Laugh for Good Causes

A dose of laughter may just help heal wounds caused by the horrible events of Jan. 8.

Stand Up to Stop Violence, a comedy fundraiser, will take place at Laffs Comedy Caffé on Sunday, May 1.

"Laughter is the best medicine, and it's not a cliché," said Laffs' Gary Hood.

Hood said the events of Jan. 8—when six people were killed, and 13 others, including U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, were injured in a shooting rampage—brought home the truthfulness of that phrase.

That night, Hood said, people called Laffs all day, saying, "Please tell me your show is not going to be cancelled tonight." People were mourning, and they wanted laughter to help them make sense of the senseless act.

"Nobody mentioned the events of that day," Hood said about the shows on Jan. 8. "But people were stopping me and saying, 'Thanks for having the show.'"

Now, almost four months have passed, and Hood said it is important to bring that spirit back—especially because the donation dollars have stopped rolling in at such a healthy pace.

All proceeds from ticket sales will go to two nonprofits with a focus on limiting violence: the Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence, which "works to reform the gun industry by enacting and enforcing sensible regulations to reduce gun violence, including regulations governing the gun industry"; and the Emerge! Center Against Domestic Abuse, which operates two Tucson emergency centers and runs a number of other programs that aid victims of abuse and promote efforts to stop abuse.

"It is direct action locally, where you know where the money goes," he said about Stand Up to Stop Violence. "It's easier than being on TV in the middle of the night with a picture of somebody saying, 'Please help.'"

Laffs, Hood said, has always been focused on the community, but "with what happened in January, that just kind of put a booster rocket on" creating an event like Stand Up to Stop Violence. He said he hopes that Stand Up to Stop Violence will become a recurring event.

Local attorney Elliot Glicksman and David Fitzsimmons, the Arizona Daily Star's political cartoonist, will emcee the event. Laffs regular Suzie Sexton is slated to perform a set, as are Tom Potter, Hood and Joey Giron. According to the news release, local bands Maggie May, and Clue and the Mystery will also take the stage.

Suzie Sexton was a driving force behind the production, Hood said, but "an outpouring of support for the community" has been the true inspiration for them to put together the show.

"And it's so easy to do that," he said. "Just open the room, sell it out, tell jokes, get the money and give it to that cause. How cool is that? How easy is that?"

If the house sells out, that's $3,000 or $4,000 that will go toward the two causes, according to Hood.

"That a nice little something to put together in two hours," Hood said.

Hood jokes about topical issues, like: How come Moammar Gadhafi, as ruler of his country, only managed to attain the rank of colonel?

Hood will also discuss how wacky the world is— and how that wackiness can help make the night special.