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Comedy show to benefit Reserve VFD |

Comedy show to benefit Reserve VFD

Erica Cebzanov
| Tuesday, January 15, 2019 1:30 a.m

The International Fire Chiefs Association, an organization representing firefighting and emergency response leaders, estimates that it costs more than $9,000 to outfit one firefighter with the proper equipment.

The Reserve Volunteer Fire Department is hosting its annual comedy show 6:30 p.m. Jan. 26 at the Mt. Troy Ballroom, with the event funding equipment maintenance and purchases.

Comedians Terry Jones, Jamie Ward and Bryan Valencia will perform.

“The proceeds go directly to the upkeep of the fire department for maintenance on the trucks or on maintenance of the fire house itself or anything that has to do with the fire house,” said Sandra McNally, event committee member of the show.

All guests must be 21-or-over and purchase their $30 tickets in advance by calling 412-352-3815. Admission includes a buffet dinner with beer and non-alcoholic beverages. Attendees also may bring their own alcoholic beverages.

Typically, 175 to 300 people attend the event, according to McNally, and raise between $1,500 and $2,000 from ticket sales and a 50-50 raffle.

“With the small fire departments in such dire need, people need to get out and start supporting these companies or they’re going to see them go away,” she said. “It’s just important to support your local community and support your fire departments and hopefully we’ll get a crowd that will do that.”

Jones, 32, who grew up in Penn Hills, said he enjoys performing at benefits for fire departments and veterans’ groups.

“Without the equipment that they need to keep themselves safe, to help keep others safe, you know, we would be dealing with a lot of problems. A lot of these guys risk their lives daily to help make sure that others are safe. They leave their families to help make sure that others are safe, as well,” he said.

Jones co-hosts “Light up and Laugh,” a comedy series, in which he smokes cigars with a revolving group of celebrities such as comedians Tony “T-ROBE” Roberson, Billy Gardell, and former professional athletes Jerome Bettis, Mike Logan and Terry Cousin. The series is set for release on YouTube and Funny or Die early this year.

Atlanta-based comedian Ward’s act contains jokes about communication breakdowns, as well as situational and relationship humor.

“My act’s a story of my life, basically, from (my) adoption through being in the military and my journey through comedy. It’s sort of a narrative short-story comedy.”

After spending a decade in the Army, including a stint in Afghanistan, Ward has a deep respect for first responders, civil service personnel, the troops and veterans.

“I always jump at any opportunity where I feel like I can support those organizations today,” he said.

Philanthropy has played an important part in 25-year-old Valencia’s life. When he previously ran Jokes 4 Miles, he organized nationwide comedy shows for children with cancer.

The Albuquerque, N.M., resident embraces storytelling and observational humor.

“I draw from a lot of my life experiences, especially growing up and realizing how different New Mexico is from a lot of places and drawing parallels between what I see now versus what I thought of as a kid.”

As he grows more successful, Valencia still devotes time to perform benefits. He encourages people to attend the Reserve show.

“It will be an incredible night for an incredible cause and I think that sense of community that comedy is able to bring together is second to none, and it’s fun to be a part of that experience.”

Erica Cebzanov is a Tribune-Review contributor.

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