Comedian to host stand-up nights in Wakefield to say 'thank you'
Being diagnosed with a terminal illness, being told you need a heart transplant and then your husband leaving you the week before Christmas....it’s not exactly the ideal inspiration for comedy.
For Mel Moon though, a 42-year-old experienced stand-up, it sparked a chain reaction of events that helped her find new love, and will see her bring a series of shows to Wakefield next month.
Despite being from across the Pennines, the East Lancashire lass has organised the events as a way of a thank you to people of the district, after helping to get her back on her feet.
Having entertained audiences for years on stage, her world was turned upside down five years ago after the birth of her third child.
She suffered a very rare complication - a spontaneous coronary artery dissection (SCAD) - a tear in the blood vessel in the heart, and had several cardiac arrests.
Mel was then told that she needed a heart transplant. To this day, she anxiously remains on the waiting list.
Surgeons are now considering a risky aneurysmectomy operation, to rebuild a new left ventricle.
She explained: “They are hoping that if it’s successful it means I will get time to find a suitable donor.
“Maybe look at a new heart somewhere down the line. A lot of people don’t realise that transplants only last about 10 or 12 years if you are lucky. Eventually the organ will fail.
“I have three children so I need those 12 years.”
While struggling to cope with her condition, her husband then turned to her one day and told her was leaving.
“It was devastating, your confidence is just zapped,” said Mel.
I was suddenly left with three kids and a death sentence. It was hell.”
Compounding the matter, lockdown then came into force.
With comedy her only escape, she began to post parodies online, and amassed a million followers.
She then met Aflie Webb online as a result, another comedian, and the pair fell in love.
When her health deteriorated further, the couple decided to tie the knot after just 10 months together.
A close friend of theirs, who lives in Wakefield, set about helping to make the big day come true and sent out an SOS to local businesses to put together their wedding day in record timing.
The pair got married on August 18 at The Grove in South Elmsall, with help from Pomfret Bridal Gowns in South Elmsall and Top Mark Suits in Pontefract, and The Counting House in Wakefield, among others.
Mel said: “All these people that had never met us made this magical day happen. I thought it would be in a registry office.
“All these people did these wonderful things for us.
“I thought they had done so many favours for us, I thought it would be good to give something back as a way of saying thank you.”
So, as series of intimate comedy shows will now begin next week at The Counting House, compered by Mel.
She said: “I can’t sit around, spending my life thinking I might not wake up tomorrow.
“I’m always at my best when I’m with my family or on stage.
“Nothing is wrong when I’m doing these two things, you get to forget yourself.”
The comedy shows will begin next week in The Counting House on Westgate.
Using her contacts, Mel has managed to pull strings and attract some of the biggest up-and-coming stars on the circuit.
And she says that intimate venues are vital to the future of comedy, rather than huge arena performances.
She said: “A lot of venues realise you do not need 2,000 seats to attract people.
“People are now less keen to be in a large room with crowds these days.
“We’ve really been fortunate to pull in top-calibre comedians for which people would pay a lot of money to see in huge venues.”
Simon Robinson, who runs The Counting House, said: “When we heard the story it struck a chord and we wanted to get involved. We want to do something more bespoke and more intimate.
“There’s nothing in Wakefield that provides this.”
Sponsored by Five Towns Radio, the first show is on November 25, with Live at the Apollo star Tom Stade, BBC New Comedy Award-winner Simon Lomas and Mad Ron.
December 2 will host Tiny Tim Bradbury, seasoned comedy club compere Ryan Gleeson and comedy musician Duncan Oakley.
December 9 will see Freddy Quinne, ‘songruiner’ Friz Frizzle and Soccer AM host Lloyd Griffith take to the stage.
Finally, December 16 will welcome Glasgow’s Liam Farrelly, best newcomer nominee Chris Washington, and The Chase’s Paul Sinha, who was a stand-up long before terrifying and outwitting people on national TV for a living.
While the run of four, weekly comedy nights will finish on December 16, a special show is planned in February.
Simon Brodkin will be bringing his ‘cheerful chav’ character Lee Nelson to The Counting House (pictured left) for an anti-Valentine comedy night. Details of that show will be released at a later date.
Meanwhile, tickets for the upcoming shows are priced at £15 and need to be bought in advance. Click here for tickets.