Everybody Loves To Laugh
Ray Romano loves his wife. He reiterates this publicly in his stand up act in order to “get points.” He scored big points Saturday night at the Broad Theatre when he put on “Everybody Loves to Laugh” – a night of comedy with Ray Romano, Jason Alexander, Cheryl Hines and Wendy Liebman. Evidently Ray’s wife is involved in Harvest Home. So while he and his friends were delighting the crowd, he raised a considerable amount of funds for the cause.
Harvest House is a large family home in Venice, which provides a warm environment where women facing a crisis pregnancy can seek refuge. In addition to food, shelter and clothing, Harvest Home provides a comprehensive program aimed at helping homeless pregnant women regain their independence, both emotionally and financially. The program aims to increase employability through education, develop life skills and find spiritual wholeness.
The evening was made magical with the aid and assistance of volunteers. Besides the wonderful performers, there was a silent auction. A volunteer was stationed at each table, who was dressed in the style of that which was being auctioned. So at the artwork table was a volunteer with a beret. At the Las Vegas table was a young woman in an evening gown and a cohort dressed like Harpo Marx. Other prizes of note included a private yacht cruise, a two night stay at Hotel Casa del Mar, an in-home cooking lesson with a or personal sommelier.
Tasty Mediterranean hors d’oervres and wine were provided. The hummus, grape leaves and other treats were completely demolished by hungry audient members before the show started. Delicious desserts were artfully displayed from Cookielicious of Huntington Beach. I had never had a cake treat presented as a lollypop (a cake pop) before and enjoyed two!
Needless to say most people came to see some of their favorite stars in person and performing. Cheryl Hines was the host of the show. She is looking ultra glamorous and told us a couple of anecdotes about her friendship with Ray.
Jason Alexander started his performance at a grand piano, which he played beautifully and sang comedy lyrics to a medley of familiar tunes. He then thrilled the audience with a well-developed comedy routine, filled mostly with self deprecation. He revealed that although he looks different than when he was playing the famous George Costanza character on Seinfeld, (he now has more hair and does not wear glasses) - no one ever mentions the change to him as though he may not be aware of it. Yes it is a wig and it does change his look. He and his family were his own best target. Some people come from money… “I come from coupons…” Imagine wearing full metal braces for 9 years starting at age 8. Then at age 17, braces-less and ready to go on his first big date, he discovers he has a bald spot!
Wendy Liebman, the charming pixieish comic who is well known and well traveled on the comedy circuit was next. She has an endearing self deprecation style of making statements and then uttering almost beneath her breath of what she really means. She delighted the audience with some of her classics: “ I ran a business…into the ground. I love my parents. I’m really close with them…genetically.”
A beautiful and talented17 year old singer/songwriter named Ceej performed her version of Leonard Cohen’s “Hallejulah.”
Then it was time for the big guy, Ray Romano. He is indeed a comic genius as his multiple emmys attest to. His megahit show Everybody Loves Raymond was based on his stand up act. And he has followed that up with continued stand up, voice over animation in Ice Age: Continental Drift and his other series Men of a Certain Age.
He has such a likeable and easy persona an everyman. His comedy is a great example of Shakespeare’s Hamlet’s advice to the players to have their pronouncements be “trippingly on the tongue.”
Parts of his act are many years old….he has many jokes about his twins as two year olds and now he admitted, his youngest is already 14. Any yet it is delivered in such an easy way, in an improvisational casual style as though he had just thought of it. And yet you know he has spoken those same words hundreds of times. He starts a bit with something that seems spontaneous and ends up taking it into a hugely worked out comic piece that you know must have taken him six months to put together. He had the audience eating out of his hand when he talked about staying alert when driving by removing his pants. He likes vacation sex because if it isn’t good, you can still have fun on your vacation. And there were many other zingers and hilarious bits wildly enjoyed during the evening.
Jessica Pham, Interim Executive Director of Harvest Home was also introduced to the audience. She is lovely and charismatic. Evidently, many of the friendly volunteers who where helping out are her friends. She does a great job of recruiting. We wish her and her helpers continued big success with their good work at the Harvest Home. The event should help a lot. I understand Everybody Loves To Laugh raised $45,000 for the Home!
Georja Umano is an actress/comedienne and animal advocate.