Laughter rocked the Sidney & Berne Davis Art Center Saturday (July 25) as eight local celebrities took to the stage before a sold-out crowd in hopes of being named “Lee County’s Best Comic.”
By the end of the night, local attorney Doug Molloy claimed the title after delivering a series of one-liners about politics and his role as former Chief Assistant U.S. Attorney, and tossing a few barbs at well-known audience members.
“I am just happy and relieved that people laughed and had a great time. It was all about the cause – and the trophy,” Molloy quipped as he clutched the crystal winner’s trophy.
More than 200 people jammed the art center for “Laughter Is the Best Medicine” and plunked down cash, checks and credit cards to vote for their favorite comic. A total of $58,723 was raised for SalusCare, Inc., the region’s largest provider of behavioral healthcare.
“We’re thrilled with the community’s response to our inaugural ‘Laughter Is the Best Medicine Comedy Night.’ It shows that folks will come out for a major event in the summer if it’s fun and will benefit a good cause,” said SalusCare Board Chair Marshall T. Bower, Esq.
The funds will be used to pay for outpatient psychiatry for children whose families can least afford care, Bower said. 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.
Bower gave special thanks to Professional Comedian Michael Palascak who performed the grand finale while the votes were being counted. He also commended Master of Ceremonies Robert Van Winkle, NBC-2 Senior Chief Meteorologist, for keeping the program moving, as well as the sponsors and celebrity comics.
Celebrity comics for the night were:
● Michael Harris – News-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
● Marni Sawicki – Cape Coral Mayor
● Mike Scott – Lee County Sheriff
● Dr. Glenn Whitehouse – FGCU Associate Dean, Planning & Assessment
Edison National Bank was the “Showcase Sponsor,” the highest level sold for the event. Other major sponsors included Sam Galloway Ford, Investors’ Security Trust, Bill Smith Appliances, Marrikka & Bill Stockman, and The News-Press Media Group. Monologue sponsors were Susan Bennett Marketing & Media and Genoa Pharmacy with additional support from 20 table sponsors.
For more information about SalusCare services, please visit www.SalusCareFlorida.org or call 239-275-3222.
About SalusCare, Inc.
SalusCare, Inc., is the largest, most comprehensive mental health and substance abuse treatment program in Southwest Florida, serving 17,000 people per year of all ages from seven locations in Lee County. The non-profit organization offers crisis stabilization, outpatient and residential treatment as well as prevention programming and an Employee Assistance Program for about 50 area companies. Most programs are accredited by CARF, the Commission on Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities.
SalusCare services are not free. Fees are charged on a sliding scale, based on family income. In many cases, private insurance is accepted. SalusCare is a United Way partner agency.
For more information, call 239-275-3222 or visit www.SalusCareFlorida.org.