Booker makes politics a joke

    It’s great to learn that Newark Mayor and New Jersey U.S. Senate candidate Cory Booker will perform at Daily News columnist Stu Bykofsky’s “Candidates’ Comedy Night” August 21.

    It’s an annual fundraiser for the childrens’ charity Variety in which political candidates get up and try their hand at stand-up.

    As you can see from my video report on last year’s event, most politicians aren’t that funny when they’re trying to be. But Stu always delivers a decent routine and has a professional comic perform to ensure there are some real laughs.

    It’s usually fun night of comedy and camraderie, and Booker’s star power will help boost attendance in an off-year election.

    Stu is particularly fortunate to get Booker for the evening, since Booker was somehow too busy to participate in the League of Women Voters Debate among Democratic candidates which aired on Channel 6 and the New York ABC station last weekend.

    It’s conventional wisdom in politics that a candidate with a big lead doesn’t give his opponents the benefit of a shared platform, and tries to avoid situations where a gaffe can hurt. His campaign has said he will participate in two debates.

    But seriously, you stiff the League of Women Voters?

    Anyway, here are the details for the coming Comedy Night — it’s for a good cause.

    Newark Mayor Cory Booker to Bring His Senatorial Campaign and Jokesto 23rd Annual “Stu Bykofsky Candidates’ Comedy Night™”August 21, 2013, at Finnigan’s Wake, 3rd and Spring Garden Streets

    PHILADELPHIA (August 1, 2013) – Newark Mayor Cory Booker, Democratic candidate to fill New Jersey’s U.S. Senate seat, has confirmed that he will perform at the 23rd Annual “Stu Bykofsky Candidates’ Comedy Night™.”

    “This is a first for us,” said Daily News columnist Stu Bykofsky, who is the show’s originator, producer and host. “While we have had Pennsylvania candidates for U.S. Senate – everyone from Harris Wofford to Rick Santorum to Arlen Specter to Bob Casey Jr. to Pat Toomey – this is the first time we have had a New Jersey candidate.

    “Because of his great generosity of spirit, Mayor Booker agreed to participate even before the August 13th primary election, which he is expected to win. His opponent, to be determined on August 13th, also will be invited,” said Bykofsky.

    The traditional summer event will be held Wednesday, August 21st. Doors open at 7:30 p.m., the show starts at 8 p.m. and is expected to conclude by 9:30 p.m. The Philadelphia Inquirer has called the show, which has raised some $475,000 for Variety since 1991, “a rite of city politics.”

    Professional comedy headliners are veteran Philadelphia funnyman Grover Silcox and rising star Doogie Horner. In addition to Mayor Booker, headlining this year will be returning comedy-show veteran Alan Butkovitz, the Democratic incumbent Philadelphia controller. His Republican opponent, Terry Tracy, is making his comedy-show debut. In the contest for Philadelphia District Attorney, Democratic incumbent Seth Williams will face off against Republican challenger Danny Alvarez.

    In addition to the candidates, there is usually a surprise or two, and a 50/50 drawing to raise money for Variety. This is the 13th year the show will be at Finnigan’s Wake, provided free of charge by Mike Driscoll of Finnigan’s. Everything connected with the show, from the room to the printing of tickets by Center City’s the Printer’s Place, to the printing of the show program by Jenkintown’s Kalnin Graphics, to staff services are free. Everything raised by the zero-overhead show goes to the charity.

    Tables are assigned on the basis of checks arriving, so early checks get the best tables. The cost of tickets – individual tickets ($75 each) and tables of 10 ($750) – is tax deductible. Checks should be made out to Variety and mailed to: Variety, c/o Comedy Show; 1520 Locust Street, 2nd Floor, Philadelphia, PA 19102. To order using a credit card, call Eric Perry (215) 735-0803 ext. 11.

    About Variety – The Children’s Charity: Since 1935, Variety has continued its mission of building independence and self-confidence in children and youth with disabilities by engaging them in recreational, social and educational enrichment activities, while connecting families to resources. Tent 13 (the Philadelphia chapter) is part of an international charity that helps children with special needs around the world. For more information, or to donate, go to www.varietyphila.org.

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