Comedy MichaeClayton2(MBowles)

Published on February 5th, 2013 | by Jessica Mickey


Michael Clayton and Company Support the Ali Forney Center

This Sunday, Feb. 10, a large chunk of the local stand-up comedy community will congregate at the Tin Roof and tell jokes for charity’s sake. Organized by Charleston comic Michael Clayton, all proceeds from Comedy for a Cause will go to the Ali Forney Center, a charity that provides shelter and support for LGBT youth.


A long-time supporter of gay rights, when it came time for Clayton to produce his own charity show, it was an obvious choice which organization should be the beneficiary. “I chose the Ali Forney Center because I felt its goal of providing support for LGBT youth who have been disowned by their families was a beautiful cause,” he explains. “I also liked the fact it didn’t put the politics of this issue front and center; while I don’t agree with opposition of gay rights, I recognize many people are, and they are entitled to their opinion, but I don’t believe anyone of rational mind would argue there is a reason to disown and abandon a child in need purely for a difference in lifestyle. Compassion should not have any political or ideological restrictions.”

So far, the list of comics participating include Ryan Firster, Andy Rider, Sarah Porter, Bill Davis, Sam Jackel, Moey Conway, Kristen Spinney, Danny Green, Lauren Krass, Tommy Hutchins, Taylor Rizzo, and possibly more, with Clayton himself acting as ringleader.

“I asked performers who would be reliable onstage but also would present a wide variety of styles,” Clayton says. “People like myself, Bill Davis, and Sam Jackel prefer edgier material, and performers like Lauren Krass and Andy Rider are lighter but by no means no less hilarious. Though this show is being done with a lot of heart, the goal is to make a supportive audience laugh, and I chose the comics based on that criteria.”

Though the show is advertised as edgy and uncensored, don’t expect any cheap shots (well, except for any specials the Tin Roof is offering) aimed at the LGBT community. According to Clayton, “I think performers should be free to tell any type of jokes they wish; with that said, I would not put a homophobic comic on the roster because the context of any material regarding LGBT material in that instance would be malicious. I’ve had LGBT jokes that have been embraced by the LGBT demographic. People also don’t realize the LGBT community has dealt with so much legitimately cruel behavior that most of them have the most amazing propensity to appreciate truly warped humor. This is a show for everyone who loves unrestricted humor, and the objective of every comic is to make sure the audience enjoys the show.”

The main purpose of the event is to raise as much money possible for the Ali Forney Center, but Clayton admits there’s something in it for the comics, too. “The goal is to see if allowing a group of broken people to explain why they hate themselves can actually help others. Nothing heals the wounds left by hatred like self-deprecation and an adorable dick joke.”

Comedy for a Cause: A Charity Stand-Up Benefit for the Ali Forney Center will take place at the Tin Roof at 9 p.m. on Sun. Feb. 10. Admission is a $5 (or higher) donation. Advance tickets are available here.

Top photo of Michael Clayton by Marshall Bowles.




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About the Author

Jessica Mickey

has considered Charleston home since she first moved here in 2001. She regularly performs improv at Theatre 99 and dabbles in stand-up comedy in various venues around the Lowcountry. Jessica has also cohosted morning radio shows on 96Wave and 98X, as well as wrote the weekly column "The Chase is On" for the Charleston City Paper. She can barely play the ukulele Ballard bought her for Christmas last year, but after a couple of drinks, she can sing the shit out of some karaoke.

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