, jokes and the hysterical routines that have garnered them a national following and a You Tube presence that Taylor Swift would envy. It happens in Atlantic City at the Borgata’s famous Music Box Theatre, the very theatre in which Mr. Garvey produced the best damn comedy shows in New Jersey for over a decade.

Some of the acts you already know. They appear on your TV nightly and can be seen in some of the year’s biggest films. They populate the Internet like the Kardashians haunt our dreams. Check out this all star roster: Richie Minervini, Joey Kola, Jeff Pirrami, Darcy Novick, Mike Aronin, Mitchell Walters, Carol Montgomery, Paul Bond, Joe Starr, Joe Moffa, and hosted and coached by Steve Schirripa from HBO’s The Soprano’s. Even the Mets and Royals couldn’t handle this team. If you can’t find the funny in that line-up, check yourself for a pulse, cause, baby…you dead.

Some things you should know about the man, the myth, the legend and the recipient of all this funny love – Ray Garvey. The quotes are from a Daily News article written by crackerjack journalist and huge Ray fan, Denis Hamill.

“Ray could hit, field, throw and God help you if you were in his way on the basepaths,” says Billy Pucci, a childhood pal. “He was also a great football player. He could shoot hoops, and he even boxed in the Golden Gloves in Madison Square Garden. Nobody messed with Ray. But he had a huge heart, too. You couldn’t count the number of people he helped in his lifetime.”

Police Officer
“Ray became a cop at the 71st Precinct, where he served under a commanding officer named Ray Kelly. He survived the Crown Heights riots, worked in the NYPD Harbor Unit and then ran the Police Athletic League in Brooklyn for a few years, where he coached kids like Stephon Marbury in the Coney Island Houses.”

“I was the first guy to cast Ray in a movie,” Woody Allen told me. “He was a great guy and a natural mug actor. A Brooklyn street guy that played great on the screen. When I met him he looked to me like an over-the-hill John L. Sullivan and I used him a number of times and he always came through for me.”
Garvey also appeared in dozens of other films and TV guest spots.

Comedy Producer
“While still a cop, he moonlighted as the doorman at the storied Pips Comedy Club on Emmons Ave., where Rodney Dangerfield, Jerry Seinfeld, Colin Quinn, Robert Klein and Andrew Dice Clay learned their trade.

While at a “Sopranos” party in the Brooklyn Botanic Garden with his close pal Tony (Paulie Walnuts) Sirico, Garvey met a top executive of the brand-new Borgata Hotel, who asked Ray if he would start a comedy club in the billion-dollar Atlantic City casino.”
The rest is history. Comedy lives with a heart and soul in Atlantic City because of this man, the man who was diagnosed with cancer at age 50. One doctor gave him six months to live. Garvey fought the cancer like it was a saloon brawl, kept performing, and refused to throw in the towel until the monster in his belly killed him three years ago at 52.

I wish you could have known him as I did. Then you’d understand that guys like that come along once in a lifetime.

The Music Box Theatre, the Borgata, Atlantic City
Sunday, November 22
All proceeds donated to Cancer Research at Memorial Sloan Kettering

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