Taking a Comedic Stand

Stand Up to Stop Violence, Fox Tucson Theatre, Sept. 9

It has been many years since the local comedy duo Bob and Bob performed onstage. However, they're returning from their hiatus to perform at the second annual Stand Up to Stop Violence fundraiser.

The show benefits the Emerge! Center Against Domestic Abuse, an organization that works to prevent domestic abuse, and the Blair Charity Group, which funds basketball scholarships to at-risk youth and assists other local nonprofit organizations.

"Elliot (Glicksman) called me and asked me if I wanted to come see the show, because he was going to do standup," said Nick Seivert, one half of Bob and Bob. "Then he said, 'Wait a minute. Why don't we write new material, and do Bob and Bob?' And I said, 'Sure!'"

Seivert and Glicksman met in the early '80s through a mutual friend. When the two realized they shared an admiration for classic comedy acts, such as Bob and Ray, they decided to give it a try.

"When I met Elliot, he made me laugh until I cried," Seivert said. "He was, really, a funny guy. And I came from a theater background, so I said, 'Yeah, sure. Let's try it.'" They formed Bob and Bob, and went around town doing Saturday Night Live-style sketches.

After a few years as Bob and Bob, the duo went their separate ways. Seivert started working for a local theater, and Glicksman began doing solo standup shows, even opening for Jerry Seinfeld back in the '90s. Glicksman also is a lawyer, "so he has been lawyering," Seivert said. But the thought of doing comedy together again has re-energized them, and they are ready to make people laugh at Stand Up to Stop Violence.

Susan Agrillo, aka comedian Suzie Sexton, came up with the idea for the event. She began planning last year's Stand Up to Stop Violence after the Jan. 8, 2011, shootings in which six people were killed, and then-U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords was among the 13 wounded.

"I remember Gabby Giffords' husband, Mark Kelly, said he wanted something positive to come out from such a tragedy," said Agrillo, who has been doing standup for about three years. "So that made me want to pursue the comedy show and have something positive come out from such a horrible tragedy."

Agrillo gathered some of the best local comedians for a sold-out show at Laffs Comedy Caffé. All money raised went to fund local organizations that help prevent violence.

Agrillo, who also is a city prosecutor, said she became an advocate for violence prevention after her sister was murdered 30 years ago.

"Laughter is really important, even after a tragedy," Agrillo said. "People need to have hope. And with laughter, there is hope."

When Agrillo is not onstage spilling her thoughts on Internet dating, sex or religion, she handles domestic-abuse cases that often involve people taking refuge at Emerge! The organization has emergency shelters for women and children who are trying to escape a violent environment. It also offers classes in preventing domestic abuse, and provides legal and financial help to victims.

"We help people create a new life free from violence," said Kimberly Thompson, vice president of philanthropy at Emerge! "We help them rediscover their own strength and support them as they start a new journey free from abuse."

Agrillo started preparing for this year's event about six months ago. She contacted some of the comedians who participated in last year's fundraiser, including Glicksman, David Fitzsimmons and Gary Hood. Eric O'Shea, known for his award-wining college standup shows, will be the headliner.

Last week, Agrillo held an audition for University of Arizona students who wanted the opportunity to do standup at the event. The winner was Harrison Lehrman, a junior majoring in psychology.

Seivert said he and Glicksman have been rehearsing their new Bob and Bob material for the past few weeks. "I'm really looking forward to the event, working with Elliot again, and spotlighting a great cause."

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