The American Red Cross welcomed supporters and comedy aficionados to its fundraiser, the 23rd Annual Fritz Coleman Comedy Show at the Glendale Centre Theatre. Coleman, popular Channel 4 weathercaster and talented stand-up comedian, didn’t disappoint the packed house.
Coleman recruited four of his comic colleagues who regaled the audience with stories and jokes that kept everyone laughing for the entire two hours.
Applause greeted Ron Farina, executive officer of the Glendale-Crescenta Valley Red Cross Chapter, when he introduced Coleman by announcing that “Fritz said he’s going for 25″ – meaning the ARC can look forward to at least two more years of Coleman emceeing the popular event.
First to take the mic was Carlos Alazraqui, whose impressive credentials include a role on Comedy Central’s “Reno 911″ and a voiceover role in the recently released “Book of Life” animated film. Alazraqui also shared that he is the voice of the Taco Bell Chihuahua. His material focused on the “joys” of being a 50-something with young children – and a 20 years younger wife.
Jack Coen followed Alazraqui, and he had some funny stories to tell about the misadventures of his 2-year-old, along with amusing observations on aging and current events like the recent intruder in the White House. Coen is a longtime writer and producer of “The Tonight Show with Jay Leno,” and it was evident from his material that his tenure with Leno was well earned.
Next up was Kira Soltanovich, who has written for a number of TV stars, including the late Joan Rivers. A Russian emigrée, Soltanovich did a spot-on parody of her mother, accent and all, exaggerating how hard life was in the Soviet Union compared to America. Childbirth and marriage were just some of the subjects that got the Soltanovich treatment and, judging by the laughter resonating through the theater, her humor struck many chords with the audience.
The closing act was Don McMillan, a self-proclaimed nerd (not to be confused with a geek, as he carefully explained) who used a PowerPoint presentation to demonstrate several social concepts, as well as to prove that it would have been faster for him to fly from his home base in Santa Monica to Las Vegas, then to Burbank, and then drive from Bob Hope Airport to the theatre, instead of making the commute via the Los Angeles freeways. McMillan has a master’s degree in electrical engineering from Stanford University and he knew how to perfectly engineer laughs from the crowd.
Distinguished audience members in attendance included recently elected City Councilwoman Paula Devine, as well as former Glendale-CV ARC Board Chairman Mike Haney.