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L.A.'s Laugh Factory is taking its free Thanksgiving dinner outside amid COVID-19

Laugh Factory Christmas dinner
Comedian Tim Allen, center, is joined by his wife, actress Jane Hajduk, and other comedians serving Christmas dinner to guests at the at Hollywood’s Laugh Factory in 2019.
(Richard Vogel / Associated Press)

As COVID-19 cases continue to surge across the county, Los Angeles’ Laugh Factory is moving its 40th annual free Thanksgiving dinner outdoors.

Comedians Tiffany Haddish, Dane Cook and Tim Allen are set to headline the event, which will be held Thursday from 1 to 5 p.m. Pacific outside the Hollywood venue at 8001 Sunset Blvd., between Fairfax Avenue and Laurel Canyon Boulevard.

Guests are also encouraged to wear masks and adhere to social-distancing guidelines while attending to protect themselves and others from the virus.

“We received an overwhelming number of inquiries about how we would proceed due to COVID-19, and after consulting with our city officials, our team and comedians, we came to the conclusion that spending the holiday alone is no laughing matter,” said Laugh Factory owner Jamie Masada in a statement.

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“And so we all decided to move forward with this yearly tradition. ... Please invite anyone you may know who is alone for the holiday to get a wonderful Thanksgiving meal and some comedy that will be food for the soul. We believe laughter is healing, and we need laughter now more than ever.”

Free Thanksgiving meals are being offered today at many sites across Southern California, with volunteers serving those who are homeless or just hungry.

This year’s meals will be pre-packaged to go — as opposed to the theater’s typical buffet-style setup — and masks will be available for anyone unable to bring their own face covering. In March, the pandemic forced the Laugh Factory to shut down programming at its clubs in L.A., Long Beach, Las Vegas, Reno and Chicago.

Haddish, Cook and Allen have all participated in the Laugh Factory’s Turkey Day tradition before. Among the many other comics who have stopped by in previous years are Arsenio Hall, Kevin Nealon, Tom Arnold and Shawn Wayans.

Last week, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention urged Americans to postpone travel plans and stay home for the Thanksgiving holiday to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Those who choose to ignore this recommendation are encouraged to to get a flu shot before traveling, keep six feet from strangers and sanitize their hands frequently.

Here’s a complete breakdown of the CDC’s Thanksgiving protocols.

Agency again warns of growing COVID-19 risks and asks Americans to stay home.


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