Several well-known poker pals went “all-in” with a night of comedy, camaraderie, creativity, and charity.
Ray Romano helmed an evening at Santa Monica City College that started with an outdoor cocktail party and silent auction on an unusually muggy August evening. The humidity only added to the sizzle of the night.
Everyone Loves to Laugh, an evening of comedy with Ray Romano and friends Jason Alexander, Cheryl Hines, and Wendy Liebman benefited Harvest Home, a Venice charity for homeless unwed mothers.
Jason opened the show, held in the Broad Auditorium, MCed by Curb Your Enthusiasm’s Cheryl Hines. Although she performs comedy well as an actress (think Emmys), she mentioned she’s not a comedian. Ray wrote special material to spice up her MC duties, which she adapted to like a duck to water.
The Seinfeld actor was a triple threat. Showing off many talents, Jason played piano, sang, and did standup. There wasn’t a current subject he didn’t cover as he joked about tattoos, body piercing, Botox, Brazilian waxing, diets, and his new hair plugs. He had the house in his hands including a target, “Steve” (and good sport), who would become his romantic interest in case a comet hit the earth at the end of the world.
He even joked about growing up as a short, pudgy male who wore braces for seven years and discovered a bald spot when the braces came off. “I never got a break!”
Wendy Liebman, not as well known as Jason, was just as funny. “I met my husband online … in Ralph’s.” When she started her routine she admitted to being 45. She would add a year and by the time the routine was over, she was 50. Could have fooled us! (She looks at least a decade younger.)
Not listed on the program, but certainly a highlight, a 17-year-old singer, C.J., sang “Hallelujah” like an angel. She can now brag to her pals she “opened” for headliner, Everybody Loves Raymond’s Ray Romano.
Referring to his notes, Ray joked about his almost 25-year marriage. He questioned couples from the audience about their families. The actor/comic admitted that this act was a work-in-progress. Few people knew that Ray gave more to his fellow performers (even wrote special musical material for Jason) than to himself. This night he played producer/writer best.
Before the comedy show, guests were treated to a buffet of appetizers, desserts, and wine. At the same time, a silent auction gave the opportunity to bid for the following: Lakers Luxury Suite, a visit to Casa del Mar Hotel, a beauty treatment and gift bag from Westside Aesthetics, a private yacht cruise, tickets and a meet and greet with Ray Romano in Las Vegas, an in home cooking lesson, a weekend in La Joya, and more.
Sue Facter owns a news agency that specializes in the luxury brand. Her work appears in USA Today, Los Angeles Times, Greer’s OC, on broadcasts, and the web. Follow her on Twitter @TheFacter.