GLENDALE, Calif.—Three local comedians served up a healthy dose of laughter at a fundraiser benefitting the Alzheimer’s Association at Glen Park Healthy Living on Wednesday, Apr. 12.
“Every year we’ve done the Walkathon with Alzheimer’s Association, but this is something a little bit different,” said Marina Pink, COO of Glen Park, whose grandmother had severe Alzheimer’s.
The event was part of a movement called “Hilarity for Charity,” founded by actor and comedian Seth Rogan and his wife Lauren Miller Rogan in 2012 to raise money for Alzheimer’s care, research, and support. Miller Rogan’s mother was diagnosed with early-onset Alzheimer’s Disease at the age of 55.
The charity holds popular variety shows every year and helps college students and other groups hold similar fundraising events of their own under the same name.
“Hilarity for Charity” annual events have featured performances by Snoop Dog, The Backstreet Boys, Tenacious D, James Franco, and Miley Cyrus. The charity has raised more than $6.5 million dollars in nearly six years.
“I think it’s very necessary,” said Pink. “There still has not been any type of cure found.”
Alzheimer’s is the most common form of dementia, which causes memory loss and other cognitive disabilities that significantly interfere with people’s daily lives, according to the Alzheimer’s Association.
More than five million American’s have Alzheimer’s, and the disease is now the sixth leading cause of death in the United States.
“I was really blown away by how many responses we got from comedians, willing to do this for free and donate their time,” said Annie Cardillo, retirement counselor at Glen Park, who helped organize the Glendale event.
Cardillo herself is a comedy fan and writer, who created a web series last year and has written several television pilots.
“I’m hoping this will become an annual thing,” she said.
The Glen Park show featured stand-up comedians Joe Shelby, Mark Hurtado, Jamel Johnson, as well as Loren Kling as the host. The event raised $2600 alone, and the Pink family donated $900 extra to reach a previous goal of $3500.
“I perform all the time simply for the sake of making people laugh, but any chance to do what I love for a good cause is super exciting to me. I love the idea of using comedy to help raise money for good causes. It’s very fulfilling,” said Hurtado.
From Houston, Texas, Hurtado has performed all across the country at clubs, festivals, and other venues, and he is now located in Los Angeles. Along with performing stand-up comedy, he writes for networks such as CBS and websites like College Humor and Funny or Die.
Originally from Virginia, Johnson regularly performs at comedy establishments around the United States, and he made his television debut in 2016 on Kevin Hart Presents.
Comedian Shelby started his comedy career in Cincinnati, Ohio, then moved to Chicago, where he was voted “Reader’s Choice Best Comedian” by the Chicago Reader. He now runs a monthly comedy show at the Los Angeles Theater Center and donates all of the proceeds towards the homeless and needy on Skid Row.
Research has found laughter can reduce stress, burn calories, improve blood sugar, and strengthen social connections between people.
Audience members at the Glen Park event included local physicians, neurologists, psychiatrists, and other people associated with the assisted living industry, who were treated to hors d’oeuvres, beverages, and donated raffle prizes.
Glen Park is a family-owned business started in 1990 by Tillman Pink, Jr., whose passion for caring for others began as a Senior Medical Specialist in the United States Army. The company now has five locations, including two in Glendale and others in Valley Village, Monrovia, and Long Beach.