Laughter is one of the world’s greatest medicines and there certainly will be no shortage of it at Dead Crow Comedy Room come this weekend. Comedy Central’s Tracy Smith will headline two shows—one of which will be a benefit show, “HAHAs 4 TATAs.”
In 2011 Melissa Pudiwitr Blanton, owner of The Bra Shoppe in Landfall Shopping Center off Military Cutoff, upstarted HAHAs 4 TATAs and raised over $1,000 for nonprofit Lump to Laughter, a Christian ministry that caters to the needs of those afflicted by breast cancer. The nonprofit was begun by friends and breast-cancer survivors Renee Ballard and Connie Hill. As the name of their organization suggests, they thrive on turning trial into triumph. After having children and taking time to raise them, Blanton decided now was the time to bring the fundraising event back.
“At The Bra Shoppe, we have had the privilege of helping thousands of women with fittings properly for their individually unique body,” Blanton explains. “Hundreds of those women have been touched by breast cancer: If not them specifically, someone they know or are related to has been through it. It is a daunting process that can be best fought with information and support. Everyone has their own path to take to get through it, some rougher than others. How is one to know where to begin or what questions to ask? Connecting networks of people to help one another is the main goal.”
The HAHAs 4 TATAs event aims to address this goal. The first event was held over two nights at the now-defunct Nutt Street Comedy Club, and featured raffle items, including spa dates, golf time, shooting range discounts, a one-night stay in a beach resort, and gift certificates to restaurants. This year’s event will feature raffle items generously donated by area establishments like Chop’s Deli, BS Walters Traditional Barbering, and Beau Rivage Golf. As well, dinner and drink specials will be available. Saturday entertainment will begin with local comics Lydia Manning and Beth Corvino opening for Smith.
“I was brought to this cause by the lovely Melissa at the Bra Shoppe, who saw me onstage at the club a few years ago and thought we would make a good fit,” Smith tells. “Not just me and her cause, but my boobs and her bras. It’s hard for anyone to turn down a good cause when we can help by just telling jokes. This one is particular to me because not only do I happen to have a pair of great breasts that I would love to keep, but my sister passed away from breast cancer in 2000.”
Smith has been yukking it up on stage since 1989. Always the funny one among her friends, Smith recalls being consistently told she would make a great stand-up comic. Like most stand-up comedians her career began with opening-act gigs in LA and New York. She exudes her support for places like Dead Crow Comedy Room by citing the changing landscape of the comedy biz. When she first started there were no other outlets besides the two mainstay entertainment capitals. Eventually, comedy clubs became wise to the trope of spending exorbitant amounts of money of plane fare and hotel accommodations for comics and began relying on local talent—making the playing field a bit more even. Consequently, the sheer volume of comedians has grown exponentially over the past decade.
Smith’s humor revels in relationships, and Smith certainly is one comic who can’t be tamed. She often comments on the difficulties of meeting eligible, quality men in LA—the magic words, “Are you OK to drive?” routinely signify the beginning of a beautiful love affair.
“I talk about relationships a lot because love is what makes the world go around,” she says. “It’s why we go to our crappy jobs everyday, it’s why we go to the gym, it’s why we wish we could win the lottery, and it’s why we fear getting older and becoming less attractive. Getting love and keeping love is our most common motivator, and we can all do some pretty stupid and laughable things in the process.”
Smith will be playing two solo shows on Friday night—one at 8 p.m. and one at 10 p.m.—at $13 per person. Her Saturday night shows will benefit Lumps to Laughter, and tickets will be $15 per person.
“The audience can expect the kind of wit and cutting humor that can only come from someone who has been around the block a few times,” Smith says.
“At this point in my life, I have seen how some things matter to us more or less at different stages of our lives. So, it does not matter to me if you are young or old, male or female. I know how to make you laugh.”
HAHAs 4 TATAs
Stand-up comedy with Tracy Smith, Lydia Manning and Beth Corvino
Dead Crow Comedy Room
265 N. Front St.
Sat., Feb. 28, 8 p.m. and 10 p.m.