Really? According to the above Gawker article, the group did this because a lot of their younger patients were born after Gilda died, and don't know who she is, and "We want to make sure that what we are is clear to them and that there's not a lot of confusion that would cause people not to come in our doors."
I went to the University of Texas. The business school there is named The Red McCombs School of Business to honor the man who made a lot of money selling cars and giving it to the school of business so people would remember his name after he died. He's still alive and kicking, but is UT going to change the name twenty years after he passes to avoid confusion? Is anyone going to say, "Oh, I wanted to major in business, but I was confused by the names so I ended up with this liberal arts degree because the liberal arts school isn't named after anyone because no one ever got rich enough off their liberal arts degree to endow a college"?
Gilda Radner was one of the original cast members of Saturday Night Live. She was hilarious. Here, watch some of these video clips:
Let's Talk Dirty to the Animals
With her dog on Letterman
Society For Stupid People
If you've got Spotify, listen to her album Live From New York. You remember Gilda, don't you? And if you'd never heard of her, aren't you now glad you have? My friend Jill (an amazingly talented comedian) did a one-woman show all about Gilda Radner and what an inspiration she was to her. Jill now lives in New York, writes for the onion, and makes people laugh online. And she's just this one person I happen to know who was inspired by Gilda Radner. She wasn't the first, and I hope to god that we're not anywhere near to the last.
See, when you name something after someone, you're honoring them. You're giving them a chance to mean something to the world long after they leave it. Whoever named that cancer support group recognized that Radner had done something important in the world. And yes sometimes people's reputations tarnish over the years or legacies become embarrassments--I went to Robert E. Lee Junior High, home of the fighting Rebels and that's a little fucked up--but that's not the case here. Gilda Radner is still as funny and complicated and talented and amazing as she always was. Her work and her life still has the capacity to inspire people and give hope to budding comedians and cancer survivors alike. Maybe Gilda would want to have been known for her comedy more than her cancer. But I'm pretty damn sure she would have wanted young women with cancer to get all the help they can. More than anything I bet she wanted to be remembered at all. And she would have wanted someone to go into those doors, into Gilda's club, and ask "Why is this called Gilda's club?" And she would have wanted the person at the front desk to lean forward and say, "You've never heard of Gilda Radner? She was a comedienne, she was an actress, she was amazing. She died of cancer. She would have wanted you to live and to be amazing. Here, watch these video clips:"