Comedy for a cause continues

On Saturday, Oct. 12, Toby Hargrave and the Heritage Playhouse will be kicking off the second year of Comedy Clubhouse fundraisers for local groups. 

Hargrave works wherever a busy and popular comedian and actor can. His movie roles listed online include flake, stoner-surfer guy, bartender, and pirate. As a comedian, he’s appeared at Just for Laughs in Montreal, Halifax Comedy Festival, and Edmonton Comedy Festival and he tours internationally performing at comedy spots across North America. One of the projects he’s working on at the moment is a horror-comedy that could be filming next year. 

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Home is Halfmoon Bay, where he lives with his wife and family and where he is sinking roots into this community. He decided last year he wanted to give back and organized the Comedy Clubhouse at the Heritage Playhouse to benefit local community organizations. The first one to benefit was the Arrowhead Clubhouse in Sechelt. And once again, the first show this year will be a fundraiser for the Clubhouse. 

Hargrave heard about Arrowhead from a neighbour who told him what great work was happening with mentally ill clubhouse members, but he had never visited. Last week he went by for lunch and to see for himself. 

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Cassidy Presley, Arrowhead Clubhouse member, takes a break from preparing lunch to show some of his artwork.

“It’s organized chaos,” Hargrave said. “I loved it.” He said he was astonished at all they were doing. Hargrave enjoyed the lunch (shepherd’s pie and Yorkshire pudding prepared by the members). He saw the art program in action (making candles this day). He met some of the Arrowhead board members. He heard about the job training programs, about the challenges members face with homelessness (not all are homeless and not all homeless are mentally ill and eligible to be members). As Hargrave said, “Clubhouse sounds like a place to hang out, but this is a place where people are fed emotionally as well as physically.” 

After the shows last year, Hargrave said he was astounded how much people appreciated it. “That was incredibly humbling and touching.” He said it wasn’t a lot of money raised, but it’s nice to be appreciated and to raise awareness. Other shows this year will benefit the SPCA, the Heritage Playhouse, and Bellies and Babies. 

The Oct. 12 show will be hosted by Hargrave and kicked off by magician-ventriloquist Damien James (who “fooled” Penn and Teller on their show Fool Us). The headliner is the very popular and hard-working comedian Charlie Demers. This show is for adults only (18+). Tickets are $25, available at Sechelt Fish Market, The Blackberry Shop in Gibsons, and online at heritageplayhouse.com/shop. All the shows last year sold out.

– Submitted by Jane Covernton

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