The old proverb says laughter is the best medicine. On Friday night, three Roxborough-native comics will bust out the laughs to benefit cancer research at Keenan’s Valley View Inn. Fifteen-year comedy veteran Chris Morris headlines the show with his neighbors Tom Cassidy and Ed Scanlan which includes a dinner buffet starting at 6:30 p.m. Proceeds from the $30 tickets will go to 13-year-old Louie Pacell, a cancer survivor who runs marathons to raise money for medical charities.
It’s a return to his roots for 32-year-old Morris, who began performing when he was 17 years old at charity events in his neighborhood. His first comedy show ever was a fundraiser for St. John the Baptist church in Manayunk, and his routine was entirely lifted from “Saturday Night Live” celebrity impersonations and Rodney Dangerfield tapes.
“When I started out it was all stolen material,” Morris says. “I had the mannerisms and voice down and because I was a kid, people let me slide.”
But over time Morris learned what he calls the craft of comedy, and has since taken on acting gigs too in independent films and television shows in Los Angeles and New York City. He describes his comedy as a mix of self deprecating jokes with Don Rickles-inspired audience participation.
“Being a comic and an actor, it’s tough,” Morris says. “I’m broke a lot. I talk about not being able to get girls.”
And Morris has seasoned his stage prowess with some memorably brutal performances during the past decades. A heckler once threw a Jell-o shot at Morris during a show at a fire hall. Morris caught the shot and drank it on stage.
“Next thing I look up and see three or four other shots coming at me,” Morris says. “Somehow, they invited me back next year.”
Joining Morris on Saturday night is Center City Comedy’s Tom Cassidy, a 26-year-old real estate management product turned full-time joke teller since November 2011.
Cassidy hosts standup comedy open mic nights at the Raven Lounge on Thursdays, and says he performs five to ten times a week, sometimes traveling to New York City and back in one day for performances. His humor index ranges from bits about Snoop Dogg to community college.
“For me, comedy is my five-year plan,” says Cassidy, who has performed standup comedy since 2008.
Also performing is Ed Scanlan, a Roxborough native now living in Norristown, who began performing comedy shows two and a half years ago at the urging of his friend Chris Morris.
“I think we all have different styles and we work off each other,” Scanlan says. “It’s a Roxborough homecoming, the return of the prodigal sons.”
Call 215.510.2912 to order tickets. The performance starts at 8 p.m.