This night it’s all for laughs, although the annual Soroptimist International of Idyllwild fundraiser raises money to combat a dangerously pervasive and serious social problem — human trafficking. For more than 40 years, Soroptimist International of Idyllwild has passionately raised funds and advocated for women and girls.
This year’s fundraiser — Hilltop Comedy Night — showcases headliner talent in a headliner venue, the Idyllwild Brewpub. On Tuesday, June 20, normally an off night for Idyllwild’s newest “go-to” gathering place, the Brewpub will be open to ticketed patrons beginning at 5 p.m. for a 6 p.m. show. The event replaces the annual fundraiser Celebration of Women in the Arts.
All funds raised from the $20 entry tickets will be used to fight human trafficking. Ticket proceeds will be donated to Million Kids (www.millionkids.org), a nonprofit that works with local law enforcement and concerned citizens, businesses and other organizations to end human trafficking domestically. Million Kids President Opal Singleton serves on the Riverside County Anti-Human Trafficking Task Force.
Proceeds also will be donated to THORN (wearethorn.org), a nonprofit co-founded by Ashton Kutcher and Demi Moore to digitally comb the dark web to stop sexual exploitation of children. THORN partners with the tech industry, government agencies and non-government organizations to protect vulnerable children around the world.
Soroptimists have planned a Hilltop Comedy Night to remember — classic comedy and music emceed by the inestimable and indescribable Conor O’Farrell and Frank Ferro.
Los Angeles standup comedian Sarah Tiana heads the comedic bill. Originally from Calhoun, Georgia, Tiana’s act emphasizes the thrills and challenges of growing up in the American South after “The War of Northern Aggression” and of trying to survive the current war between the sexes. Tiana stresses that she does not classify herself as single. She says she is too old for that. She said she prefers the designation “sexually active.”
Tiana is a standup regular on “Comedy Central” and “Chelsea Lately.” She also is a regular writer on the “Josh Wolf Show” on CMT (Country Music Television). She has hosted the “Country Music Awards” red carpet, and has actively supported America’s military men and women in 12 comedy tours for the troops — in Germany, Singapore, Afghanistan, Guam, Iraq and Okinawa.
In 2005, Tiana helped create a sketch comedy troupe, “The Strait Jacket Society,” as a way to help young actors in Hollywood gain stage time and audience exposure while still having fun. More than 500 actors have completed the program since its founding.
Idyllwild Actors Theatre’s dazzling dynamic (and very funny) duo Michèle Marsh and Jacob Teel round out the standup comedy section.
A surprise local trio “Cher and the Sonnies” sends up the music and comedy of ’70s icons Sonny and Cher. Word on the street is that Cher will not disappoint as the knockout fashionista she continues to be.
Jazz chanteuse Sherry Williams injects her brand of warm, “buttery” vocals and sophisticated elegance into an otherwise raucous evening. Williams, much loved by Idyllwild audiences, is known for caressing a lyric to bring out the emotional content of the song. Songwriter Jack Segal (“Scarlet Ribbons,” “When Sunny Gets Blue,” and “When Joanna Loved Me”) said of Williams, “She is the incomparable present-day combination of Lady Day [Billie Holiday], Sarah [Vaughan] and Ella [Fitzgerald].”
There will be opportunity drawings for great prizes from local artists and businesses.
Tickets for Hilltop Comedy Night are available at Muirs Mountain Realty, Prairie Dove Boutique, the Idyllwild Town Crier and online at www.siidyllwild.org. There is a $1 service charge for online orders.
Tickets also will be available sporadically in front of the Idyllwild Post Office during regular business hours.
Seating is limited so get tickets early for this worthy and wacky evening of top-notch entertainment.