The sad truth about comedy is that even the most skilled comedian is not offered medical insurance by the clubs and theaters that employ them. Comedians are considered independent contractors therefore receive zero benefits. Medical care is expensive and if your employer doesn’t offer insurance and you can’t afford a decent plan, it can even be unaffordable. Judd Apatow and Pete Holmes shed some light on the very real struggles comedians face with addiction and the ability to pay their medical bills in an impactful episode of, “Crashing” that featured Artie Lange getting very real. So, what is a comedian to do if they get sick, need surgery, suffer from mental illness, need addiction counseling or face an unexpected hardship, like a house fire or flood? Aside from the occasional fundraiser at a comedy club or “gofundme” being shared on social media to help a comedian in need, there hasn’t been an organization comedians could turn to for support…Until now!!!
Comedy Gives Back is a charity that provides comedians support in the form of healthcare, mental health services, substance abuse treatment and emergency financial relief grants. Comedy Gives Back co-founders, Zoe Friedman, Jodi Lieberman and Amber J. Lawson are genuinely passionate about comedy and have extensive experience working with comedians within the industry and over the course of time they recognized the abundant need that exists for this kind of support within the comedy community. They, like all fans of comedy, have weathered the loss of comedic greats such as Robin Williams, Richard Jeni and Brody Stevens to suicide, listened as comedians such as Maria Bamford, Gary Gulman and Hannah Gadsby share stories and tell jokes about their struggles with mental illness, and watched as comedians who seemed to have all of the power of a superhero while they’re on stage, struggle to live “one day at a time” under the weight of addiction. Now, thanks to these ladies, help has arrived and any comedian in need, who has been working for the past five years, can apply to receive support at www.comedygivesback.com.
Zoe Friedman, Jodi Lieberman and Amber J. Lawson co-hosted Comedy Gives Back’s first major fundraiser last Thursday. The evening featured performances by Sarah Silverman, David Spade, Reggie Watts, Byron Bowers and Miss Pat and raised upwards of $90,000 from donors such as LiveNation, Moontower Comedy Festival and NetFlix and this is only the beginning for these philanthropic champions of comedy!
The Comedy Gives Back team has partnered with song writers Avery Pearson of The Goddamn Comedy Jam and Jordan Baum to record a hilarious holiday song called, “Christmas Magic” and starting today, everyone can donate to Comedy Gives Back by downloading “Christmas Magic”! It’s over 6 minutes of holiday fun, is available for download on all music platforms and thanks to the generosity of Universal Music and 800 Pound Gorilla Records 100% of the proceeds from “Christmas Magic” will benefit Comedy Gives Back and the comedians they support.
“Christmas Magic” features 60 of the biggest names in comedy including Richard Lewis who is a Comedy Gives Back board member and has always been very open about his sobriety, Howie Mandel and all of his cheerful animated glory, David Koechman comes in strong and nails his vocals, Louie Anderson and the Sklar brothers share how the Christmas spirit transcends all religions, Jim Jeffries tells us how he celebrates Christmas with his child and is a surprisingly good singer, Jeff Ross shares what’s on his Christmas list, Arden Myrin tells us which Santa she believes in, Greg Fitzsimmons and Brian Posehn tell us about their lame office Christmas party, Doug Benson explains why he ate the Christmas tree, and lucky for Doug Benson Steve Bryne gave him a ride home and that’s just a few of my highlights from this star studded music video! There are so many comedians singing in “Christmas Magic” I cannot possibly name them all. You will simply have to watch it, download it and share it!
Comedy has always brought people together. It gives reason to get together with loved ones, it makes friends out of strangers and gives license to laugh your worries away. And what would comedy be if not for the comedian? Hopefully everyone will feel a little “Christmas Magic” this holiday season and download the song today! It’s available on all music platforms now! You can also donate to this worthy cause by going to www.comedygivesback.com and clicking on the “donate” button. #Blessed