One thing every comedian will get asked to do at some point of doing stand-up is a benefit show. It’s a great way to raise money for causes. I’ve done them to help pay for essential surgeries or medical care, to raise money for good causes and even once a small cancer benefit with young children there. Never again to the last one. Being told there are teens there, no problem. Finding out there are six year olds? No thanks. I can do long clean sets, but kids not only raise that bar, you realize they won’t get any of your references even if you step around sex, alcohol, drugs or any remotely adult issue.
The set up is a bit odd on the face also, as it’s usually a serious topic. The one I did last week raised money for research into a specific genetic condition and the main organizer spoke like she was an NPR host forced to talk during nap time at a kindergarten. Very nice, but no future as a hype man. The other fun thing is that some people are really uptight, since they are there only to support the cause and not look rude for leaving as soon as the comics start talking.
It does make you feel good, though, knowing your very moving DUI joke may have in some small way helped out a cause. I must admit, I did turn down one benefit for sure. I was asked almost ten years ago to do a benefit in Cambridge, Ohio, about 2 hours straight east of where I lived. “What’s the cause?” “To help raise gas money for this couple so they can drive to D.C. and protest the War in Iraq.” Nah, I’m good. Hell, if they make it to Cambridge, they’re like 1/4 of the way there already and I don’t need to use 9 gallons of gas myself in the process.
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