ALBANY — The SOWEGA Council on Aging’s annual Comedy Night fundraiser for Meals on Wheels is quickly approaching and organizers have announced that this year’s main attraction is comedian Jeff Allen.
The event, scheduled for August 14 at the Albany Municipal Auditorium, is the organization’s 9th Comedy Night. According to Izzie Sadler, development director for the Council on Aging, the annual laughfest is the group’s largest fundraiser of the year.
“It’s kind of our signature event,” Sadler said. “All of the money we raise goes to our Meals on Wheels program.”
Meals on Wheels, which SOWEGA Council on Aging coordinates for 14 counties in Southwest Georgia, is one of the organization’s longest-running programs and is one, according to Council on Aging Executive Director Kay Hind, that relies heavily on donations and volunteers.
“Meals on Wheels is our best known program,” Hind said. “This (fundraiser) is very important.”
Hind said the Comedy Night has become an event many in the community look forward to each year and she expects attendance this year will be strong again.
“We’re excited to have this comedy night,” Hind said. “It’s been very successful. We’re expecting another great night this year.”
Both Hind and Sadler are excited about featuring Allen, who has made a name for himself over the past three decades performing family-friendly comedy at churches, corporate functions and fundraisers across the country.
“We try to get a different comedian every year,” said Sadler. “This is his first year with us. He’s the kind of performer we look for, family-friendly, clean entertainment.”
For his part, Allen is equally thrilled about getting the chance to come to Albany for the fundraiser.
“I’m really looking forward to it,” said Allen. “I get to do about 10-15 fundraisers a year and I enjoy it.”
Allen, who is a devout Christian, said these types of functions are good because organizations like the Council on Aging need all the help they can get. He is especially fond of the Meals on Wheels program.
“My wife used to deliver Meals on Wheels for years,” Allen said. “It’s close to our heart.”
In fact, it’s things that are close to Allen’s heart that also lie at the heart of his comedy these days — marriage, children and family in general.
Allen, who started out in the late 1970s performing in comedy clubs around his native Chicago, said for the better part of his 30-plus-year career he has mined his home life for his on stage material.
“Over the years, the topics haven’t changed much,” Allen said. “Marriage, kids, teens — that’s what I do mostly. It’s not groundbreaking. I just do what I do and I try to do it well. The best compliment I’ve gotten is a guy told me once, ‘You must’ve been looking through my living room window.’”
While his material hasn’t changed much over the years, Allen has, which he says has changed the way his material is perceived. Allen said when he began performing, he was an angry person who struggled with drug abuse and alcoholism. After building a relationship with Christ, however, Allen said he changed, and the way he delivered his material changed, too.
“I changed,” said Allen of his embrace of Christianity. “It literally changed my heart, changed me. There isn’t a routine that I did in the clubs that I can think of that I haven’t been able to rework.”
That changed heart will be on full display when he performs the Comedy Night fundraiser. Sadler is urging those who want to attend to get their tickets in advance to ensure they’ll get the opportunity.
Tickets are currently on sale online at www.sowegacoa.org, at the SOWEGA Council on Aging Office located at 335 W. Society Ave. in Albany, or via telephone at (229) 432-1124. Reserved floor seats are $30 per person and general admission seats are $20 per person.
The doors of the Municipal Auditorium will open at 6 p.m. and the show will start at 7 p.m. The municipal auditorium is located in downtown Albany at 200 N. Jackson St.