Janine Hayes, comic and mother of school-aged kids, is going forward with her planned comedy night benefit for the John Adams Middle School and its feeder schools. The PTSA Comedy Night Benefit is scheduled for February 7 and will feature comics Laurie Roggenkamp, Amy Anderson, Chris Edgerly, Rick Kunkler, and Chris Franjola, with Hayes hosting and no doubt telling a few jokes herself. The benefit had been planned for John Adams, but Hayes, mindful of the recent cancellation of a similar benefit at Edison School with controversial comic Carlos Mencia, came up with a contingency plan in case the Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District had concerns about her show taking place on school property.
“Carlos Mencia is a very blue comic,” Hayes concedes. “He’s very successful and his willingness to do a benefit for one of the schools is absolutely wonderful. I thought it would shine a good light on my show but he was cancelled. The Association of Mexican-Americans planned on picketing because of his content. I thought it was pretty risky for whoever was producing the show to have the benefit on school property. But it’s for a great cause and these schools need the money, so I was impressed with the District for approving it.”
According to Hayes, the SMMUSD had been deliberating on the issue of fairness to all schools and at the time of this interview, had not given complete approval to her benefit. SMMUSD Superintendent Tim Cuneo told the Mirror shortly before press time that the District and John Adams had decided in favor of Haye’s alternative plan.
“That alternative,” says Hayes, is “the Moose Lodge down the street. They’re very close to our original venue at John Adams.”
“I don’t want to postpone the event. I don’t want to cancel it. These comics have given their time and I want to move forward with it.”
In any case, Hayes promises an evening of laughs.
“All of these comics are wonderful. A couple of them are fantastic voice-over actors whom you’ve heard on The Simpsons. Headliner Chris Franjola was in our very first two shows so I’m thrilled to have him.” (Franjola is one of the head writers for The Chelsea Handler Show.)
Hayes also promises that the content should not be a controversy.
“I’ve always tried to keep [the show] mostly clean, which is parallel to my own content. I’m mostly a clean comedian. I talk a lot about being a mother but I’m also an adult, I’m a single woman and there is some adult content to my stories.
“It’s not a blue show. I think it’s a matter of just common sense.”
Trader Joe’s is sponsoring the event as in past years, and there will be a post-show reception with goodies, from Trader Joe’s of course.
At press time, PTSA Comedy Night is scheduled for 8pm, February 7, at Moose Lodge 702, 1600 Ocean Park Boulevard. Tickets are $10 in advance and $15 at the door. For tickets and any last-minute changes to venue or lineup, call 310.560.0932.