Go to Southpaw to laugh at cancer

for The Brooklyn Paper
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Cancer is hilarious. At least, it is at Southpaw this month.

On May 20, the Park Slope bar hosts “Comedy for Cancer,” a fundraiser for the American Cancer Society that’s aimed at “people you don’t see at fundraisers,” said Garland Harwood, a cancer survivor who’s organizing the night of comedy for the second year in a row. “It’s not a Bill Cosby crowd.”

This year’s benefit includes rising comedy star Sean Patton, who was recently featured on “Jimmy Kimmel Live.” Returning from last year’s show are Adam Newman, Trevor Williams and Nick Ross, a regular at Upright Citizen’s Brigade and on

Ross, a cancer survivor as well, doesn’t shy away from including his experiences in his routine; he even has a whole one-man show about going through cancer treatment called, “Highly Evolved Human” that’s toured the country.

“So, why do a show about cancer?” Ross shot out at the audience at last year’s benefit. “I don’t know. Maybe I just want to get it out of my system.”

Other bits of his routine explore what it’s like to tell your friends you have cancer when you’re in your mid-20s and the realities of dating when you’re about to go through eight months of chemotherapy.

“He doesn’t make light of cancer, but he makes light of all the hilarious things that happen to you when you have cancer,” said Harwood.

Maybe laughter really is the best medicine.

Comedy for Cancer at Southpaw [125 Fifth Ave. at Sterling Place in Park Slope, (718) 230-0236], May 20 at 8 pm. Tickets $10 in advance, $15 at the door. For more, visit

— Elizabeth Dana

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Reader Feedback

Carol from Park Slope says:
I don't think that cancer is laughing matter, and as a christian this article sincerely offends me. Plus the tickets are really over priced considering the low level of quality Nick usually delivers. Perhaps this whole cancer thing is just a ploy to sell more over priced tickets. In any event, you won't see me falling for it.
May 14, 2010, 5:39 am
Heathen from Boerum Hill says:
Carol: As a human, you are demonstrably lame and a party pooper to boot. Give it up. Sincerely, Joe Heathen
May 14, 2010, 10:34 pm
Nick from Crown Heights says:

As a Christian, does the word Evolved offend you?
May 18, 2010, 12:41 pm
Garland from Ditmas Park says:
Carol, This event is not for everyone, but you're missing the boat here and clearly did not read this article.
For the record, this is not the most fitting headline since no one at this event is laughing at cancer. We're only making light of the experiences that we have when we deal with cancer.
And $10 is too much? It's a fundraiser to support crucial cancer services in Brooklyn. Have you ever been to a fundraiser for less than $10? Have you ever been to Southpaw for less than $10?
I'm a Christian too and the founder of the event. Sorry if the way I'm celebrating my survival and supporting a great cause that helped me when I was sick offends you.
May 21, 2010, 7:15 am

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