CHICAGO (CBS) — Fans of the late comedienne Gilda Radner don’t have to worry about the cancer support network Gilda’s Club Chicago changing its name like its counterpart in Madison, Wis.
Gilda’s Club Madison has decided to change its name to Cancer Support Community Southwest Wisconsin, saying most young people don’t know who Gilda Radner was.
Gilda’s Clubs are support communities for cancer victims and their families and friends, and were named after Radner, a founding cast member of Saturday Night Live, and an alum of the Second City comedy troupe in Chicago.
WBBM Newsradio’s Mike Krauser reports Gilda’s Club Chicago CEO LauraJane Hyde said the Chicago club will keep its name honoring Radner.
Hyde said Radner’s reaction would probably mirror that of her Saturday Night Live character Roseanne Roseannadanna: “It just goes to show you, it’s always something. If it’s not one thing, it’s another.”
“She would totally view it with humor,” Hyde said. “I could see Emily Litella, I could see a lot of her characters responding in a very appropriate way, because it is pretty silly.”
Hyde noted Radner, who died from ovarian cancer in 1989, also used humor to cope with her cancer.
“I think that is one of the tenets that has really helped the club grow. People come, and they can laugh, they can cry,” Hyde said.
LISTEN: WBBM Newsradio’s Mike Krauser Reports
Hyde said the name change for Gilda’s Club Madison struck a chord with a lot of people.
“It evokes a lot of emotion in people, and I think that’s part of what makes our brand so great. People loved her, and that makes what we do accessible to people, because at the end of the day nobody wants to need the services that we provide, and yet so many people do,” Hyde said. “When she died, I think it was hard for a lot of people. They really felt that they knew her, and they’d lost a friend. … People loved her. She was your sister, she was your best friend, she was your pal.”
Hyde said Radner is still essential to the mission of helping cancer patients and their families.