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Civic Impact

Political candidates perform stand-up at annual fundraiser

On Wednesday, Aug. 13, Allegheny County Department of Human Services (DHS) held its annual Candidates Comedy Night fundraiser at the Pittsburgh Improv in Homestead, Pa., and raised more than $40,00 to benefit the Music Festival Fund.
The Music Festival Fund creates a resource to provide youth with items and opportunities that are not available through traditional government funding.

“It has paid for things like camps, dance or karate lessons or even school books for kids going to college, “ says Ondréa L. Burton, Manager, Events and Donations, DHS. “It is funded entirely through donations from two major events, the Allegheny County Music Festival, this year on August 31 and featuring Rusted Root, and the Candidates Comedy Night.”

Each year, the event puts political candidates for races of local interest into the spotlight for an evening of fun as candidates perform a stand-up routine, sing, dance or play an instrument. Gene Collier, columnist with the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette and professional stand-up comedian emcees the event and keep the jokes flowing between acts.

“The topics and talent are all over the map,” says Burton. “Some do comedy routines or just tell stories. Some sing songs or do skits. The candidates, for the most part, are very familiar to the audience, so sometimes it’s nice to see an unexpected lighter side.”

Political figures featured in last week’s event included candidates for the U. S. House of Representatives Mike Doyle, Tim Murphy and Erin McClelland; incumbent Governor Tom Corbett; Senatorial candidates Mike Stack and Wayne D. Fontana; and candidate for governor Tom Wolf.

Allegheny County Executive Rich Fitzgerald and City of Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto also performed at the event.

Some highlights of the night included gubernational candidate Tom Wolf joking about how Pittsburgh has been welcoming to him, but he added that “unfortunately they think I’m Edgar Snydner.”

Congressional candidate Erin McClelland (D) joked about being the only female candidate at the event and the only one “not suffering the long-term side effects of Viagara.”

Congressman Tim Murphy (R) decided to go the musical route and played his guitar, singing a ballad he personally wrote about the EPA taking jobs away from coal miners through regulations on the industry.

Closing remarks and thanks came from DHS Executive Director, Marc Cherna, at the end of the night.
Learn more about Candidates Comedy Night at www.alleghenycounty.us/dhs/ccn.asp
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