It’s been an exciting past few days for Denis Leary. Not only are his beloved Red Sox once again World Series champions, but the Worcester native is also in the middle of preparing for one of his favorite annual gigs, Comics Come Home.
For nearly a quarter of a century, Leary has teamed up with his comedy pals for a night of fun and laughs at the TD Garden, all to raise funds for The Cam Neely Foundation for Cancer Care. While Leary has a treasure trove of great memories from Comics Come Home over the years, one of his most cherished moments actually came at last year’s event.
Denis Leary teases ‘huge surprise’ for Comics Come Home
For fans who didn’t get a chance to attend, Leary surprised the audience—and Jimmy Fallon—by bringing John Mayer on stage during their performance of Aerosmith’s “Walk This Way.” According to the comedian, “The Tonight Show” host was just as shocked as everyone else in the building when Mayer joined them for the closing number.
“He had no idea,” Leary tells Metro. “I busted his balls afterwards because he’s such a pro normally, but he was so shocked he stopped singing. Now I have to sing that next verse all by myself – and that’s a tough song to sing.”
“I’m singing for the next verse, and he’s still not coming in,” he adds. “It took him like a full two verses to recover from the John Mayer shock.”
A lot of work went in to pulling off the surprise, as Leary had to coordinate to with his band and the venue’s security in order to make sure that no one knew about Mayer, who just happened to be in town for a show with Dead & Company. The hard work was worth it, though, just to see the reaction on the faces of Fallon and the crowd.
“That to me is like Halloween or Christmas,” says Leary. “The double take that Fallon did and then the crowd reaction, I just turned around and looked at my drummer Charlie Roth, and the two of us, we’re in the middle of the song, we have these big smiles on our faces like little kids.”
“I always remember that kind of stuff,” he adds. “I feel like Santa Claus when those things happen.”
The cameo by Mayer isn’t Leary’s first Comics Come Home surprise, nor will it be his last. The comedian recalls another special appearance when he was able to surprise his Aerosmith-loving guitarist and late friend Adam Roth by bringing Joe Perry on stage to perform.
Looking ahead to this year’s event, which will take over the TD Garden on Saturday night, Leary admits that he has another big surprise in store, this time for the show’s opening number.
“It really is along the line of the John Mayer story,” says Leary. “It’s going to be a huge surprise, I think for the audience, but also it’s going to be a huge surprise for a celebrity that’s going to be in the room.”
“We have a great opening number which is sort of about a Boston icon that we’re very excited about,” he adds. “This year’s opening tune will be one of a kind.”
As for the 25th anniversary show in 2019, Leary hasn’t done too much planning for it yet, but assures fans that it will definitely happen. When it comes to specifics, he usually waits until the Comics Come Home afterparty to discuss the following year’s event with Cam Neely, as per tradition.
Leary gives Neely “all the credit” for coming up with the idea for Comics Come Home all those years ago, and can’t wait to get working on the 25th anniversary show.
“For us, it’s a party,” Leary says. “I thank god Cam that came up with this idea years ago, because for me, it’s the most fun charity event you can have.”
If you go:
Nov. 3, 8 p.m., TD Garden, 100 Legends Way, Boston, $49.50+, tdgarden.com