Back in Penticton for a few laughs

It may be a different crew on stage, but the CFSO comedy festival is back this weekend and organizers are again promising lots of laughs.

Ryan Hamilton will be one of the three comics featured at the CFSO Comedy Festival Saturday.

Ryan Hamilton will be one of the three comics featured at the CFSO Comedy Festival Saturday.

It may be a different crew on stage, but the Community Foundation of the South Okanagan’s comedy festival is back this weekend and organizers are again promising lots of laughs.

This is their 12th annual comedy festival, part of an annual tour sponsored by Investors Group. Each year features a different set of three top comics raising money for different groups in each market they visit, including the Community Foundation.

This year, the lineup features Ryan Hamilton, who was named one of the top five comics to watch by Rolling Stone magazine; Greg Hahn, who has appeared on Comedy Central, Star Search and Late Night with Conan O’Brien; and comedian and voiceover artist, Jim Dailakis, who has headlined around the world including at the Edinburgh Comedy Festival.

“This is our one and only fundraiser,” said Aaron McRann, the Community Foundation’s executive director. The proceeds of the event help with their operating costs, he said, allowing them to keep administration fees low and put more money into local charity.

“It’s really important in terms of our ability to meet the needs of the community,” said McRann.

The show is a great deal, he said, with 250 people taking advantage of the fun each year.

“The comedians are all top notch guys. You would normally be paying $60 to see any one of them and we have all three, plus the dinner,” said McRann.

Tickets are on sale at the Lakeside Resort for the event, which takes place in the Barking Parrot on Nov. 19. The $60 price tag includes not only the dinner and comedy, but both a silent and live auction as part of the entertainment.

“We bring a real live cattle auctioneer from Taber, Alta. Ted Jones has been doing our auction for 10 years,” said McRann.

And with three comedians doing very different acts, McRann said there is something for every taste.

“If one of them isn’t a perfect fit for your sense of humour, the next one will be,” he said. “Last year’s event was just a fantastic time.”

The Community Foundation manages more than 80 different endowment funds with a total value of about $6 million.

“We provide donors with a vehicle that allows them to give once, but have an impact forever by annually granting to the charities of their choice,” said McRann. “This year we granted $170,000 to local charities.”

And with 20 years behind them, that adds up to a lot of donations. According to McRann, the foundation has disbursed more than $850,000 and he expects they will pass the million-dollar mark in 2012. Those donations go to a wide variety of groups, McRann continued, from the arts to the environment.

“It’s all over the place,” said McRann. “We are supporting a broad cross-section of community needs. That’s our mandate.”