Using comedy for the benefit of others is a force multiplier for good.
Sometimes I’ll perform pro bono for a cause I like or for friends (and causes they like). Other times nonprofit organizations hire me to put the fun(ny) in their fundraising events. Sometimes, I’ll split the difference and give a smaller nonprofit my charity rate.
I wish I could do all shows for free, but that’s not practical (or financially prudent). Plus, when there’s a price tag on your performance, both the performer and the event organizer work to fulfill each other’s expectations.
In any case, a good thing done well is a great feeling and I one I always strive for. The other night, I “worked” with a long-time friend who gave me the gift of a show (and a little ego boost) in exchange for my gift of time and comedy. I got to open the show and close it. Yes, I was my own opening act.
He counted on me to anchor an anything-can-happen variety show filled with (mostly) amateur performers of song and story. In true showbiz fashion, there were even some last-minute backstage crises to deal with.
I opened the show to a nice response, and the middle was filled with a diverse line-up that made the evening a win for both the audience and performers. My closing set went better than the beginning and the audience welcomed me back like an old friend.
Being paid in laughter—when the bills are already mailed—is a great feeling.