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Charity looking to fight poverty with comedy

30 p.m. in the SAC Room at the Ohio Union.

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Impoverished children are no laughing matter, but one student organization at Ohio State is hoping that laughter can be part of the solution.

UNICEF Spring Comedy Night, an event featuring OSU comedy troupes 8th Floor Improv and Fishbowl Improv will take place Thursday at 8:30 p.m. in the Student Alumni Council Room at the Ohio Union. This is the second comedy event held by UNICEF-OSU.

UNICEF-OSU is part of UNICEF’s Campus Initiative movement. This program has created several student UNICEF organizations around the country. The group focuses on fundraising, educating and advocating on behalf of impoverished children around the world who die of preventable causes.

Ariana Hoet, a fourth-year in psychology, is president of UNICEF-OSU. She said that in the past, UNICEF has held a concert benefit at the end of the year, but starting in 2010 they decided to make it a comedy show.

“We had, had some problems coming up with a venue and bands,” she said. “In order to replace this event, we came up with the idea for a comedy show last year. It was the first time all comedy troupes came together at OSU to perform together.”

Hoet said that the $3 entry fee will go toward UNICEF. She said $3 is enough to provide a needy child with a blanket and help them survive.

Nate Varrone, a third-year in English, is the associate director of 8th Floor Improv. He said that charity events like this aren’t all that different from other comedy shows. Sometimes they just require the troupe to be a bit more careful.

“It is different in the sense that you probably don’t want to talk about cancer if it were a cancer benefit,” he said.

He also said that sometimes charity events can be a challenge, especially when dealing with a particularly sad subject matter.

“I think we did a charity event last quarter and we watched this really depressing video — which was about seven to eight minutes long ­— and then they introduced us,” he said. “It’s kind of a polar opposite switch to go from something depressing to comedy, but we try to put on a great show anywhere we go.”

Tyler Davis, a third-year in marketing and president of Fishbowl Improv, said he believes more events like this would only help campus charities.

“It’s good for the people that want to go see something funny that night, and it just so happens that their $3 contribution is going towards a great cause,” he said. “I don’t think anyone will be too upset knowing the $3 admission price will be going toward a child’s vaccines and clean water. It’s one of those causes that everyone can get behind.”

Hoet agrees that Comedy Night can provide students with an entertaining way to donate to a good cause.

“We want to be able to attract a different crowd than we normally get,” she said. “Helping UNICEF is something everyone can do, and no one has shown that more than all our comedians. They are constantly helping us and spreading the word.”

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