Karen Williams headlines We Laugh, one of two comedy fundraisers in Lansing Friday night.
Courtesy photo

Comedy fans in Lansing have two opportunities to have a good laugh and support good causes Friday night.

In REO Town, the Women’s Center of Greater Lansing presents We Laugh, and on the north side of Lansing, Old Town Comedy Showcase offers an Standup for Vets. Both events are fundraisers for local nonprofits.

Comedian Aaron Putnam hosts the Standup for Vets, which benefits Team Red White and Blue. The nationwide nonprofit helps veterans with the transition back into life at home by connecting them to their communities through social and physical activities.

Putnam’s Old Town Comedy Showcase, which hosts events in Lansing and Chicago, has done comedy benefits in the past, and Putnam put together this comedy benefit after a veteran approached him about doing something with Team Red, White and Blue.

“It’s honestly a great way to support live comedy, and it’s for a good cause,” Putnam said.

Team Red White and Blue has chapters around the nation, and Friday’s event benefits the Lansing chapter. Putnam, who will also be performing in the event, is joined by headliner Keith Bergman. The Toledo-based comic has toured the U.S., appearing in comedy clubs from Los Angeles to New York. Also slated to perform are Michigan comedians Diego Attanasio, Tom E. Thompson and Ben Langworthy.

We Laugh, which comes to REO Town’s Cadillac Room Friday, is a combination of two past Women’s Center fundraisers: She Laughs, which featured female comedians, and He Laughs, which offered a slate of male performers. This year’s event brings the genders together, with headliner Karen Williams supported by comedians Hedlun Walton, Will Green, Robert Jenkins, Samantha Rager, Esther Nevarez and Stephanie Hirchert Walton. The evening also features a silent auction.

Williams, a Cleveland-based comedian who has appeared in a She Laughs event in the past, feels that using comedy is an effective way to help the community.

“Throughout my career I’ve considered myself to be comic activist,” she said.

Williams has performed for a variety of benefits to fundraisers for organizations that support causes like LGBTQ rights and HIV/AIDS relief. She is also the founder of the HaHA Institute, an organization that emphasizes human potential through humor and healing arts.

“Nonprofits are going through a lot of changes, because the funding and foundation sources are not there,” Williams said. “So it’s always a good for any nonprofit to have fundraising events.”

When asked if there might be some friendly competition between the men and the women performing Friday, she said she was ready for the challenge.

“I’m always good,” Williams said with a laugh. “I expect to blow everybody out of the water.”

We Laugh
8 p.m. Friday, Feb. 3
$25/$40 VIP/$40 per couple
The Cadillac Room (inside Riverview Church)
1115 S. Washington Ave., Lansing
(517) 372-9163, womenscenterofgreaterlansing.org

Standup for Vets
8 p.m. Friday, Feb. 3
UrbanBeat Event Center
1213 Turner St., Lansing
(517) 331-8440, urbanbeatevents.com