The benefit show Monday at the Glendale Centre Theatre had a serious purpose--raising money for victims of the hillside fire that destroyed or damaged 66 homes in the city in June.
KNBC weatherman Fritz Coleman and three stand-up comedians contributed a night of jokes about airline food, dieting, Southern California's real estate obsession and the rigors of childbirth.
Coleman, a Glendale resident who proposed the fund-raiser and rounded up the performers, even poked fun at his former neighbor, Mayor Larry Zarian, who was in the audience.
"I'm a weatherman--a grueling, exhausting profession in a place where there literally is not weather," he told the audience. "Severe weather in California is when you can't barbecue."
On a more serious note offstage, Coleman said he learned of the June 27 fire while aboard an airliner over Denver. He said he used a phone aboard the plane to call a neighbor, trying to find out whether his Royal Canyon home was in danger.
Although Coleman's home was spared, the weatherman contacted Zarian to propose a comedy fund-raiser to aid fire victims. Coleman persuaded comedians Max Alexander, J.J. Wall and Jeff Cesario to perform two shows for free. The city's parks and recreation staff supervised ticket sales.
Use of the theater was donated, along with food and flowers from several Glendale merchants. Almost 700 people attended, with tickets priced at $20 each.
Zarian announced Tuesday that ticket sales generated about $12,400, and other donations raised almost $7,600 for the Glendale-Crescenta Valley Chapter of the American Red Cross.
William B. Dutton, the chapter's executive director, said the money will be used to offset the past and future expense of aiding fire victims. He said the chapter is helping 23 families, but he said the figure might rise if other victims need more help after insurance reimbursements.
Dutton said the Red Cross provided food and clothing to victims immediately after the fire.