Sun | Jul 5, 2020

Live online comedy special to celebrate Elva tonight

Published:Sunday | May 24, 2020 | 12:00 AMShereita Grizzle - Staff Reporter
File Photos Elva Ruddock
Judge Elva and Policeman Johnny entertain the audience at Mi Nah Laugh comedy show at the Courtleigh Auditorium in 2010.
Elva File
Christopher ‘Johnny’ Daley
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Elva Ruddock, the late Queen of Comedy, would have celebrated her 54th birthday yesterday. According to close friend and colleague in comedy Christopher ‘Johnny’ Daley, the day would have been marked by some type of celebration. He said the effervescent personality that was ‘E to the L to the V to the A’ was big on birthdays. Wanting to keep one of his friend’s most precious traditions alive, Johnny had decided from early in the year that he would host a live comedy show in her memory. With a ban placed on entertainment events due to COVID-19, plans for a pubic gathering were thwarted. Nevertheless, Johnny insisted that the ‘show must go on’, and so, today, Elva’s memory will be honoured through a live online comedy special.

“Once it came on to the month of May, I know for me, I started to think and reflect on her even more. It’s been difficult not having her presence around and feeling her from time to time. I’m still close with her family members, and so I called up Karen, her sister, and so we decided to do this in her honour,” he said. “She always celebrated her birthday. That’s one of the things she’s known for. Even in the time dealing with her illness, she always kept a function. Whether it was public or private, we would always gather for her birthday. Elva was always about self-love, and so it kinda felt like it would have been a huge void if we didn’t honour her by celebrating.”

STARS ALIGNED

Johnny said having started his Johnny Live Comedy special on Mother’s Day, it was always his intention to host the online show every two weeks. He said the stars aligned perfectly for the second staging because it coincided with the birthday weekend of his dear friend.

“It was just perfect how everything kinda just fell in line, and we just want to make this extra special for Elva. She wasn’t just local, she’s international, and so we want this show to reflect that. I reached out to Jean Paul, who I know just respects and loves her. He’s from Trinidad, and he’s going to represent a slew of people who loved and respected her from that country. He was extremely excited to be a part of the show. In fact, he said thanks for even thinking of him.”

The show will also see performances from Boasy Boy Floyd and Dufton Shepherd as well as special guest appearances from several personalities on whom Elva had an impact. Johnny said that in addition to the regular jokes, the show will reflect on the mega-talent that was ELVA and the laughter she served up during her time on Earth.

“I was thinking of who else I could call,and then I said Ragashanti because he would be perfect to talk about his local experience with her and their friendship. We’ve also touched base with some other key persons who would have spent time with her professionally and otherwise so they can talk about the good times. People like Omar Azan from Bashco, who sent us a video that we’re going to incorporate in the ZOOM room.

“Me nuh mind if people bawl, but I want them to be tears of joy. I want them to celebrate a life that was well lived,” Johnny continued.

The show is expected to get under way at 8 p.m. Interested persons can ­register to participate in the ZOOM room at www.johnnyliveproductions.com. Contribution to join the show is US$10. Proceeds from the show will be donated to the Lupus Foundation, in which Johnny said he took a special interest following his friend’s passing.

“One of the things that I did that she didn’t even know was that I had met up with the head of the Lupus Foundation. She did a lot of research on lupus, and I think she had reached out to them herself to get information, and so they were assisting her there. After she passed, I kept thinking that she wouldn’t mind if we kept giving back to the foundation. I made a pledge that I would continue to do whatever I could in her name to assist. When I thought about doing this, they said, “Let’s go!’. My job is to make sure I execute this celebration well. I want my friend to be remembered for how she lived, and I want her life to bless others even as we celebrate.”

shereita.grizzle@gleanerjm.com