Arts and Entertainment

'Laugh for Life' benefit expands with back-to-back nights of laughter

Local comedian, Laugh for Life organizer The Great Cris Larsen will be headlining with stand-up vet Charlie Wiener for a PG night Friday and no-holds-barred night Saturday. - File Photo
Local comedian, Laugh for Life organizer The Great Cris Larsen will be headlining with stand-up vet Charlie Wiener for a PG night Friday and no-holds-barred night Saturday.
— image credit: File Photo

'A great, big love fest' July 17-18 at McCormick Woods in Port Orchard.

Local comedian The Great Cris Larsen believes he was put on this earth for one reason.

“I can’t be a doctor, I’m not a scientist, but I can make people laugh,” Larsen said. “I love the stage, but I think one of the things I’ve been put on this planet for is to bring solace to grim situations.”

When his 21-year-old nephew was diagnosed with terminal cancer some five years ago, Larsen was at his bedside trying to lighten the mood with wisecracks. And in that moment, the idea for the annual Laugh for Life American Cancer Society benefit was born.

“I became who I am today in that hospital,” Larsen said.

Each year, for the past five, Larsen — a man who fully understands the power of humor as a spirit lifter and fundraiser — has rallied the community for a nationally headlining comedy show, donating the proceeds to ACS.

This year, a few things have changed. First, the event has grown into two nights — featuring a tamer, more PG show Friday and an all-out, R show Saturday — and secondly, this year’s event moves from the Admiral Theatre to the McCormick Woods Clubhouse in Port Orchard. Doors open at 5 p.m., with the show following at 7 p.m. both July 17 and 18 for the ages 18 and older shows.

The Great Cris and Charlie Wiener will headline both nights with Seattle comedian, recent Great American Comedy Competition winner, Kermit Apio opening Friday and the band Freestyle opening Saturday. Plus special guests both nights with the aim of raising spirits, raising awareness and raising funds.

“It’s all through relationships, all through word of mouth that this event’s been built,” Larsen said.

The comedian has organized hundreds of fundraising events for issues from kidney disease research to school fundraisers, but of them all, he says, this one hits home.

While his nephew is a survivor, Larsen lost both a sister and a cousin to cancer. But for those two hours during the show, no one is going to be thinking of chemo or cancer, he says, “they’re going to be laughing.”

It’s a good time, for a great cause, Larsen added.

“It’s a great, big love fest, that’s what it is,” Wiener chimed in.

Laugh for Life is July 17-18 at the McCormick Woods Clubhouse, 5155 McCormick Woods Dr. in Port Orchard. Doors open at 5 p.m. each night. 18+. Call (360) 377-8516 or (360) 895 0130 for tickets and more info.

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