Goodfellows

Every $5 counts in Exchange Club’s record Goodfellows gift

David Ahearn of comedy troupe Four Day Weekend hands an award and a $5 bill to Robert L. Ginsberg in recognition of his $5 donation last year at the Exchange Club’s Goodfellows fundraising luncheon. Ginsberg gave $1,005 at this year’s luncheon on Wednesday, Dec. 9, 2015
David Ahearn of comedy troupe Four Day Weekend hands an award and a $5 bill to Robert L. Ginsberg in recognition of his $5 donation last year at the Exchange Club’s Goodfellows fundraising luncheon. Ginsberg gave $1,005 at this year’s luncheon on Wednesday, Dec. 9, 2015 Star-Telegram

A Fort Worth highway number is now a punch line.

The Four Day Weekend comedy troupe drew laughs Wednesday at a charity luncheon with every mention of “I-35.”

At the annual Exchange Club of Fort Worth holiday party-roast, comedian David Wilk dressed as ventriloquist’s dummy “Little Mikey Moncrief,” ribbing the former mayor in the Fort Worth Club audience of about 100 civic leaders.

“How many years did you have to fix that?” comedy partner Troy Grant asked as “Vinnie the Ventriloquist,” joking that Mayor Betsy Price promotes bicycling because traffic is so fouled up “it’s the only way you can get around.”

Moncrief and other newsmakers were targeted as always for old-school needling as the club raised a record $150,005 at its 80th annual charity party for the Star-Telegram Goodfellow Fund.

Besides “I-35,” club members laughed at other numbers.

There was “$5.” And “the price of oil.”

Attorney Robert L. Ginsburg joked that he would repeat his $5 gift of last year, then promised to make it $1,005 as emcee and Chief Extractor George Young Jr. prodded members to break last year’s record.

Not until later did anyone know that Ginsburg’s extra $5 pushed the day’s total past the 2014 record $150,000.

For the second year, club planners turned to Four Day Weekend for expert professional comedy leadership.

Wilk and Four Day’s David Ahearn gave club members tongue-in-cheek Goodfellows “ ’Felly Awards,” including a “Good Neighbor” award spoofing bickering Stockyards developers and a “Promotional Guru” award to landowner Crawford Edwards for the understated (and nearly nonexistent) signage to the new Clearfork development and the family ranch.

Texas Christian University Chancellor Victor Boschini was teased for the university’s new $2.4 million chancellor’s quarters, with Four Day Weekend comedian Oliver Tull in a hardhat and overalls as “Oliver Hardcastle,” the “construction foreman.”

The mansion includes an extra driveway and “drive-through beer store,” Tull explained: “So the football team doesn’t have to steal it from the frats.”

By show’s end, the club hadn’t set a record. So Young directed a Fort Worth Club staffer: “Shut the door! Nobody leaves till I’m through.”

Two young assistants offered neck and shoulder massages for donations, but members voluntarily started waving checks.

Wildcatter Dick Lowe drew one of the biggest laughs. When Young asked him to increase his donation, Lowe grinned, held out his hands and replied jokingly, “Do you know what’s happened to the price of oil?”

It’s at a seven-year low. But Lowe still added an extra $2,500 check.

With oil sinking and the local economy in an off-year, the members of the Exchange Club nevertheless broke the all-time record.

The total of $150,005 is the single largest gift in their 80 years of generous support. That’s an average gift of $1,500 per lunch guest, enough in one hour alone to provide school clothes and shoes for 3,000 low-income Tarrant County children.

Those are serious numbers.

Bud Kennedy: 817-390-7538, bud@star-telegram.com, @BudKennedy. His column appears Sundays, Wednesdays and Fridays.

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