On Oct. 7, hundreds of guests at the Barclay Theatre were treated to a night of tasteful comedy entitled ‘Laughter is the Best Alternative Medicine.’ Lola Gillebaard opened for Dana Carvey, who filled the night with funny anecdotes, bipartisan political humor and the exaggerated impersonations which made him famous.
Up and coming Southern comic Gillebaard and veteran Carvey performed in this second annual educational
and entertaining event to spread awareness and raise money benefiting the Susan Samueli Center for Integrative Medicine. Last year, Bill Cosby headlined the event.
‘Our idea is that laughter helps reduce stress, and stress is part of every disease,’ said John Longhurst, director of the Samueli Center. ‘That’s why laughter is the best alternative medicine.’
If laughter is medicine, then Lola Gillebaard served up a dose of Southern charm and a therapeutic effect on mental health.
Gillebaard spoke of a phone conversation in which she asked her sister a question about her new $5,000 state-of-the-art hearing aid. When Gillebaard asked what ‘kind’ of hearing aid her sister bought, the sister responded: ‘Nine thirty.’
Later, Gillebaard joked about differences she has between herself and her husband of 51 years as well as the (lack of) communication with her three grown sons.
‘I do believe that laughter is the best alternative medicine,’ Gillebaard attested. Then she graciously introduced Carvey by saying that ‘it is really appropriate that Dana Carvey is here for a medical event because he will leave you in stitches.’
Carvey began by questioning how the children of the baggy panted teenagers of today will rebel. He theorized that this future American generation may sport pants around their ankles and wear a g-string. Then, taking advantage of his comedic strengths, Carvey impersonated this potential future teenager vocalizing frustration at an imaginary parent not approving the teenager’s freedom of expression.
A bit discussing a preferable foreign accent for one’s doctor also hit a sweet spot among the adult crowd. A doctor with an Indian accent, Carvey thought, could make any condition sound harmless. But a doctor with a harsh Brooklyn accent and stereotypically harsh mannerisms should be avoided.
Carvey then hilariously wondered what the promise of Las Vegas’ motto (‘What happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas’) holds if you aren’t into ‘hookers and crack.’
A highlight of the evening was Carvey’s deft maneuvers across party lines. While he impressed with classic George W. Bush impressions, jokes about John Kerry and Howard Dean were among the funniest crowd- pleasers of the night.
Carvey as Kerry noted that ‘my face is 19 percent longer than anyone thought possible,’ and that ‘I am for gay marriage as long as it is between a man and a woman.’
A comment was also made about how Howard Dean, politician and doctor, performing a prostate exam would be a bad idea because of his supposedly excessive intensity. Although this comment and visual demonstration made me smile, it is a shame that one speech in which Dean let go of his composure and
yelled is still used as material for a joke.
After steering back to poking fun at President George W. Bush’s laugh and conflicted eyebrows, Carvey began an impersonation of former President Bill Clinton. Despite starting this set with tired jokes about the scandalized but accomplished president’s horniness, Carvey got back on track with an excellent explanation as to why Clinton used his hands so much during the impeachment hearings.
When Clinton was assuring that he did not have sexual relations with Monica Lewinsky, Carvey believed that a second look in slow motion would reveal that Clinton was spelling out the phrase ‘I’m lying my ass off’ with his hand.
Carvey was not sure what to make of the audience’s political leanings. Whereas Orange County is generally Republican, professors are generally Liberal. So, Carvey decided, this was a ‘hybrid crowd.’
‘If we turn out the lights will you all punch each other out?’ The comedian eased off the political humor with family-based humor, including a juxtaposition of his 14-year-old son’s violent and pounding rap music with comparatively tame music from his generation, like Neil Young’s ‘Old Man.’
After impersonating Steve Irwin, Carvey quipped that there are ‘so many freaks in the world, so little
Carvey pleased the audience with impersonations of freaks, political jokes, a song dedicated to Dr. Longhurst and his wife, mentions of midgets, monkeys and more.
Gillebaard and Carvey provided a night of mostly entertaining and very funny comedy which benefited the Samueli Center, which Carvey described as half-hippie, half traditional medicine.
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