Dallas' comedy community is rallying around comedian Larry Campbell, whose family lost everything in a four-alarm apartment building fire on Jan. 25.
"I'm just really overwhelmed by everyone's kindness and support," Campbell tells the Observer over Facebook Messenger. "I knew I wasn't a scumbag, but I had no idea that many comics liked me. But I do know that this scene is supportive in ways it doesn't get credit for."
Campbell lived at the three-story Sable Ridge apartment complex in North Dallas. Campbell, his wife and his daughter
"It just devastated me when I heard about it," says friend and fellow comedian Billy McFarland. "When it's a friend and they lose everything, it just kills you."
Campbell's wife, Davlin, posted the news of the fire on her Facebook page and started a fundraising drive on YouCaring.com. Dallas comedians began sharing the fundraiser, which was eventually posted on the DFW Comedians Facebook group.
The Campbells were able to meet their $5,000 goal in less than a day, and the page has raised more than $6,000 from 118 supporters.
"We are overwhelmed with the incredible amount of generosity of our friends, family, and strangers," Davlin wrote on the YouCaring page two days after the fire. "We have clothes, food, and a place to live for now. We couldn’t have coped with this tragedy without all of your unbelievable support."
Comedian Ryan Perrio says anyone who knows Campbell isn't surprised at the response. "He's definitely a great person,"
Campbell is known in the Dallas comedy community as a high-energy comedian who reliably makes other comedians laugh.
"He does a lot of comedy with his heart,"
Campbell carries this persona on and off the stage, McFarland says.
"He's a million dollars walking around," he says. "He is a caricature of himself. He is nonstop talking. He will take the most absurd argument, and he sticks by it. He
McFarland recalls a instances when Campbell gave him a ride when his car was in the shop and that Campbell "bailed me out of jail once even."
"He's got a heart of gold," McFarland says. "One of the weirdest things is that he's an atheist, but he lives more of a Christian life than the people who go to church. He's got a sense of right and wrong, and he doesn't stray from it."
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"He's tired, but he still has this indomitable spirit,"
Campbell says he could never have bounced back so quickly without the support of Dallas' comedy community.
"Words can never express my gratefulness," Campbell writes. "It’s extremely stressful still but tremendously lessened by all the help."