LOS ANGELES (November, 2003) – Emmy winning sitcom star and standup comic Ray Romano and longtime friend and fellow sitcom star Kevin James will headline this year’s second annual charity benefit to raise money for Rx Laughter, a study examining the effects of laughter and humor on the immune systems of sick children and adolescents. The event, December 6, 2003 at 8 p.m. in UCLA’s Royce Hall, will also feature stand-up performances by seasoned comics Dane Cook and Megan Mooney. Tickets are available at the UCLA Central Ticket Office (310) 825-2101, Ticketmaster locations and www.ticketmaster.com. Comedy Central and Adlink team up as co-producers of the benefit while Los Angeles retailers Good Guys and Mervyn's have come on board as sponsors.
“I'm honored to be helping Rx Laughter raise funds for their research on how comedy can be an important part of treating seriously ill children and teens,” explains Ray Romano. “As a dad, I know that there's nothing more important than the health & happiness of my children. As a performer, it's a great feeling to be able to give back to the community who have been so supportive of me through the years by doing what I can to help Rx Laughter continue its important research.”
Romano has become a household name with his famous deadpan humor and family-friendly material while James provides a unique blue-collar view of the world exploring life's little annoyances. Up and coming comic Dane Cook and his kinetic delivery will offer the audience something to think about, whether they want to or not, and Mooney swears her act is merely an extension of her real life, flavored with the skepticism of a seven year old.
Tickets are priced at $25 (balcony), $55 (floor seating) and $105 (VIP seating, which includes a pre-event cocktail reception). Call the UCLA box office at (310) 825-2101 between 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday or visit any Ticketmaster location.
All proceeds from ticket sales will fund research for Rx Laughter, a first-of-its-kind study that is scientifically testing the theory that laughter really is the best medicine for children and adolescents dealing with painful procedures and life-threatening illnesses. The five-year study was launched in February 2000 with a seed grant of $75,000 from Comedy Central.
The nonprofit project, which is a cooperative effort between scientists and the entertainment industry, is founded and led by Sherry Dunay Hilber, a veteran primetime network executive. Rx Laughter has supported research at UCLA in the past, and it plans on expanding to key hospitals throughout the nation as funding continues.
“Our ultimate goal is to understand how comedy programs can be integrated in treatment procedures to improve immune function while reducing pain and anxiety in children with serious illnesses, such as cancer and AIDS,” Hilber said. “Having Ray, Kevin, Dane and Megan give of their time and talent by performing at this benefit will go a long way towards helping us to achieve this goal.” Hilber hopes the benefit will raise $75,000 for Rx Laughter.
Ray Romano launched his standup career in New York in 1984 and has performed at comedy clubs nationwide. In September of this year, Romano picked up an Emmy as Executive Producer on his show “Everybody Loves Raymond,” which won for Outstanding Comedy Series. His role in the hit CBS sitcom has also earned Romano an Emmy and two Screen Actors Guild nominations for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy Series. In 1999, he received the Television Critics Association Award for outstanding individual achievement in comedy. He also won a TV Guide award for actor of the year in a comedy series.
Best known as Doug Heffernan on “The King of Queens,” Kevin James also began his career as a standup comic. He got his big break at the l996 Montreal Comedy Festival and was then cast in a recurring role in “Everybody Loves Raymond” before landing his own sitcom on CBS.
Dane Cook has been seen on “The Late Show with David Letterman,” “The Tonight Show with Jay Leno,” and “The Late Late Show with Craig Kilborn,” as well as many Comedy Central specials including “Comics Come Home” and “Comedy Central Presents Dane Cook.”
Megan Mooney has performed at the HBO US Comedy Arts Festival and on Comedy Central's "Premium Blend." She won the "Funniest Person in Austin" award in 1998.
For information on Rx Laughter, visit www.rxlaughter.org.