Friday, December 19, 2014

Not such cheap laughs

The Candidates Comedy Night shows politicians in a better light and raises money for kids.

Not such cheap laughs

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For a good cause

I don’t think laughter is the best medicine (Jack Daniels works for me), but it does make you feel good and when you feel good you look good even fahbulous  (thank you, Fernando).

The 24th edition of the Stu Bykofsky Candidates Comedy Night made me feel fahbulous because the show passed an important milestone: The total taken — given to Variety, the charity that works with children living with handicaps — passed $500,000. That was very meaningful for me, and it was achieved with the help of a friend. More of that in a moment.

After the show, people ask me how it went. I am not the best judge of that since during the show, as host/producer, I am thinking about what comes next and keeping everything on track.

I try to scribble down the best jokes, but can’t, and I’ve taken to asking some of the candidates for their script. When I remember.

The show would not work without the candidates’ participation.

Here’s who showed up Thursday, Aug. 14:

Pennsylvania Governor: Republicanincumbent Tom Corbett; Democrat Tom Wolf. Congressional candidates: 1st CD: Democratic incumbent Bob Brady; Republican Megan Rath. 6th CD: Democrat Manan Trivedi and Republican Ryan Costello are contesting for a vacant seat. 7th CD: Republican incumbent Pat Meehan; Democrat Mary Ellen Balchunis. 8th CD: Republican incumbent Mike Fitzpatrick; Democrat Kevin Strouse. 13th CD: Republican Dee Adcock and Democrat Brendan Boyle are contesting for an open seat. 

(Chaka Fattah bought a table but didn’t show up. I heard he needed to help the Chip off the old block.)

Here’s a roundup of some of the jokes. Allow for the fact that some of them are better said than read.

13th District Republican candidate Dee Adcock said his opponent Democrat Brendan Boyle, was asked his position on seniors. “I hate them. They pushed me into the lockers.”

A very youthful-looking Boyle said this lasted longer than his “first time,” and by that he meant the “first time” giving a speech.

In the 1st District, Republican Megan Rath said of the show, “I can’t believe I shaved my legs for this.”  She worries when she hears Mayor Nutter wants a cigarette tax to fund schools. “Will he also encourage teachers to announce ‘recess’ as ‘smoke break’”? My favorite? “I understand the Democrats are hoping to bring the 2016 convention here to Philadelphia. Finally, something to make the Wing Bowl look classy.”

I wanted to quote Gov. Corbett and Tom Wolf. WHYY has a recording of their entire routine. Listen for yourself:

If you did, you can make a pledge to support public broadcasting.

8th District Republican Congressman Mike Fitzpatrick said I was given a mental test and asked if the best way to empty a bathtub was with a spoon or a bucket. I said bucket. The doctor said most people choose to pull the plug.

7th District Republican Congressman Pat Meehan spun some stories, wise-cracked that Nancy Pelosi belongs to I Can’t Move My Facebook, then doused himself for the ALS challenge — then challenged me.

The picture you see is the result.

Meehan’s challenger, Mary Ellen Balchunis, a fan of Pelosi’s, was joined by two women friends singing an updated version of “I Will Survive” (a race against Meehan).

6th District Democratic candidate Manan Trivedi (an Indian-American) said when Tom Wolf grows a beard he’s everyone’s uncle. “I grow a beard and I’m on the terrorist watch list.”

Professional comic Joe Conklin said Philly sports teams are so bad even “Rocky, the musical” folded on Broadway, which is what Charlie Manual calls Broad Street. Charlie also loves running down “the Israeli Market on 9th Street.”

“The latest news is that Philadelphia schools will open on time. Good news and bad news. Good news is Gov. Corbett advanced Philadelphia schools $265 million.  Bad news, he gave it to Chaka Fattah Jr. to hold on to.”

He also noted that Action News was covering the event. “This is Stu Bykofsky’s first TV appearance since he appeared on “To Catch a Predator.”

He advised that if anyone needed weed, Jim Kenney was outside on 3rd St.

My co-host Jenice Armstrong channeled Jay Leno with this: “What does President Obama call illegal aliens? Undocumented Democrats."

1st District Congressman Brady told some well-worn jokes, but he knew (because he asked and I told him) I didn’t think we’d raise $25K Thursday and that meant we wouldn’t hit $500K. So he pledged another $500 and strong-armed encouraged incumbents to do the same. Meehan, Fitzpatrick and Corbett all took his challenge, along with Wolf, Club Risque and even city Controller Alan Butkovitz.

More money was raised through auctions, all won by Emerald Capital Group, that included a gift certificate to the City Tavern, a Mike Schmidt autographed baseball and a signed Donovan McNabb jersey (although I can’t guarantee it was signed by Donovan). When the night ended, $29,000 was raised, the second-highest total ever.

Brady, incidentally, has made 11 comedy night appearances, which gives him the record for most appearances.

Whether the jokes were new or old, whether the candidates and the host were new or old, the point of this is to raise money for Variety so it can continue and expand the valuable services it provides to children.

Stu Bykofsky Daily News Columnist
About this blog
Stu Bykofsky has been a columnist with the Philadelphia Daily News since 1987. Prior to the column, his assignments included theater critic, TV critic, copy editor, general assignment features reporter. He supports civil-rights and animal causes, he opposes political correctness, bicycles on the sidewalk and most other forms of selfishness and stupidity.
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Reach Stu at stubyko@phillynews.com.

Stu Bykofsky Daily News Columnist
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