‘Laugh4Hope’ comedy benefit returns for more laughs

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One of the three comedians sharing the mic at an upcoming benefit says he is committed to “comedy that won’t leave a filthy residue.”

Better yet, the hilarity just might leave audiences refreshed and having a renewed outlook on life. That’s exactly the aim of the second Laugh4Hope comedy night April 11 at Grand Canyon University benefitting Life Choices Women’s Clinics and the Hope Mobile Unit.

“We’re just passionate about life, about families, and about good, clean fun,” said Bridget Hurley, one of the 20 or so volunteer event coordinators.

They all sought a way to bring people together in a manner that also lifted their spirits. Three supported the effort solely through prayer. What emerged is a family-friendly evening that Hurley sees as part of the new chapter of evangelization marked by joy.

“There were just smiles, happy, glowing faces,” Hurley said of the inaugural Laugh4Hope. “People who are out there suffering came up and said thank you for the event.”

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Laugh4Hope

When: 7 p.m., April 11
Where: Grand Canyon University, 3300 W. Camelback Road, Phoenix
Tickets: $16 or $26. Special seating if purchased in groups of 10.
Info: www.laugh4hopephx.com or call (480) 448-5600

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Organizers scoured the nation to line up another trio of family-friendly comedians. They found one who is Catholic, another familiar with crisis pregnancy centers and a third known among young adults and for his “Christian Girl Instagram” bit. Tom Wilson, John Branyon and John Crist, respectively, will entertain audience members of many faiths and backgrounds.

Wilson will be the first Catholic comedian to appear at the event. Hurley said it would be particularly interesting to hear his take on things. Wilson played “Biff” in “Back to the Future,” a film set in 2015.

Branyon has appeared at similar crisis pregnancy benefits in other parts of the country. He has participated in Jay Leno’s National Comedy Competition, written for American Comedy Network and will be part of the first Comedy Cruise this summer.

Crist, a homeschooled son of a preacher, has found success among young adult audiences, especially with his “Christian Girl Instagram” bit. He gave over 250 live shows last year and performs with the USO Comedy Tour for the Troops.

Uplifting others from their woes is something Life Choices Women’s Clinic does for some 7,000 women each year at its two brick-and-mortar locations in Phoenix and its Hope Mobile Unit. They provide well women exams and pregnancy support, including ultrasounds for those who are abortion-vulnerable, material assistance and direct aid.

Last year’s Laugh4Hope supported funding for a 4D Ultrasound machine aboard the mobile unit. It regularly travels the Valley stopping at health fairs, St. Matthew Parish and local abortion clinics, especially during 40 Days for Life prayer campaigns.

“We see more women come on board during 40 Days for Life than any other time,” said Tonya Gruszynski, executive director of Life Choices Women’s Clinic.

Hurley said she respects how Life Choices offers wholesome healthcare, not just a band-aid approach, and journeys with their patients, who are often vulnerable and working poor.

She invited anyone looking to remove the weight of the world from their shoulders to attend Laugh4Hope. It’s a way to enjoy what is good, true and beautiful about what God has given us, she said.

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