Wednesday Sep 10 2008
Colfax comedy show to help lung cancer research
By: Gloria Beverage
Women Who Kick Comedy Butt returning
Women Who Kick Comedy Butt hosted a sold-out benefit in March for their founder, comedian Grace White, a 33-year resident of Colfax fighting stage 4 lung cancer. Since then, White’s prognosis has worsened and her comedian friends have decided to return to Colfax on Sept. 20 as a show of support for White and her work on behalf of the American Lung Association. White’s daughter, Alyssa Cook, is producing another PG-13 comedy show starting at 8:30 p.m. at The Colfax Theater, 49 So. Main St. Grace Fraga will return to emcee the show featuring Women Who Kick Comedy Butt members Gayla Johnson, Boxcar, Linda Costello, Kat Simmons, Jackie Jackie Marakuso, Joanie Coyote and Tara Walden. Adding a touch of fun and class to the event, the red carpet will be rolled out at 7:15 p.m. Guests will be able to take pictures of the comedians on a backdrop set up in front of the theater. Women Who Kick Comedy Butt is an all-female stand-up comedy show featuring very different comics with very different acts. The brainchild of comedian Grace White, the show was conceived to spotlight funny women. She started the all-women tour after she decided to become a comic at age 49. “I created Women Who Kick Comedy Butt specifically to give women like me the opportunity to develop stage time,” she said. “I got tired of hearing excuses that women weren’t that funny and they only had jokes about sex, or that they couldn’t book me because there was ‘already a woman on the bill’.” White has remained true to her business philosophy to promote and produce women who keep things PG-13 and have real talent they can showcase in short, powerful sets. “The moment when people laugh is a rare moment in society,” she said. “Everyone is on the same page together. They’re not thinking about before the show or what’s happening after. They’re focused in the present. We’re all connected.” Born and raised in San Diego, White first realized she was funny at the age of 7 in church. “My Sunday school teacher couldn’t get a word in edgewise,” she said, adding she didn’t think her parents saw her antics as amusing back then. Letting her voice be heard has been a constant thread throughout her life. An activist in the 1960s and 70s, she lived in a commune for a time, earning her the affection designation of “That Old Hippie Chick” when she began hitting the comedy circuit. In a recent TV interview, White said she “learned that activism is only successful when it’s non-reactive.” She continues to use that wisdom in the midst of her own battle with cancer, speaking out about the current healthcare crisis in the U.S., an issue that hits home. “My daughter purchased insurance for me,” said White, who was then self-employed. “The minute I got coverage I felt really bad for everyone else who doesn’t have it. My heart broke,” she said adding that her cancer was diagnosed as a result of he first exam. Since then, the activist in her resolved to shine the spotlight on what she considers an “obscene” situation in the wealthiest country in the world. “Forty-eight million American families are without healthcare of any kind. Many can’t even afford their medications,” she said, adding “1.4 million Americans have to file bankruptcy every year due to medical bills and co-payments they can’t handle as the result of a life threatening illness.” White believes her cancer may have been found at an earlier stage if she had had healthcare coverage. “Thousands of people have stepped up to help me,” White said. “I’m deeply touched by the overwhelming proportion of people who care. It is beyond my comprehension the amount of love that continues to be shown.” Tickets for the American Lung Association benefit are $20 per person. They are on sale at Calamity Jane’s Confections, 7 No. Main St., at the Mane Tamer, 219 Railroad Ave. For more information, call (530) 913-6300 or (530) 613-2232.