Dressed to the nines
Photo left: Dr. Darrell Menard (left) and Mayor Pierre Leroux compare outfits during the roast fundraiser. Photo right: Roast organizers depicted Dr. Menard’s waiting room in a hilarious gag using skeletons.    Van Dusen photos

Tom Van Dusen
Villager Contributor
RUSSELL – After five hours on the spit, Dr. Darrell Menard was roasted to a turn Saturday night by several “friends” from various parts of his life including family members who had no trouble finding material from which to draw.

The roasters and other Menard fans filled the Embrun Community Centre, enjoying libations, snacks, jazz music, live auction, and a parade of acerbic commentators welcomed to the stage by tuxedoed host Len Trembley as Menard looked on from a representation of his waiting room, sharing space with two skeletons who’d obviously been waiting a long time to get in to see him. The audience contained several Menard look-a-likes wandering the room dressed outrageously with the doc’s trademark knapsack on their backs.

Perhaps the most cutting critic was Janet Menard who left not a single item of soiled private laundry publicly unwashed as she recalled decades of rolling with the surreal life of being married to Menard. The couple have three adult children who’ve been cursed with much of their dad’s irreverence.

One of the zaniest characters Russell has ever produced, the good doc is known for his quirky habits and love of public “cross-dressing”. The excuse for the “Roasted Doc a la Menard” fundraiser organized by the Kin Club of Russell was the fact he has retired from his family practice, continuing in sports medicine out of his home office in Russell Village.

The Menard roast collected $25,000 towards a future aqua centre which has yet to be approved – or even considered – by Russell Township council. However, the Kin Club has built something of a track record for pushing community projects along as witnessed by the new Sports Dome.

Another “cross-dresser” of note, Russell Township Mayor Pierre Leroux, came to the stage decked out in a suit and tie crisscrossed with colourful comic book slogans. Leroux blames an early meeting with Menard for instilling his love of the wacky outfits that, like his mentor, have become a personal trademark.

However, there was no way he was going to outdo the doc who on this night was done up in a pink cowboy hat, pink cummerbund, tuxedo jacket festooned with badges and collector buttons, and the pièce de résistance… skin-tight yellow and blue Lycra pants. The entire ensemble was a typical Menard eye-straining hodgepodge.

Dressed in look-alike gear, Kin stalwart Seb Pilon did a bang-on impression of Menard power-walking his way through the village with his knapsack on his back, picking up metal scrap for recycling and issuing glad tidings everywhere he goes. A questionable character named Eddie with an unruly mop of hair and severe dental issues took to the stage and attacked Menard-Don Rickles style. He described himself as one of Menard’s former Queen’s University professors but Kin kingpin Doug Anthony, who seemed to know Eddie intimately, said he was in fact an escapee from a Kingston mental hospital.

In thanking the room for all the love directed his way, Menard took the high road; he kept it short and positive, and resisted insulting his antagonists.