"My side is killing me from laughing," said one woman as she left the White Wolf Restaurant on Saturday evening. Others were seen dabbing tears out of the corners of their eyes as they rose out of their seats. What caused such an uproar here in the quaint town of Wawarsing? Was it the full moon? Had these fine people simply gone mad?
No, it was the antics of the legendary comedian Floyd Vivino aka Uncle Floyd, who paid an unforgettable visit to the White Wolf Restaurant for a fundraiser to benefit the Ellenville Area Arts Alliance.
Uncle Floyd isn't just some relative who happened to suddenly drop by, but a comedian and icon from the bygone era of the Borscht Belt hotels. When Kutcher's was in its heyday Uncle Floyd was making the crowds reel with laughter.
Floyd was also the host of a long running comedy show on both radio and television up until the 1970s, which attracted an almost cult-like following of fans including Brian Shapiro, Councilman for the Town of Woodstock and former president of the Uncle Floyd Fan Club in the 1980s; Shapiro attended Saturday's show.
Uncle Floyd, standing at 5'3" and wearing a checkered coat, matching hat and black bow tie entertained nearly one hundred supporters of the Art Alliance, including Mayor Jeff Kaplan and Director of Visual Arts Judy Sigunick. Uncle Floyd's jokes touched on the simplicity of life around here "in the country" and turned the obvious and unusual into sources of humor.
Barbara and Gary Hoff were part of the group that helped organize the fundraising event.
"When we first moved to Cragsmoor we would listen to Uncle Floyd on the radio," said Hoff. "He recently performed in Monticello and we thought, 'wouldn't it be great to have him up here?'" Hoff then called his agent and arranged for the show.
Opening up for Uncle Floyd was the Ellenville Journal's very own Joe "Bev" Bevilacqua, who has also had a long and successful career in the comedy and media business. "Joe Bev" currently has his own show on XM Satellite radio, which is taped in Napanoch. Bev has mentored with Daws Butler, the voice of animated favorites such as Yogi Bear, Huckleberry Hound and Elroy Jetson. Coincidently, "Bev" seemed to have had a long-time feud with Uncle Floyd sometime in the 1970s and finally had a chance to meet again on the same stage.
"I happened to have said that Uncle Floyd stinked on the air and soon they were throwing darts at my pictures down at his station," said Bevilacqua, dressed in full ranger regalia.
The show continued until twilight, allowing just enough time for Uncle Floyd to greet his loving fans, hop in his car and head back to the Bronx – while leaving most of Napanoch laughing.
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