Ron Vaudry has been one of Canada's top stand up comics for nearly 40 years.
He has toured internationally, and appeared on television, radio, podcasts and top comedy festivals.
But these days he's in dire straights.
Like most professional comics, Ron survives day by day, hand to mouth.
Decades of dedication to his craft barely pays the bills. He carries everything he owns in a duffle bag. He has no savings. No dental or pension plan. No car. No credit. No permanent residence.
Stand-up comedy is a tough way to make a living.
One cancelled show can be the difference between paying that month's rent or ending up homeless. That's how tenuous a comic's survival can be. That's the life. That's the struggle. These are the sacrifices you make for the underappreciated art form you love.
Times are tough in comedy.
Some of you know what its like to spend the last of your cash travelling to another province to perform, only to be told on arrival that half the gigs you were counting on have now been cancelled.
You know how frustrating it is to refuse work - because you're already booked for that date - only to have the original gig cancel when its too late to replace it.
You know what its like to be paid by cheque when there's not enough money in your account to cover the fee paid. Which means you have to wait for the thing to clear before you can draw your funds.
You know what its like to turn up for a show on the night and be told you're now going to be paid less than the agreed or promised amount - because there's a smaller crowd than expected, or the bar sold less booze than expected, or the hockey game is on, or some other invalid lame excuse.
You know what its like to have your heat and hydro turned off or come home to an eviction notice tacked to your door.
I do. I remember those days well.
Right now Ron is out of cash. He has no savings to draw on. He has no prospects. No work. He is struggling to survive. Every. Single. Day.
His health is in decline and he is fighting diabetes, painful degenerative discs in his back, and now, a dangerous and deep depression.
He is so desperate he actually reached out in a recent Facebook post. And if you know Ron, you know how completely out of character that is. It was an appeal for help. One that must not go unheeded.
Many of you responded to his post with words of support and encouragement. You reminded Ron how much he is respected, how much he is loved. How his talent and commitment to the craft has helped shape your own journey.
Well now I'm asking you to put your money where your mouth is.
Ron has work booked in the UK in the late fall and winter. But NOTHING between now and then.
NO income to keep him going. NO travel money. NO rent. NO work. Even his search for a 'day job' has turned up nothing.
Promises of work down the line are greatly appreciated, but do not solve his immediate problem - which is money. NOW. Cash. In hand.
Ron needs your help. Not your words.
He needs action.
Ron is not aware I have started this GoFundMe campaign, but I honestly believe drastic and immediate action is needed.
So I am appealing to every comic, booker, club owner and comedy fan reading this - to dig deep and give whatever you can to support a great Canadian comic in need.
Any amount is greatly appreciated.
I also ask you to share this appeal as a matter of urgency.
This is your chance to make an immediate difference in the life of a fellow performer. You might be in the same boat someday.
Please join me in taking action on behalf of our friend.
The Comedy Gods will smile on you for your compassion....
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