It’s not every night that a good laugh goes to benefit a good cause, and it might never happen again for someone 16 or 17 years old — at least until that person is old enough to vote and get into comedy clubs.
On Sunday, Feb. 11 only, the Ice House comedy club in Pasadena will lower its age requirement to 16, meaning high school juniors and seniors can come enjoy renowned comedians Maz Jobrani, David Koechner, Anthony Griffith and La Cañada Flintridge resident Ron Pearson as they perform in a show called, “Jokes for Joy.” The event will raise money for Once Upon a Room, which decorates children’s hospital rooms to make the space more comfortable.
The entirety of the night’s proceeds will go to the nonprofit, said event organizer Reagan Meyers, a La Cañada High School senior whose father will be among the comedians performing and whose devotion to Once Upon a Room stems from her personal experience as a patient at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles.
“I had spinal fusion surgery in 2015 and I was in the hospital for a week, roughly,” said Meyers, recalling that Jenny Hull — director of Once Upon a Room — took the time to come personalize her room, incorporating her favorite colors and hanging decorative lanterns from the ceiling.
“It was the cutest thing ever!” said Meyers, who was on the Miss LCF court last year. “It seriously changed everything for me and really made a huge difference. I’m so thankful that she came and did that for me, so I think it’s my turn to give back to Jenny and the organization.”
She’s dedicated her entire senior project to Once Upon a Room, brainstorming three installments: In the fall, she created and sold calendars featuring LCHS senior boys posed in scenes inspired by iconic movies. In spring, she plans to stage a powder puff football game between the junior and senior girls that will raise funds.
“She told me, “I really want to keep helping out,’” Hull said. “We made a difference in her life at a time that was scary … so not only does she want to help, she knows what it’s like to be a recipient, so it’s great that she’s giving back in such a great way.”
And the current project — putting on a comedy show with some of the most talented comics working — seemed like a perfect way to promote and support Once Upon a Room.
“My dad is a comedian and has been for years and years, and I was wanting to add another component to the fundraising and I thought, ‘We should do a comedy show!’” Meyers said. “And so I asked my dad for help to make the show happen and I’m so grateful that it worked out and so excited.”
So is he.
For one, “When Jenny asked Reagan, ‘Would you like to help me for your senior project?,’ Reagan said, ‘Absolutely, my family is all in on that!’”
Furthermore, Ron Pearson emphasizes how special this event is: “The thought that somebody 16 years old gets to see this kind of show is almost impossible — you can’t find that anywhere! These guys are rarely in clubs this small, let alone with this age range. It’s once-in-a-lifetime for that age to get to experience that; hopefully kids will take advantage.”
These guys boast impressive credentials: Pearson, a comedian, actor and world-record juggler, starred on “Malcolm & Eddie” and has guest starred on everything from “The Drew Carey Show,” to “Two Guys and a Girl,” to the “The George Lopez Show” and “Chelsea Lately.” He’s made numerous late night appearances, including on the “The Late Late Show” and “The Dennis Miller Show” and starred in “The Apostles of Comedy,” alongside Griffith.
Griffith is a veteran of more than 25 national TV appearances, including “The Tonight Show With Jay Leno” among other gigs on HBO and Comedy Central.
Jobrani is known in part for a pair of Showtime specials, “Brown and Friendly,” and “I Come in Peace,” as well as for being a founding member of “The Axis of Evil Comedy Tour.”
And Koechner, recognizable for playing the character of Todd Packer on NBC’s hit comedy “The Office,” also was in “Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy,” “The Dukes of Hazzard,” “The 40-Year-Old Virgin,” and “Snakes on a Plane,” among many more.
Their jokes Sunday will help lift the spirits of children in hospital rooms across the region.
“It costs us a lot to do what we do,” Hull said. “So it’s great when we can do these kind of fundraisers, that we can make a difference, so we can make so many more kids smile. That’s the whole idea, to bring them some joy while they’re going through this.”
That’s no joke, and Pearson gets it.
“We know firsthand as a family what this organization does and how it changes the whole feel of your stay there and how it makes it so much more comfortable,” he said. “You should see what people go through down there, and considering all the sorrow and pain that goes on at CHLA, it’s still an unbelievably magical place. And Jenny Hull is magical as well.”