Did you hear the one about the fund-raiser last Thursday night at the Improvisation Comedy Club in Irvine?
Seems there was this group, the Carousel chapter of the Guilds of the Orange County Performing Arts Center, and they wanted to raise money and have fun at the same time.
Sounds simple enough. But there were also some things they \o7 didn't\f7 want. They didn't want the event to be just another off-the-rack fund-raiser. And they didn't want to have to dress up in tuxedos and gowns.
So, they put on T-shirts--emblazoned with a custom "Shamrock Cafe" logo in honor of St. Patrick's Day--and chipped in $85 each for an evening of prime rib, broiled chicken and laughs, laughs and more laughs.
"You folks look like a bowling team," chided comic Dan Chopin, "everybody's got on the same shirts."
The shirts may have started out the same, but many were hardly standard issue by the time they were worn to the event. Carousel chapter president Judy Smith's shirt, for example, was embellished with plastic jewels.
Other guests sewed ruffles to their shirts, turning them into dresses, or cut off collars and sleeves.
Paula Preston, celebrating her birthday ("I don't want to say which one") at the event, cropped her shirt down to a tiny T to go with a mini skirt. Her date, Tom Williams, accessorized his shirt with green suspenders. Dave Cornett topped his shirt with a tropical print shirt for an Irish-Hawaiian look.
"A lot of people enjoy a chance to get out and be casual," said Sue Orth who, along with Julie Wilson, handled publicity. "In Orange County, we have a lot of the same kind of evenings. We wanted this to be a breath of fresh air.
"Our group used to do ladies' fashion shows," Orth said. "That's a really traditional mode. Then we had a night out in Paris theme, an Italian theme and last year we had a Caribbean theme."
Singing comedian Barbara Scott opened the evening with some off-the-wall ditties, including a song about a rejected lover: "I've Got My Face in the Fridge Over You."
Then Chopin touched on topics such as Surrogate Mother's Day--"After dinner, we're going to get out the microscope and show slides of the family"; dictionaries--"Did you ever think about how the word dictionary is actually in the dictionary?" and weddings--"A friend of mine got married for the second time, and at the reception they served leftovers."
Headliner J.J. Wall poked some fun at "Irrrr-vine. Here, they don't sell you the land, they lease it to you. If they sold you the land, you might want to paint your house in a color that's not an earth tone. Next thing you know, people would be putting up basketball hoops in front of their garages."
Event chairwoman Colleen Bettingen estimated proceeds at about $12,000.