With laughter there is hope!
Comedy for Charity was the brainchild of local activist Suzie Sexton, who wanted to do something that would make a difference in the arena of preventing violence. She believes, “For too long, violence has been glorified in American culture, and it’s time for a change.” The concept was modeled after Comic Relief, which was hosted by Whoopie Goldberg, Robin Williams and Billy Crystal. These comedians volunteered their time and comedy talents to raise money for the homeless. Subsequently, Seth Rogan created Hilarity for Charity to raise money and awareness for the Alzheimer’s Foundation.
For the past 30 years Sexton has worked and volunteered for organizations that help prevent violence. Now, Sexton, along with some amazing friends, has founded a new 501(c)(3)non-profit, Comedy for Charity. The charity is dedicated to preventing others from suffering the pain and agony of being victims of violence. “Violence is like a disease that needs to be cured. I’m doing what I can to end it,” says Sexton. The Tucson community has embraced her enthusiasm for this worthwhile cause, and she is grateful for the outpouring of support.
Sexton is a comedian, writer and producer. Her sister was murdered in an unsolved mugging in Chicago in 1980. Since then, she has worked and volunteered in various capacities to reduce violence. Most recently, she has produced and starred in Stand Up to Stop Violence, an annual comedy fundraising variety show.
BENEFITS OF LAUGHTER: COMEDY FOR CHARITY FEATURES COMEDY FOR A CAUSE
CFC’S fundraisers are raising money (hopefully a lot more money) and awareness for charities such as Emerge! Center Against Domestic Abuse, Tucson’s January 8th Memorial Foundation, Dancing in the Streets AZ, Hope for Haiti, and the Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence.
Every year, the shows feature a variety of local performers, like cartoonist David Fitzsimmons, Reveille Men’s Chorus, drag queen Janee Staar, and magician John Shryock as well as national headliners. A-list comedians including Eric O’Shea, Bill Dawes, Vanessa Hollingshead, Jeff Civillico, and John Heffron take the audiences to a funny place they’ve never been before while coming together for charity.
SOME FACTS ABOUT VIOLENCE
- Women experience 4 million physical assaults a year because of their partners.
- Women are more likely to be killed by an intimate partner than men. Every year 1 in 3 women who is a victim of homicide is murdered by her current or former partner.
- Most victims of rape or sexual assault are females younger than 24 years of age.
- Human trafficking is an emerging area of violence. Trafficked persons are often forced, through sexual, physical, and/or psychological violence, to perform work under slavery-like conditions.
- Violence happens anywhere. On January 8, 2011, in front of Safeway in Tucson, 6 people died in a mass shooting and 13 more were wounded.
REVIEWS AND ACCOLADES
Appearances by these talented performers and more have helped make our events incredibly successful. Laughter is the best medicine, and the response from attendees has been enthusiastic:
“Thanks for inviting me to this special event! What an evening!”
Terra Clifton Messmer, Terra Messmer Photography
“Outstanding performances tonight at the Fox Theatre. Thanks to all, including Suzie Sexton who put together a wonderful fundraiser. Shawn Cullen and his Reveille Men’s Chorus were flawless and Breakout Studio’s hip-hop opening number was full of energy and BA!”
Elizabeth Ashton Brewer, Professional Fitness and Yoga Instructor, Canyon Ranch
“Thank you for having me at this amazing event!”
La Tosha Maynard, Mrs. Tucson 2013
“Great night in “Two Stoned,” Arizona.”
Butch Lord, Comedian
“All of the comedians were hilarious, especially Suzie Sexton!”
Jeff Zoub, Suzie’s husband
“Two enthusiastic thumbs up! I wish I were alive so I could go to the show again this year.”
“Put on your prom attire and enjoy yourself while you support a fantastic cause.”