Geoff Helisma, Clarence Valley Independent
‘Not out’ septuagenarian Bob Walker came to comedy relatively late. “It saved my life,” he says. “I was deeply depressed when I took it up – it’s changed how I think about myself and my outlook on life.”
Walker said that in November 2016 when he was organising a comedy night in Yamba; now the Tucabia man is back with a stellar line-up of comedians at the Maclean Bowling Club – and all of the money from ticket sales will be used to potentially save lives.
“Bob walked into the Maclean Bowling Club (MBC) last year offering the club a comedy line-up that it could not refuse,” says promotions manager Tamara Bendeich. “His only request was that all the money raised from the comedy night would be donated towards helping people affected by domestic violence.”
Clockwise from top left: Scotty Brizzle, Bob Walker, Fiona McGary,
Alf Aber and Kelly Mac. Images: contributed.
Walker experienced domestic violence in his family throughout his youth and teenage years. Meanwhile, Maclean Bowling Club sponsors signs on Busways buses that raise awareness of domestic violence; sparking the idea for Walker to approach the club to raise money to assist people who suffer at the hands of those they should be able to trust the most.
“It was an opportunity to help others going through what I did,” he said. “Violence is not the answer when facing family and domestic disputes.”
Clarence River Domestic & Family Violence specialist service manager, Nav Navratil, said she is grateful for any cash donations given directly to the refuge, as it doesn’t receive financial support, apart from limited government funding.
“The money will be used towards upgrading five bedrooms at the refuge, as well as helping clients directly impacted who may need help relocating to a new home,” she said.
“Every cent given to us goes to our clients and is specifically tailored to helping them with whatever they may need to ensure their safety and wellbeing.”
Fiona McGary, who has performed over 3,200 shows to more than 250,000 people over 20 years, headlines the show – her performances have featured at the Melbourne International Comedy Festival, Adelaide Fringe Festival, Woodford Folk Festival and The Sydney Comedy Festival.
Scotty Brizzle (hilarious observations and energetic absurdity), Alf Arber (subversive worldview and animated stage presence), and MC Kelly Mac (not single but willing to learn) fill the support slots.
And Walker, who reckons he might be one of Australia’s most travelled (or is that troubled?) open-mic comedians, will also expose himself to the glare of the spotlight … it’s a special light that “cured my stuttering”, he says, “it doesn’t happen on stage.”
Don’t miss this great comedy event at Maclean Bowling Club on Saturday March 19 from 7pm.
Tickets purchased by people for the postponed September 2021 show (due to Covid) are still valid. Tickets, $20 per person, can be purchased at the club’s bar, which will also give a complimentary beer, wine or soft drink to everyone who purchases a ticket for the night.
The Clarence River Domestic & Family Violence Specialist Service is a specialist crisis service in the Clarence Valley supporting women and children from all backgrounds affected by domestic and family violence. The refuge provides essential 24-hour seven-day crisis support and accommodation plus specialist outreach services. Phone: 6642 4955.
This article appeared in the Clarence Valley Independent, 23 February 2022.