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Comedy Show to Benefit Parkinson's Foundation

A group of stand-up comedians will perform Friday, April 30, at American Legion Post 344, 210 Chestnut Terrace, Rockaway, to help a not-so-funny cause: The proceeds will benefit the New York City-based Parkinson's Disease Foundation.

Each of the six performers has a unique style and material. Although their routines are different, they have one thing in common: They'll make you laugh.

Four of the featured performers make up The Late Shift, a group of "life experienced" people, all of whom are over age 50, who met at an introductory  comedy workshop. Since 2007, they've been building a following in Morris County and northwestern New Jersey.

"Each of us finds humor in the everyday experiences of growing up, growing old and everything in between," says Phil Sweet, a member of the group who retired from his corporate career at 59, when he was diagnosed with Parkinson's disease. "If you don't think there's humor in being a Boy Scout . . . if you can't believe a hospital chart is funny . . . you probably haven't seen The Late Shift."

Sweet was born in Scranton, Pa., has lived in Sparta for 18 years and had the best possible training for stand-up comedy: 30 years in the corporate world. Although his claims of being an undercover agent for the "Dilbert" comic strip are suspect, there's no doubt his original take on a world gone wacky will give you something to think and laugh about.

Julie McCormick moved to Long Valley from Iowa 25 years ago. New Jersey didn't reject the transplant, so  she's still here. Along the way, she's learned that life is rarely what you'd expect — and she's had just about enough of that, thank you very much.

Fred Holzapfel of Long Valley is an Elizabeth escapee who's caught in that awkward phase between high on life and contemplating various measures to bring it to an abrupt end. You need to catch Holzapfel's next performance because, either way, you win.

Peggy Robinson was born and raised in New Jersey and taught school in Morris County her entire career. As "retirement therapy" (i.e. to get out of the house), she began doing stand-up comedy to share her reflections on people, the world and the changes in her life.

The show also will feature comedian Alex Barnett, who was born in Brooklyn and deported to Long Island, where he was raised by his parents in an overprotective shell. While pursuing his day job as a lawyer, he realized that his true gift was in making fun of the law, as well as his own neuroses, his raging hypochondria, married people and other topics too numerous to mention.

Randy Tonge is a West Indian-born performer whose comedy touches on his early childhood years on the island of Antigua, then Pennsylvania. Tonge is a heady comedian whose wit, song parodies and charismatic stage presence are guaranteed to keep audiences entertained.

Phil Sweet is a "PDF Champion."  To learn more about these dedicated grassroots fundraisers, visit

Source Date: Apr 27 2010
Source Publication: The Daily Record
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