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Eight Local Celebrities to Headline Comedy Night

Eight local celebrities will headline “Laughter Is the Best Medicine Comedy Night,” a unique new event to benefit SalusCare, the region’s largest provider of treatment for individuals with mental health and substance use issues.

Each of the local celebrities will perform a five-minute stand-up routine for event attendees who will “vote” for the best comedic performance with their dollars. The local celebrities who will exchange laughs for votes are:

  • Michael HarrisNews-Press Planning Editor
  • Larry Hart – Lee County Tax Collector
  • Gwendolyn Howard-Powell – owner of Gwendolyn’s Café
  • Doug Molloy – former Chief Assistant U.S. Attorney
  • Steve Russell – State Attorney for the 20th Judicial Circuit
  • Marnie Sawicki – Cape Coral Mayor
  • Mike Scott – Lee County Sheriff
  • Dr. Glenn Whitehouse – FGCU Associate Dean, Planning & Assessment

“We wanted to develop something fresh that hasn’t been done in this market before.  ‘Laughter Is the Best Medicine’ will not only showcase our local celebrities, but give everyone an opportunity to support a charity that provides mental health and substance use treatment for more than 18,000 people per year,” SalusCare Development Committee Chair Mark Atkins said.

In addition to the innovative concept, SalusCare is breaking new ground in the timing of the event, which is planned for the middle of summer, Saturday, July 25, at The Sidney & Berne Davis Art Center in downtown Fort Myers.

“There are so many events during season that it’s not possible for residents to attend all that they would like to.  Yet, there is very little in the way of fund-raising events in the summer when local residents might have more time to attend,” Atkins said.

Organizers conferred with professional fund-raisers and party planners who agreed that it is time to spread out the social calendar to incorporate the summer months.

The evening will include heavy hors-d’oeuvres, beer and wine served  in a casual, fun atmosphere.  Attendees will have the opportunity to “vote” for the best comedic performance by placing cash or checks in containers labeled for each comic.

To help the celebrity comics prepare for the evening, Sam Walch, a professor at Florida Gulf Coast University, will work with them individually and as a group to perfect their routines.

Walch is a former touring stand-up comedian who teaches comedy and public speaking in the Communications Department at FGCU.  He has performed in comedy clubs, casinos and cruise ships in the United States, Canada and the Caribbean  and is the author of the first online textbook on public speaking.

Tickets will be available beginning in May at $100 each or $500 for a reserved table for four with table signage.  Other sponsorships also are available from $1,000.

The News-Press Media Group is the media sponsor for the event.

Funds raised at the event will be used to provide outpatient psychiatry and therapy to children and adolescents in our area whose families can least afford it.   One in 10 children has serious mental health problems severe enough to impair how they function at home, in school, or in the community, according to the National Center for Children & Poverty at Columbia University.  Left untreated, mental illnesses can lead to more difficult to treat illnesses and to the development of co-occurring disorders.

For more information about sponsorships and “Laughter Is the Best Medicine Comedy Night,” contact Todd Cordisco at (239) 791-1575 or visit www.saluscareflorida.org .

Michael Harris
Michael Harris
State Attorney Steve Russell and Lee County Tax Collector Larry Hart
State Attorney Steve Russell and Lee County Tax Collector Larry Hart
Gwendolyn Howard-Powell
Gwendolyn Howard-Powell
Doug Molloy
Doug Molloy
Cape Coral Mayor Marnie Sawicki
Cape Coral Mayor Marnie Sawicki
Lee County Sheriff Mike Scott
Lee County Sheriff Mike Scott
Dr. Glenn Whitehouse
Dr. Glenn Whitehouse
Comedy Trainer Sam Walch
Comedy Trainer Sam Walch