Interior Designer Marc Collins will serve as master of ceremonies of the Second Annual “Laughter Is the Best Medicine Comedy Night” to benefit SalusCare, the region’s largest provider of treatment for individuals with mental health and substance use issues.
The fun gets underway Saturday, July 23, from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. at the Sidney & Berne Davis Arts Center in downtown Fort Myers.
Collins, who is a member of the SalusCare Development Committee, was tapped for the emcee role because of his experience working with numerous charities on their fund-raising events, including the Cattle Baron’s Ball for the American Cancer Society, FGCU’s Wanderlust and Chefs Cooking for Kids for Big Brothers/Big Sisters of the SunCoast of Lee County. He also owns Marc Collins Designs and has volunteered his decorating expertise for many non-profits.
Each of the local celebrities will perform a five-minute stand-up routine for event attendees who will “vote” for the best comedic performance with their dollars. The local celebrities who will exchange laughs for votes are:
● Tom Chase – Fort Myers “Country Lawyer”
● Chris Cifatte – WINK-TV News Anchor
● Tom Cronin – Shell Factory General Partner
● Stephanie Davis – Downtown Diva
● Brian Hamman – Lee County Commissioner
● Elaine Hawkins – President/CEO, Private Client Insurance Group
● Nancy McGovern – Lee Memorial Health System Board of Directors
● Sandy Stilwell – CEO, Stilwell Enterprises
● Sheldon Zoldan – News-Press Content Strategist
Nationally recognized Comedian Michael Palascak of NBC’s Last Comic Standing will round out the evening with a grand finale of his humor while the votes are being tabulated.
Tickets are now on sale and may be purchased at www.saluscarecomedynight.org or by calling 239-791-1575. Tickets include heavy hors d’oeuvres, beer and wine. Seats at tables are $125 or $500 for a reserved table for four, with table signage. A limited number of seats without tables are available at $100 each. Other sponsorships are available from $1,000.
“Laughter Is the Best Medicine not only showcases our local celebrities, but gives everyone an opportunity to support a charity that provides mental health and substance use treatment for more than 15,000 people per year,” SalusCare Development Committee Chair Mark Atkins said.
To help the celebrity comics prepare for the evening, Sam Walch, a professor at Florida Gulf Coast University, will work with them individually and as a group to perfect their routines. Walch is a former touring stand-up comedian who teaches comedy and public speaking in the Communications Department at FGCU. He has performed in comedy clubs, casinos and cruise ships in the United States, Canada and the Caribbean and is the author of the first online textbook on public speaking.
The News-Press Media Group and TOTI Media are the media sponsors for the event.
Funds raised at the event will be used to provide outpatient psychiatry and therapy to children and adolescents in our area whose families can least afford it. 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.
For more information about sponsorships and “Laughter Is the Best Medicine Comedy Night,” contact Todd Cordisco at (239) 791-1575.
About SalusCare, Inc.
SalusCare, Inc., is the largest, most comprehensive mental health and substance abuse treatment program in Southwest Florida, serving more than 15,000 people per year of all ages from seven locations in Lee County. The non-profit organization offers crisis stabilization, outpatient and residential treatment and an Employee Assistance Program for about 40 area companies. The majority of 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.