Comedian awaiting heart transplant headlines at local comedy gig

An award-winning comedian who is still active on the comedy circuit despite waiting for a heart transplant, heads a line up of laughter makers at a charity stand-up gig in Warwick next month.

Mel Moon, from Burnley, will oversee the laughs, which are being delivered by four comedians from across the country – Damon Conlan from Walsall; Samantha Day, from Watford; Sam Rhodes from London and Matt Trimble, from Worcester.

The gig takes place at Warwickspace in Coten End on July 31st, marking the long-awaited return of charity stand-up events organised by the Comedy at Work creatives Anne Docherty from Kenilworth and Mark Hinds from Warwick.

Damon Conlan, Mel Moon, Comedy at Work, Helping Hands
Damon Conlan

It was just as her promising comedy career was taking off in 2017, that Mel suffered chronic heart failure – only days after the birth of her youngest child.

Her relationship broke down and she found herself now a single mum of three and suffering from Left Ventricular Systolic Dysfyunction and Cardiomyopathy, conditions she describes as a ‘death sentence’ hanging over her.

Matt Trimble, Damon Conlan, Mel Moon, Comedy at Work, Helping Hands
Matt Trimble

She is kept alive by a defibrillator device fitted to her heart but, due to a deterioration in her condition throughout the pandemic, has now been put forward for an LVAD (Left Ventricular Assist Device) – an external mechanical pump which relieves the pressure on the heart until a transplant date comes around.

Mel Moon, Comedy at Work, Helping Hands
Mel Moon with her third son Sonny in 2017

“There was a health event that occurred in each of my pregnancies which increased in severity. My body was telling me to stop having kids and I ignored it.

“Polyglandular Failure was diagnosed several months after Riley, my second son, was born.

“Most pregnant women felt better once they’d delivered but I felt a million times worse and I couldn’t understand why that was. It was a very scary chain of events involving me nearly dying and having an adrenal crisis. But even at that point they didn’t link it to pregnancy.

“Then I recall one day a consultant from London told me that ‘some women just aren’t meant to have children.’ They’re not built for it,’ he said. Looking back, they had all been red flags but until the heart failure, nobody connected them. As soon as they were connected I was immediately sterilised and that was that.”

She added: “We are effectively running out of time. I had shown a marked deterioration in my health over the Covid period. The idea behind the LVAD is to get you strong enough to withstand the heart transplant which is very taxing on the body, and to get your arteries in good condition.

“But I am all too aware that I could die at any second and I don’t know when. How do you even begin to prepare for that? I can’t put it into words. All I can do is take it a day at a time.”

Hard to imagine then that Mel has much to laugh about. Yet it’s her dark sense of humour that she credits with getting her through every adversity life’s thrown at her to date.

Samantha Day, Damon Conlan, Mel Moon, Comedy at Work, Helping HandsA professional comedian for more than 10 years, she was tipped for success and has won plaudits for her one-woman show at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival called Sick Girl – of which a TV pilot still lurks in the wings – and she has appeared live alongside such greats as Jack Whitehall, Sarah Millican, Jason Manford and Russell Brand.

But one of her personal highlights is her appearance at the same venue as her comedy inspiration, the late great Victoria Wood.

It was in this spirit that she kept millions of people entertained in lockdowns with her hit satirical series, Personalised Pop – parody sketches and songs lambasting everything from Donald Trump and Boris Johnson to social distancing and Brexit.

She said: “I don’t remember a time in my life when I didn’t have humour to get me through. My own adversities have unquestionably made my comedy better. Nearly dying was the biggest one. It made me less cynical even though it was at a time when I should have felt most angry with the world and made me appreciate the beauty of humanity which I’d never really seen before. It then let me get closer to humanity and spot the hilarious things that people say and do. I love satire.

“I do a gig and then I’m in bed for three days. But it’s about remembering who I am and thinking, one day I’ll be her again – or even a better version.”

Mel Moon, Comedy at Work, Helping Hands
Comedy at Work founders Anne Docherty and Mark Hinds. Photo by David Fawbert Photography.

As well as bringing stand-up to venues across the country in support of local charities, Comedy at Work hosts a series of workshops for all ages, all with comedy and wellbeing at their heart – from school leavers and graduates support through to team building, corporate training and even wedding speech coaching.

During lockdown they successfully transitioned their workshops online but have already seen a huge demand for tickets for the first of their returning face to face comedy nights in venues across the region.

Mark Hinds said: “We are so excited to get back to live events. With great crowds and excellent comedians. The extending of lockdown rules threw a small spanner in the works but, we are working hard within the rules to still put on great events and raise much-needed funds for all the charities that we work with.

“To be working with such a fantastic charity as Helping Hands is a real privilege for Anne and myself. We’ve secured a great line up and we know that the laughs are guaranteed.”

Visit: https://www.comedyatwork.com/ for further information or to book.

Sam Rhodes, Damon Conlan, Mel Moon, Comedy at Work, Helping Hands

Some of the proceeds from the night will benefit Leamington charity Helping Hands which supports the vulnerable through a host of local community initiatives in areas including homelessness, addiction, mental health, unemployment, housing, rehabilitation, food banks and domestic violence.

Fundraising Officer Leila Gough said: “The past 15 months have been difficult and challenging for us all and for those most vulnerable the impact has been devastating. Having lost the ability to host our fundraising events has been difficult, not only for the vital funds that are raised, but also for the human interactions that are so essential to us all for our mental wellbeing.

“We are delighted to be hosting our first public fundraising event in conjunction with Comedy at Work as we feel that a social event where laughter and enjoyment of being out with loved ones is definitely needed.”

More information about the charity can be found at: https://www.helpinghandshomecare.co.uk/

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *