For Jeff Davis, the call came the morning of July 8. Although not wholly unexpected, it inevitably sounded a little strange the first time he heard the words. “The Tuesday Nighter” was dead. But Lorin McAllister, a man larger than life, would not soon be forgotten. And at 5-foot-6 and nearly 300 pounds, Lorin was a presence anywhere he went — you couldn’t forget a face like that — red curly hair, piercing blue eyes, and the biggest natural laugh you’ve ever heard.
“I was in my office,” Davis remembers of the call. “His wife June called, I just sat there on the phone and cried with her.”
Davis and McAllister’s friendship goes back two decades to the Show Up and Go Up shows on Tuesday nights at Comedy Caravan. It was a weekly congregating point for a tight-knit group of passionate local comics, many of whom moved on to become national headliners. “We called Lorin ‘The Tuesday Nighter’ because he never did develop a clean enough set to start getting emcee work at the club,” Davis recalls. “But he was there every Tuesday night, no matter if he was going up or not.”
The two met in the early ’90s when Davis was emceeing the Tuesday night show, and McAllister wandered over from Madison, Ind., to go on stage. That night sparked a 20-year friendship that took them on the road, performing all over the area and, of course, on Tuesday nights.
McAllister eventually stopped doing stand-up, instead pursuing his knack for television production, with the wildly popular Madison TV show “The King of Karaoke.” He also dabbled in radio in Scottsburg, but Davis says he was fired “for using the f-word on the air, on a Sunday morning, when they were playing church music.”
Honoring such a remarkable life has left his family in deep debt due to funeral costs, and that is where his comedy family stepped up. “When (June) told me about the debt, I said, ‘We can make a dent in that.’” Davis says. “And when I started calling the comics that were friends of his, and even the ones that simply remembered him, all they said was, ‘What can I do? And when do you need me?’”
They’ll all be showing up at the “Comedy For Lorin” show this Tuesday at Comedy Caravan. Comics including Mark Klein, Mike Chandler, Donna Watts, Keith McGill, Bob Batch and several more, will take the stage in tribute to an old friend. There will also be a silent auction. Everyone involved is donating their time and effort, even the club, which means all proceeds from ticket sales and auction earnings will go to the Lorin McAllister Memorial Fund. You can get tickets by contacting Jeff Davis at 758-0778. And you can get more information at the “Comedy for Lorin” Facebook page.
While the catalyst for this Show Up and Go Up all-star reunion is tragedy, the night promises to be filled with laughter. The show will celebrate Lorin’s life. The comedians will celebrate a fallen brother. But most of all, it’s an evening to celebrate a husband, a father and a friend.
Comedy For Lorin
Tuesday, Aug. 30
1250 Bardstown Road
$20 adv., $25 door; 8 p.m.