Mike McGuire and Cody Malbeuf are local comedians who offer live entertainment as a way to raise funds for cancer.
McGuire and Malbeuf are a part of the Wheelin’ Warriors, the 80-member cycling team from the north that has raised more than $1 million in the last eight years that goes to the BC Cancer Society. All funds raised in the north stay in the north, McGuire said.
The cycling part of the challenge includes each participant in the province riding 100 km in one day on August 28 in their own community. The event is now called the Tour de Cure. It used to be called the Ride to Conquer Cancer, a 250-kilometre bike ride over two days that took place in the southern part of the province but the pandemic changed all that. During the Tour de Cure there are also options for new participants to ride 50 km and those who are more experienced can ride 160 km.
Wheaton Precious Metals is the title sponsor and McGuire said that during a week last year they matched donations raised so instead of raising $200 for each show they were able to donate $400 and that was a big boost for the cause.
The idea that inspired the backyard shows was a fellow comedian in Edmonton that McGuire knows who started offering fireside shows during the pandemic so he could keep performing during the shut down of all venues. McGuire took the idea, made it his own and ran with it.
Each Wheelin’ Warrior commits to raising $2,500 and since McGuire and Malbeuf raised more than that, they started to share the wealth last year and will do the same this year if a fellow Wheelin’ Warrior books a garden party they will get the funds raised put towards their fundraising efforts.
“Why not spread it around, right?” Mike said.
And on that sharing-the-wealth note McGuire and Malbeuf will also invite other performers to the stage during some of the shows. There’s nothing like giving a less experienced comedian a chance to try out their material to a smaller audience before they set foot on a big stage post-COVID.
“You only learn five minutes at a time and the only way you learn is by getting out in front of a crowd,” McGuire said.
That will also provide the audience an introduction to more live entertainers right in their own backyard.
Basically the showcase will remain the same as last year.
“It worked so well last year - people were so wonderful - so this year we didn’t change a thing about the show,” McGuire said. “These shows help the cancer foundation and the comedy community and entertains people, too.”
McGuire assures potential hosts the material they will hear is not offensive.
“If you have us in your backyard we’re not going to go there and drop the F-bomb,” McGuire said.
McGuire, who has done stand up for many years, may best be remembered for his appearance on CBC’s The Debaters. Malbeuf has been doing stand up for about four years in
McGuire suggested that not only would they be willing to do a traditional garden party but also a corporate morale booster for those businesses in town who wish to show their employees some appreciation by treating them to the show.
“We had one company do it last year and it was a big hit,” McGuire said. “And they were super generous to us. In this time where it looks like the pandemic might be over soon it would be a great way to show your employees your appreciation and still be safe about it. We’d be happy to come out and entertain your employees.”
McGuire said this style of show might become a permanent part of his circuit.
“I’m going to be a Wheelin’ Warrior for life so I still have to raise money so if this is something the public wants we’ll definitely be willing to continue it,” McGuire said.
So why is he in it for life?
“Imagine a team of 80 here in town always supportive of you and your training and of the cause and then taking that down to Vancouver with 2,000 other riders - it’s just so uplifting - you can’t not and I also have a friend who is a member of the Wheelin’ Warriors who is battling cancer and she’s always so upbeat.”
McGuire is also very grateful for his good health.
“I am an overweight Native person who should have diabetes, should have heart problems and I am perfectly healthy,” McGuire said. “I have been blessed that way and so if I can help in some way I do.”
Pacific Western Brewery is donating the 24-pack of beer included in the Wheely Funny Garden Party package.
The ask is a minimum donation of $200 with all proceeds going to the Wheelin’ Warriors of the North fundraising efforts to be ultimately donated to the BC Cancer Foundation. To book a party, contact McGuire at 250-961-4767.