Peace Day - September 21, 2008 - 76
just as I was beginning to think this was an idea that might not work out, one day two clubs responded. Howard Wagman from one of the now 15 comedy clubs in the Canadian Yuk Yuk’s chain said yes and gave me contact information for Mark Breslin the club founder. He in turn was very helpful adding to his email “Better a microphone than a gun, right?” That same day The Comedy and Magic Club in Los Angeles said yes and Charlene Akre helped me get in touch with other clubs. She introduced me to Matt Komen from The Improv corporate office. Matt gave me the contact information of all the Improv clubs as well many other clubs. Now armed with some names, I still had to pitch my Peace Day idea to each individual club. The managers/owners are very busy people. They were hard to get a hold of back then and remain hard to reach each year. As the number of clubs expands, it still takes months to get all the approvals. I continue to get rejections from people who think that Peace day is too radical for their club! In 2007, 48 comedy clubs in the US, UK, Canada and Australia participated in “Stand-Up For International Peace - Peace Day Comedy.” I like to think of “Stand-Up For International Peace” as a win-win. The goal is to bring Peace Day as much attention as possible! To make people aware of Peace Day who ordinarily might not participate or be informed. While Peace Day wins attention, the various Comedy Clubs gain attention, community recognition and attendance at no cost to the clubs. The comedy clubs each display Peace Day posters for weeks and on Peace Day distribute approx. 10,000 Think Peace take-home brochures to audience members that explain Peace Day’s goals, as well as highlight many U.N. programs. The brochure requests attendees to donate to the World Food Program online (www.WFP.org). The host mentions Peace Day many times during the show and comics are urged to work some Peace Day jokes into their regular comedy routine. Ideally with full club participation, Peace Day is mentioned on the clubs website and in their newspaper listings, bringing Peace Day attention to many thousands of people who see these listings and press releases, but may not be able to attend the actual show. Also, ideally comics become more socially aware as they travel from town to town. Comics sometimes work in elaborate peace routines and other times throw in a few things to tie into peace day. One small example was a comic who didn’t get a laugh on one of his jokes. He quipped, “You all must work for Nothrop-Grauman. Come on it’s Peace Day!” That got a laugh. Another comic noticed a uniformed soldier in the audience and said “what are you doing here, shouldn’t you be out fighting somewhere? On yeah! it’s Peace Day - you have the day off!” The soldier and everyone laughed. A peace comedy Troup, “Make Laugh, Not War” performed the complete night at the Improv Hollywood last year. That was fun! Also, “Stand Up for Peace”, an Arab and a Jewish comedian performed the complete night at a New York club on Peace Day one year. Another goal is to gain media attention for Peace Day. That’s not easy. I’ve been told that Peace is a nonnewsworthy event. But we must all keep trying through press releases and the expanding Peace Organization Community. Working together, Peace Day will get the media attention it deserves! Howard Flaer is the founder of www.thinkPEACE.net and www.PeaceDayComedy.com 76 Peace Day 2008
If you would like to try to load the digital publication without using Flash Player detection, please click here.