Jim Tavare: All-Star Comedy Benefit show
We are pleased to announce a Comedy Benefit night for Jim Tavare at the Lyric Theatre, Shaftesbury Avenue, London on Monday 12th June 2017. The support from his colleagues has been amazing and the bill of comics performing that evening reads like a who’s who of modern stand up. Dara O Briain, Jo Brand, Harry Hill, Paul Zerdin, Stewart Lee, Alan Davies, Milton Jones, Paul Chowdhry, Dave Johns, Gina Yashere, Arthur Smith, Zoe Lyons, Hal Cruttenden with one or two more to be announced.Tickets are expected to sell fast.
Jim Tavare is not only a highly-respected stand up but an actor staring in the film ‘Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban’ where he gained a personal following of fans. He is renowned for his unique comedy act featuring his famous double bass often seen strapped to the top of his vehicle or pushed carefully into the back his car as he went from gig to gig around the country or indeed checking it in at airports as he travelled the world. An enormous prop, not common to many other stand up acts but one that gained him notoriety and plenty of laughs. His success in the States has meant he travels backwards and forwards across the pond frequently, and was about to start a major UK tour with three other comics.
Tragedy falls who knows when it will fall? For Jim, it was when he got into his car a few weeks ago making his way into the Hollywood Hills on a lonely winding road, being hit head on by a Dodge Ram truck, coming the other way. His car was precariously balanced on the cliff’s edge, and he was eventually helicoptered off the mountain to hospital. The doctors desperately worked on him to keep him alive, having major problems in clearing the fluid from two collapsed lungs. He actually died twice on the operating table. Fortunately, Jim made it and we are indeed grateful to those medical staff for bringing him through. Having suffered – 15 broken ribs, 2 clavicles, sternum, broken neck, wrenched wrist, smashed up femur, fibula and tibia with a new metal heel and ankle. After a further nine operations, the doctors have warned him he probably won’t be able to play the double bass again due to the restrictive movement he will always have in his hands. However, Jim’s out to prove them wrong. Much credit must go to Jim’s wife Laura who has stood by his side and been a driving force in helping to establish his career the States and now is continually by Jim’s bedside in his recovery.
Health and medical costs are covered differently in America compared to the UK. Although Jim had insurance, by the nature of his extra ordinary medical condition with helicopters, eleven emergency operations and a long stay in intensive care with monitoring machines on continually much was outside his cover. The first bill $650,000 was greeted with astonishment with other invoices just as large on the way. The comedy profession stand to help Jim in our small way in a time of need both with medical and psychological repair. This sad episode has also makes one appreciate our own NHS even more and how important it is to our nation even with the extreme pressures of over worked staff, under funding and a lack of resources. It was right that Danny Boyle celebrated its existence in the opening ceremony of the 2012 London Olympics as indicative to British culture.
Jim is now facing a personal battle, that sadly many others in our hospitals, care homes and indeed front rooms are also fighting, often without the emotional and financial support fully needed. I wish them all the spirit, character and self-reliance to conquer this uninvited foe, plus the wisdom to reconcile why them?
All of us in the comedy profession are hoping and praying that Jim will return as the unique performer we all knew him to be.
Matthew Willetts MA is the Director of Comicus who has over 35 years experience in television, film, theatre, and comedy club/cabaret entertainment, working as a performer, screenwriter, producer and agent. He lectured at Southampton Solent University in Comedy, Screenwriting, Television, Theatre & Radio. Matthew can sometimes be seen and heard on TV & Radio and often quoted in the national press and media publications. As well as speaking regularly at festivals and industry conferences, he has been a judge at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival and the Montreux Television Festival.