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Shelby's Social Diary

Irreverent comedian Jim Belushi shakes up luncheon with laughs, but no backflips

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Kemah Blair and Jim Belushi at the Christus Health luncheon March 2014
Christus Health's Kemah Blair and guest speaker Jim Belushi. Photo by © Chris Bailey
Les Cave, from left, David Doherty, Jeff Hamlin and Hunter Nelson at the Christus Health luncheon March 2014
Les Cave, from left, David Doherty, Jeff Hamlin and Hunter Nelson. Photo by © Chris Bailey
Madelyn Farris, left, and Trini Mendenhall at the Christus Health luncheon March 2014
Madelyn Farris, left, and Trini Mendenhall. Photo by © Chris Bailey
David and Amy Doherty at the Christus Health luncheon March 2014
David and Amy Doherty. Photo by © Chris Bailey
Dona Clay, from left, Lisa Doherty and Betsy and Hunter Nelson at the Christus Health luncheon March 2014
Dona Clay, from left, Lisa Doherty and Betsy and Hunter Nelson. Photo by © Chris Bailey
Nellis and Taylor Willhite at the Christus Health luncheon March 2014
Nellis and Taylor Willhite. Photo by © Chris Bailey
Carolyn Forney, from left, Steve Smith and Madelyn Farris at the Christus Health luncheon March 201 4
Carolyn Forney, from left, Steve Smith and Madelyn Farris. Photo by © Chris Bailey
Jim Belushi and Shelby Hodge at the Christus Health luncheon March 2014
Guest speaker Jim Belushi gives emcee Shelby Hodge a playful ruse. Photo by © Chris Bailey
Kemah Blair and Jim Belushi at the Christus Health luncheon March 2014
Les Cave, from left, David Doherty, Jeff Hamlin and Hunter Nelson at the Christus Health luncheon March 2014
Madelyn Farris, left, and Trini Mendenhall at the Christus Health luncheon March 2014
David and Amy Doherty at the Christus Health luncheon March 2014
Dona Clay, from left, Lisa Doherty and Betsy and Hunter Nelson at the Christus Health luncheon March 2014
Nellis and Taylor Willhite at the Christus Health luncheon March 2014
Carolyn Forney, from left, Steve Smith and Madelyn Farris at the Christus Health luncheon March 201 4
Jim Belushi and Shelby Hodge at the Christus Health luncheon March 2014

While the serious mission of the day was to raise funds for Christus Foundation for HealthCare, the luncheon at River Oaks Country Club took on a somewhat irreverent tone once Jim Belushi took the microphone.

"I feel myself a magic-chaser," he told the gathering of 550. "You know magic when you feel it, when you are present in the moment . . . I'm feeling the magic on the stage with other actors, musicians and directors, when you are totally focused in the moment."

During a question-and-answers session, foundation director Les Fox raced in Belushi's tracks as the actor/singer/writer/musician charged forth with what could have been a stand-up comedy act and more than once Belushi rose to his feet to emphasize his points. 

When asked what it was like to be a writer/actor on Saturday Night Live, Belushi responded, "It was like being in a MASH unit in 'Nam. It's the scariest thing I've ever done and the hardest thing I've ever done, even harder than divorce. It's live. It's like you can't mess up. That kind of pressure is enormous."

The luncheon honored the philanthropic Doherty family — Madelyn Doherty Farris, David Doherty and their late father, Robert Pace Doherty Jr. The sellout crowd raised $350,000 for the foundation's work of providing healthcare for those in need.

While Belushi is known for dancing on tabletops when performing with his band, the Sacred Hearts, and doing at least one backflip during a performance, he restrained from those antics, instead delivering an entertaining overview of his life.

Among those applauding Belushi and the work of Christus Foundation were Archibishop Emeritus Joseph Fiorenza, Lu Caltagirone, Steve Smith, George Farris, Harriet Foster, Trini Mendenhall, Carolyn Forney, Betsy and Hunter Nelson, Amy Doherty, Nellis and Taylor Wilhite, Jeff Hamlin and foundation president Les Cave and senior development director Kemah Blair.

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