The Center for the Arts at Monmouth University has announced that tickets are on sale for an April 4 event featuring the standup comics of Ladies of Laughter, coming to campus with their latest touring show, “Funny and Fabulous.”
Scheduled for 8 p.m., the one-night stand at the Pollak Theatre marks the area debut of an institution that’s been called the premier “career-builder for women in comedy;” a breakout nationwide sensation that’s served as a crucial launch-pad for the likes of screen star Amy Schumer, “Last Comic Standing” finalist Tammy Pescatelli, and Melissa Rauch of the long-running sitcom “The Big Bang Theory.”
It was nearly 22 years ago, inside “an un-air conditioned YWCA in Ridgewood, New Jersey,” that executive producer Peggy Boyce inaugurated the Ladies of Laughter franchise as “The Mary Jo Comedy Awards;” a competition that honored the memory of the late NYC-based comedian and mentor Mary Jo Wobker. Over the course of some five weeks, dozens of veteran female comics and inspired amateurs from all over the Garden State showcased their “A” material to capacity crowds — and it wasn’t long before the re-branded event broke out of that stuffy gymnasium; attracting national sponsors, and staking out space on major regional stages like Caesars Atlantic City, and even Madison Square Garden. These days, Ladies of Laughter attracts the participation of funny women from all around the English-speaking world; offering a supportive platform for aspiring comedy professionals, and honoring the pioneers who blazed a path for all to follow — such as Carol Burnett, recipient in 2018 of the nonprofit organization’s first Spirit Award.
Featured in the Pollak Theatre engagement will be the 2012 winner of the Ladies of Laughter competition — Monmouth County’s own Robin Fox, a homemaker turned award-winning standup who’s headlined venues up and down the east coast, made riotously regular TV and radio appearances, and even served as a “Hot Topic” of conversation on ABC’s “The View,” courtesy of her quirky perspectives on suburban family life. She’s joined by international breakout star (and winner of the NYC Black Comedy Award for Most Thought-Provoking Black Female Comic) Leighann Lord — as well as by celebrated comedy writer, festival favorite, and top-rated podcast host Erin Maguire, on a bill that showcases the many styles, influences, and voices of women in comedy today.
Tickets for the April 4 performance of Ladies of Laughter are priced at $35, 45 and $55, and can be reserved through the Monmouth University Performing Arts Box Office at 732-263-6889, or online at www.monmouth.edu/MCA. Tickets for other upcoming Performing Arts events — including Steve Solomon in “My Mother’s Italian, My Father’s Jewish, & I’m in Therapy” (March 28), and the return of Chazz Palminteri in his one-man show “A Bronx Tale” (May 16) — are also on sale now.