It’s rare that college students watch a senate hearing on C-SPAN and then decide to try and change the world.
After comedian Seth Rogen delivered a statement on Alzheimer’s Research in February 2014, however, it was hard not to sympathize with his cause. Rogen explained that more than five million Americans have Alzheimer’s (including his own mother-in-law) and that nearly 16 million Americans will have the disease in the next 35 years. Research also suggests that deaths caused by Alzheimer’s have increased almost 70 percent in the last 15 years.
Rogen and his wife, Lauren Miller, launched their Hilarity for Charity foundation in association with the Alzheimer’s Association to raise money for families struggling with the disease and to support cutting-edge research.
Students across the nation became involved with the philanthropic efforts, raising over $130,000 on more than 120 college campuses during last year’s inaugural semester of Hilarity for Charity U. The UO Standup Society, founded by Joe Glasgow with Brandt Hamilton and Ben Schorr in January 2013, was one of the pioneer teams involved with last year’s campaign.
The group often discussed hosting a comedy benefit show in their meetings, and realized that Hilarity for Charity was the perfect cause. They raised $1,871 for Alzheimer’s Research in support of their performance at Global Scholars Hall on April 8, 2014.
“For an event, it went unusually smooth last year,” says Glasgow, president of the UO Standup Society and winner of the 2013 Quackin’ Me Up Comedy Competition in Eugene.
Cailin Wolff, who performed at Hilarity for Charity as a freshman, became involved with UO Standup Society after discovering a poster for Quackin’ Me Up in Fall 2013. While she had no background in comedy or performance at the time, she didn’t tell her friends and entered the competition alone.
“Standup has been my main extracurricular,” Wolff says. “It’s how I met a lot of my friends. It pushes me to write, which is something that I enjoy doing. It’s a really fun community.”
Wolff, who watched her great-grandmother suffer from Alzheimer’s disease, is one of 12 UO student comedians performing at the event this year. UO’s Absolute Improv team will also perform a set during the show.
“I’m hoping this can be an annual event that the Standup Society does every year,” says Glasgow, who wants to bring this charity to other schools once after graduating. “We’re being funny and also raising money for a good cause.”
“Hilarity for Charity” returns to the UO 8 pm Tuesday, April 7, in the Global Scholars Hall Great Room; $5 door or free with donation at wkly.ws/1zi.