A Comedy Fundraising Success!
A Comedy Fundraising Success!
This month’s newsletter is sponsored by: Linda McEwan at Sotheby’s International Realty
Canada. The number one most trusted brand in residential real estate.
I take laughing for granted.
Recently, I hosted a comedy fundraiser for City Street Outreach – a local charity that is near and
dear to my heart. I was joined by some truly amazing friends who donated their time and
efforts to the cause. I could not have done this show without them. I will forever be grateful.
Linda McEwan is one of these good friends.
She occasionally sponsors my podcasts and newsletters but she also sponsored the event.
My other good friends; Cathy Boyd, Martha Chaves and Evan Carter donated their comedic
skills that evening. We raised funds to help Toronto’s homeless and most vulnerable.
The evening was a roaring success.
Cathy was one of my stand-up comedy students at Second City a few years back.
She went on to perform on the first season of Canada’s Got Talent.
Martha Chaves is a regular on CBC Radio. She’s a veteran on the club circuit in the US, Canada
and Latin America as she speaks English, Spanish, French and Italian.
Evan Carter (also a regular on CBC Radio) has been the opening act for many stars including; the
Temptations, Gladys Knight and Dionne Warwick.Currently, he is the opening act for a cross country Motown tour.
By the way, I would also like to thank another very good friend of mine, the very talented Elaine
Lindsay from TROOL Social who put together our virtual poster. It helped us tremendously to
get the word out. Elaine is the magic behind this website and anything that I do online. I would
be lost without her!
Coincidently- Linda, Cathy, Evan, Martha and Elaine all have a quality about them that I
notice in many of my friends and family members – they love to laugh.
They love to make others laugh.
I’ll tell you something about my family.
If my nieces or nephews are dating someone – the first thing that my sisters and I say to each
other is, “Oh boy, are they funny? Please let them be funny!”
By the way, in my family, there are a couple of levels of ‘funny’ that you have to pass.
Level one – If someone can laugh at a joke or at themselves – great. This means that they’ve got
a sense of humour.
Level two– if they can TAG a joke… if they can make the joke even funnier or add another joke
then they are on their way to full club membership.
The third and final level -can they play charades?
If they can play full-contact charades in our household (and be okay with maybe losing an eye),
well then start tuning up those wedding bells!
Our family can overlook other bad characteristics or personality flaws, i.e., mass murderer,
embezzler or serial cheater. In our family, a good sense of self-deprecating humour is the true
My two younger sisters are very funny people. If they weren’t so shy on stage, they could both
easily do stand-up comedy. They love to make people around them laugh. They, themselves
love to laugh.
Where did we get our sense of humour?
From my parents, I think.
Both my parents were very funny people. However, they grew up in some pretty unfunny
My dad was born in the Netherlands. He grew up during the war. He, along with his two sisters
and his parents spent many nights underneath the basement steps with kitchen pots over their
heads as the Nazis bombed their neighborhood. My father said that my grandparents used to
tell the kids funny jokes and stories to try and distract them from the terrible war that was
going on outside their front door. At a young age, my father learned how to use humour as a
My mother, meanwhile, grew up in Guyana, South America where there was and still is a lot of
I always remember my mother saying that her mother never turned anybody away who came
to the door asking for food- even if she only had a cup of rice to give them.
My mother said that despite the poverty, her parents would always do things with the kids that
didn’t cost a lot of money but created a lot of fun and laughter. This included; having the
neighborhood kids over, playing games or putting on plays or make-believe circuses, just to
name to few fun examples.
My mother grew up to be a very funny person. She was the quintessential ring leader.
It’s no wonder that my sisters and I ended up being surrounded by funny people our entire
Which brings me back to the fundraiser for City Street Outreach.
My compassionate, talented and very funny friends, Linda, Cathy, Martha and Evan made the
evening so special. Again, I can’t thank them enough.
The audience was fantastic. They laughed from beginning to end.
I want to thank each and every one of them personally for buying a ticket and spending the
evening with us. I would like to thank friends and family who bought a ticket online, even
though they couldn’t make the event but still wanted to contribute to the organization.
After our ninety-minute fundraising show, Linda McEwan came up to me and said,
“Everyone that I talked to said that they had a GREAT time. Some of them said that they hadn’t
laughed in a long time and the evening was so cathartic for them because they really needed to
That’s when it dawned on me.
Not everyone laughs every day. Not everyone has someone who makes their world funnier and
that’s really sad because laughter is so cathartic.
Laughter creates happy chemistry in our bodies. Our immune, respiratory and circulatory
systems all reap the rewards. Researchers at the University of Maryland found that when
participants laughed over and over during a funny experiment, their circulation improved by 22
Laughter also increases our aerobic activity. While laughing, we take in more oxygen to our
body and brain. Afterwards, we feel mentally and physically invigorated.
Professor Duncan Geddes, a consultant in respiratory medicine at the Royal Brompton Hospital
in London, says that laughter stimulates the body’s defense mechanism, decreases pain and
improves recovery times. Laughter releases chemicals in our brain cells called endorphins.
Endorphins are natural pain killers.
Geddes observed that laughter helps fight diseases like allergies, arthritis, asthma, backache,
bronchitis, depression, diabetes, fibromyalgia, heart disease, hypertension and migraines.
Research at Oxford University also showed that laughter in participants improved tolerance to
pain and lowered blood pressure.
Obviously, one can see the therapeutic benefits of humour.
Don’t get me wrong, there are many people in this world who have really big burdens on
their shoulders that make it hard just to get out of bed every day- much less crack a smile.
I feel lucky. I’m blessed to have the circumstances and thus, luxury to laugh every day.
I’m also blessed and lucky to have friends like Linda, Evan, Martha, Cathy and Elaine who use
their humour and love of laughter to give back.
Again, thank you to my funny, talented and very generous and good friends.
Until next time folks, Laugh Long and Prosper!
Feel free to take a listen!
Don’t be shy. You can check out my Laugh Long and Prosper podcast (voted one of the best
podcasts of 2021 I in Canada by CTV) on Spotify or Soundcloud.
‘Laugh Long and Prosper’ is shelf help with a smile, stressbusters with a smirk, and information with a wink wink. You get the point.
Wayne Gretsky – Hockey and Humour