Star-studded SCTV reunion raises funds for Ian Thomas's son
'Take off, eh' benefit includes performances by Dave Thomas, Rick Moranis, Martin Short and more
Some of the biggest names in Canadian comedy are returning to the stage together to help out a family in need.
Dave Thomas and Rick Moranis will reprise their iconic roles as SCTV's Bob and Doug McKenzie, alongside Martin Short, Eugene Levy, Dan Aykroyd and several members of the Kids in the Hall for an all-star benefit for musician Ian Thomas's son Jake and Spinal Cord Injury Ontario at the Second City Theatre in Toronto on July 18.
"This event — I don't think I've seen as many Canadian names on the same stage like this for years," Ian Thomas told CBC News. "I'm deeply touched by all this love and kindness."
Thomas's son Jake, a 44-year-old father of four, severed his spinal cord in a snowmobiling accident on Jan. 7. He's now paralyzed from the waist down.
The filmmaker and former professional water skier is in "intense neurological pain 24/7," said Thomas, a Hamilton native who is best known for his 1973 hit Painted Ladies.
"This is a really tough road to hoe," he said. "But when I'm with him, it's like there's nothing wrong. He's an exceptional young man, and very brave. We're just trying to follow his lead."
Not content to see the younger Thomas struggle, his uncle Dave and his iconic friends are doing what they can to help.
"It was Marty that started it all," the elder Thomas said, recounting the memories he'd built with the SCTV crew and their compatriots over the years — whether it was Short and Eugene Levy posing as family when his first daughter was born so they could see her in the hospital, or former Letterman bandleader Paul Shaffer calling him from a New York deli when Painted Ladies first rang out on the jukebox.
"There's always been these wonderful little connections over the years," Thomas said. "Certainly for a while there, they had the feel of extended family."
SCTV became engrained in Canadian culture when it ran between 1976 and 1984. The profoundly innovative show helped launch the careers of stars like the late John Candy, as well as Short and Levy, and even helped cement "eh" in Canadian speech, thanks to the beer-swilling McKenzie brothers.
The benefit show actually marks the first McKenzie brothers appearance since a 2007 CBC special.
"Rick is basically coming out of retirement to do this for my son," Thomas said. "There's a sense of extended family here that is quite potent."
Thomas is also excited to see his brother Dave in action. "He's got this sneaky kind of mischievousness to his sense of humour that makes me laugh," he said. "There's still this cheeky kid in him that refuses to go away."
A GoFundMe crowdfunding page was launched for Thomas shortly after his accident, and has so far raised just under $200,000 towards a $500,000 goal.
The show's organizers say proceeds from the event will go directly to Thomas and his family, as well as to Spinal Cord Injury Ontario, to provide support to other people with spinal cord injuries.
Tickets aren't cheap — they start at $500 and go on sale on Monday, June 12 at 10 a.m.
For more information on the show and tickets, visit The Second City website.