The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA

Local News

April 18, 2014

Comedy night targets serious problem

JOHNSTOWN — Animal advocates are using comedy to take aim at a serious problem.

The third annual Funny Fundraiser to benefit the Nardecchia Spay and Neuter Fund will be held at 8 p.m. May 16 at Ace’s, 316 Chestnut St. in the Cambria City section of Johnstown.

Doors will open at 6 so guests can have dinner that will include a variety of dishes such as pigs in a blanket, roast chicken, old-fashioned coleslaw, Sweet Carolina Chili, haluski and taco salad.

Proceeds from the comedy night will be used as financial assistance for Cambria and Somerset county residents who otherwise could not afford to have their cat or dog spayed or neutered.

Event coordinator Michelle Robatin called the evening a great night where people can get out and have a good laugh to support a good cause.

“Our group works hard all year long raising much-needed money to help our local area pets and strays get fixed,” she said. “We want to prevent so many that die in shelters and out on the streets because there are not enough homes to go around.”

Comedians David Kaye, Tom Anzalone and Mike Stankiewicz will take the stage to amuse the audience.

“We want people to be aware the comedy is rated PG-13,” Robatin said.

“I think most people would be surprised at how few people have seen live, stand-up comedy,” said Kaye, a Pittsburgh resident has been doing comedy for over three decades. “When you are in a comedy club setting surrounded by other people laughing at a routine, it becomes infectious and laughter begets laughter.”

Kaye said a three-dimensional experience is more enjoyable than watching comedy on a flat screen.

 Kaye enjoys sharing tales of his dysfunctional family and his blue-collar upbringing in Pittsburgh.

His credits include performances for Fortune 500 company events, nightclubs and colleges throughout the country.

Kaye has appeared on Comedy Central and at the Funny Bone and Improv comedy clubs.

Anzalone is a talented “International Musical Comedian” who turns his ability to sing and play guitar into a hilarious musical-comedy revue.

He began his career performing in musicals and operas while pursuing his stand-up comedy routine.

Anzalone’s impressions and parodies range from Elvis to Michael Jackson.

Stankiewicz is the evening’s feature comedian. He has appeared in nearly every comedy venue in the United States to deliver his Rust Belt comedy.

“Most comics take the stage prepared to do a routine, but every set is different as we gauge the mood of the audience and tweak it as we go,” he said.

The Johnstown-based Nar­decchia nonprofit organization was founded in 1998 by Ruth Luther of Johnstown.

“In addition to the comedy show, we will have as many as 20 baskets for a raffle,” Robatin said. “Complimentary snacks of popcorn, chips and pretzels will be available on each table.”

Because of fundraisers like this, the spay and neuter fund is making a difference.

“Our goal is to assist as many animals as possible,” Robatin said. “Last year we helped 1,650 pets.”

Table sponsorships are available at a cost of $120, which will get participants a business card-size advertisement in the program, recognition during the show and eight admission tickets.

Tickets, which are $15, will be available at Ace’s; Gittler’s Aquarium, 175 Ohio St., Johns­town; Fetch & Go Feed Supply, 586 Berlin Plank Road, Somerset; The Summit Diner, 791 N. Center Ave., Somerset; and Tony’s Pets, 1601 N. Center Ave., Somerset.

Anyone wishing to contribute to the cause can send contributions to the fund at 131 Damian Drive, Johnstown, Pa. 15905.

Information: 536-8373.

Tom Lavis covers Features for the Tribune-Democrat. Follow him on LavisTD.

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