By Valerie Franchi, Contributing Writer
Marlborough – Friends and family of popular Marlborough resident Justin Clement, who died unexpectedly in March at the age of 32, are organizing a comedy show to raise funds for a scholarship in his honor.
The show, titled “Addicted To Laughter,” will be held Thursday, Jan. 29, and will feature two up-and-coming headliners Mark Normand and Joe List.
Organizer Eric Taylor said that the idea came about through his love of standup comedy and his desire to help support the scholarship and addiction-related charities.
“We hadn’t put together a fundraising event for Justin’s scholarship yet,” Taylor noted. “It seemed like a very natural marriage.”
“I named the show ‘Addicted To Laughter’ because it is going to be an annual fundraiser that supports addiction-related charities, whether that be Justin’s scholarship or local programs like the [Addiction Referral Center] in Marlborough in future years,” Taylor said. “That cause is near and dear to my heart because my older brother passed away at a very young age due to a drug overdose.”
Taylor is a close friend of the Clement family. Justin and Eric’s fathers worked together in the Marlborough Fire Department and Eric grew up with Justin’s younger brother.
“Like every younger kid in Marlborough, we looked up to Justin,” Taylor said. “He was one of the most popular people in the city, somebody people always rooted for.”
Justin was a lifelong Marlborough resident, well known as captain and quarterback for the Marlborough High School (MHS) Panthers football team from 1998 to 2000. After a year at Holderness Academy, he went to Northeastern University where he played for the Huskies on a football scholarship and made dean’s list. He later earned his EMT certification.
The Justin Clement Memorial Scholarship was created in the wake of his passing and it will be awarded annually to two MHS student athletes who exemplify teamwork, strong character, and superior sportsmanship.
“With unconditional love for Justin, we are excited to keep his legacy going by honoring him with a memorial scholarship issued to a deserving individual graduating from Marlborough High School,” said Justin’s cousin Ryan Hatcher. “The inaugural scholarship will be issued to a member of the class of 2015.”
Taylor said, in addition to keeping Justin’s memory alive and support addiction-related charities, “Addicted To Laughter” is also being organized “on a smaller scale to bring premier standup comedy to the area.”
He was himself a standup comedian for two years and remains a self-described “comedy fan/nerd.”
“Whenever I have a free night, I always try to see a show,” Taylor said. “It drives me nuts that I have to drive to the Comedy Studio in Cambridge, wait until a national headliner comes to Boston, or drive down to NYC in order to see high-caliber standup comedy.”
“I am making it my mission to at least once a year bring national names to my hometown and put on a real comedy show that could hold up even against a show in NYC or LA,” he added.
Taylor hired “two of my favorite comedians that are right on the precipice of becoming household names” – Normand and List.
Normand is a regular at The Comedy Cellar in NYC, was just featured in “The New Yorker,” has been on “Conan” twice, “Last Comic Standing,” “The Adam Carolla Show,” “Inside Amy Schumer,” and tours the country opening for Amy Schumer.
List is a regular at The Comedy Cellar, has been on “Late Night with David Letterman,” “Gotham Comedy Live,” and SiriusXM’s “The Ron and Fez Show.”
The show is Thursday, Jan. 29, at 8 p.m. at Jacobs Hall, 208 Main St., Marlborough. Tickets are $25 and may be purchased at www.ticketriver.com/event/13879, by calling 508-981-4738 or by email to [email protected].