Local comedy event to help benefit nonprofits

An organization that pairs comedians with nonprofits will debut the Glendale Laughs comedy festival later this month with three nights of stand-up comedy in downtown to benefit charities.

The event is being hosted by Comic Cure — which produces live comedy shows as a way to raise awareness, funds and volunteers for nonprofits — and will send a portion of the proceeds from ticket sales to local nonprofits. More than 100 comedians are expected to participate.

Comic Cure is the brainchild of brothers Richy and Benjamin Leis, the former a longtime comedian and the latter part of the nonprofit field for many years. Benjamin Leis said that oftentimes nonprofits are so busy struggling with fundraising that they can't focus on serving the community they serve.

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"We wanted to create something where we could do all the heavy lifting for nonprofits and do so in a fun, engaging way but also use the unifying power of laughter and comedy to uplift and engage audiences around really important topics that these nonprofits are addressing," Benjamin Leis said.

In the past, Comic Cure has partnered with several nonprofits including Habitat for Humanity, YWCA Glendale, Wellness Works and Big Brothers Big Sisters.

Each of the three nights will carry a theme based on a number of prevalent social issues such as race, immigration, religion and the LGBT community. One of the first night's sets is titled "Black Laughs Matter" and a set on the second night is called "Holy Hilarity," which are examples of how Comic Cure will handle current events.

"Comedy is viewed as communication tool, so oftentimes we ask a comedian to touch on a certain subject in their sets," Benjamin Leis said. "For instance, in the Glendale festival, we have all these different topics [that we discuss] in a funny, non-threatening manner so that everyone can come and have a laugh."

The festival is also interactive, as audiences and a panel of judges will award comedians from all experience levels a share of $1,000 in prize money. Audience members will also be given comment cards where they can offer to donate to or volunteer with partnering charities.

A few of the headliners include Erin Foley, Matt Kirshen and Brody Stevens.

The event will be Comic Cure's 20th show in California, which is impressive given that it's a relatively new organization, forming this past October.

However, it is the inaugural Glendale Laughs comedy festival, with hopes to produce one annually.

All performances will start at 6:30 p.m Show dates will be Jan. 23 at Pierre Garden, Jan. 24 at the Alex Theatre and Jan. 25 at Stars on Brand.

For more information visit glendalelaughs.com.

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Jeff Landa, jeff.landa@latimes.com

Twitter: @JeffLanda

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