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Wednesday, March 13,2013

Laugh in

Comedy event good for funny bone, charity

by Hélène Dryden

Thursday, Oct. 18 — Comedy Central and YouTube are where most folks get their daily dose of funny, but it’s easy to forget about the homegrown humor in your own backyard. 


There's something to be said about live and local comedy shows that offer live and local laughter — especially if it’s for a good cause. This Friday at The Avenue Caf' in Lansing, comedian Melik Brown has created just that: a night of comedy to benefit the Women’s Center of Greater Lansing.


For the past seven years, the Women’s Center has put on a fundraiser called “She Laughs,” which features female comedians. After making a connection with Brown, executive director Cindie Alwood asked him if he would like to put on an all-male version of the benefit.


A male version “She Laughs” “was something people had been asking for, but I don’t have the time or the connections,” Alwood said. “Having Melik involved has been really great because he knows everybody.”

Brown recently organized a series of comedy events at Sir Pizza Grand Caf' in Old Town, so he knows the formula for what makes a good show. This time he’s added a few tricks.

“I wanted it to be more than just a comedy show,” Brown said. “We have a DJ that is interactive to the show, so if the comedian references a subject or a song the DJ has the ability to play it like a call back.”


But this isn’t your average list of Lansing jokesters. Brown said that a few of the men don’t do stand-up too often.


“I think the dichotomy of having people doing things outside their profession is going to make people interested in seeing this,” Brown said. If that isn’t enough to draw the crowd, the support it provides for the Women’s Center is sure to encourage a good turn out.


The Women’s Center offers workshops and support groups to help promote women’s wellness and physical, mental and emotional health. Events like this are one of center’s the largest sources of funding (100 percent of the donations from “He Laughs” will go to the center).


Alwood says it’s the best way to get funding because not only does it benefit the center but it is also a great way to get people together.

“For two hours you get to hang out with some really funny people and have a nice time all for a great cause,” she said. “Who doesn’t want that?”


Brown agrees, and says he believes that the feeling of a live comedy show is unbeatable.


“When you’re watching (comedy) on TV, they are putting their best stuff forward,” Brown said. “It’s edited, they’ve added laugh tracks — they’ve enhanced the show. But when you are in the same room and are a part of that energy, you can’t explain that to anyone else. You have to be there. You have to experience that energy. It’s like going to a rock concert.”


“He Laughs”

Oct. 19

7 p.m.

The Avenue Caf'

2021 E. Michigan Ave., Lansing

$20 (suggested donation; tickets can be purchased at the Women's Center of Greater Lansing or at womenscenterofgreaterlansing.org.)

517-372-9163

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