By Lori Berkey, Contributing Writer
Shrewsbury – Carol Little accidently discovered she could repeatedly bring a smile to her mother's face if she used a funny, one-word family expression. Her mom suffers from Alzheimer's disease, making her prone to confusion and mood swings. After finding out that humor brought her mother joy, Little started a nonprofit organization aimed at bringing laughter to others experiencing difficulty or pain.
Little, of Shrewsbury, founded A Good Laugh, Inc. five years ago. Initially, her entity focused on donating comedy DVD collections and humorous books to institutions who served their targeted group. They provided this service to the American Cancer Society's Hope Lodges in Worcester and Boston as well as the Hole in the Wall Gang Camp in Connecticut.
After the initial projects, Little said, the organization wanted to bring a more “personal touch” to the humor. They decided to organize a live comedy show to bring relief to participants of area support groups.
“Since our founding in 2008,” Little said, “A Good Laugh's mission has been to provide humor to those affected by illness, injury, depression and trauma. It seemed a natural extension to reach out to the support groups that were serving the same people.”
After much planning, the organization's first live comedy event is set for Saturday, Sept. 21 at 2 p.m. at Veterans Inc., 59 South St., in Shrewsbury. The show is free to support group members whose leaders register with A Good Laugh by Saturday, Aug. 31, and $10 for the general public.
Well-known Boston comedian, Paul Nardizzi, is the slated headliner. Nardizzi has performed on Conan O”Brien, Comedy Central and at other high-profile venues. An opening act will help warm the giggle muscles for an evening of clean fun. Entertaining wares will also be raffled.
Reminiscing about how A Good Laugh tussled to gain nonprofit status just as the economy was taking a nosedive, Little said a sense of humor was essential for fundraising during that time.
“That's when you know you'se doing something that's really meaningful to you,” she added, “I love comedy and the simple power it has to transform something negative into a positive.”
As Little and her board embarked their new venture, her sense of humor came in handy again.
“When we made the decision to put together a live comedy show,” she said, “I had no idea how much work it would entail. A lot of time was spent on targeting and researching local support groups, contacting them and hoping for a positive response. It's been a little like herding cats. I think we wound up in a lot of spam files at first.”
Now that the show is set, Little said she hopes the positive power of humor will help alleviate pain or distress for support group members and provide camaraderie. She is happy the general public will be able to hear a star comedian while supporting the cause.
Little said the Shrewsbury community is incredibly giving, and she appreciates those who helped bring the show about. She credited her board of directors for their counsel and encouragement, and the donors for their “unflagging support.”
Veterans Inc. in Shrewsbury also gained Little's praise. She commended their work with “the heroes who served our country,” and valued their publicity help.
Little revealed why she keeps doing what she does: “A favorite quote of mine by George Eliot sums it up perfectly: “What do we live for, if it is not to make life less difficult for each other?””
To order or purchase tickets, contact Little at [email protected]. To respect confidentiality, no personal information is required to order tickets.