Charity comedy event at Merle Manders Thursday

By Jason A. Smith


Supporters and workers at a domestic-violence shelter in Henry County are preparing to raise money through an evening of humor at an annual event this week.

Haven House will sponsor a comedy-night Thursday at 6 p.m., at the Merle Manders Conference Center in Stockbridge. Comedienne Michelle Thomas will host the event, which will include performances by Royal Marshall, from the Neal Boortz radio show, as well as funny men, Jed Fearon, Johnny Valentino and Tim Bannister.

Marjorie Lacy is the executive director of Haven House, which has been in operation in the county since 1989. She said the occasion serves a valuable purpose for the center's staff, as well as residents of the area. "You need some comic relief when you work with such a serious issue as domestic violence," she said. "Plus, everyone enjoyed it last year."

Lacy is expecting that more than 250 people will attend the event, which is designed to generate money for the non-profit agency to continue operating through the coming year.

"We provide shelter, individual therapy, support groups, legal advocacy, financial assistance, food, clothing - pretty much anything a person might need in [such cases]," she said. "This fund-raiser is vitally important, particularly this year, since we've experienced huge budget cuts."

Jed Fearon, 42, is a regular fixture at the Comedy Showcase in Atlanta, and has performed for audiences across the southeastern United States during his nine-year career. He said his scheduled appearance in Henry will be in front of a bigger crowd than those for whom he typically performs. "It sounds like they're rustling up a lot of people to be there," he said, noting that he has appeared at a number of charity events in the last five years.

Fearon described his "quasi-cerebral" comedic style as "a cross between Dennis Miller and Ellen DeGeneres. He added that he is eagerly anticipating the opportunity to show his support for a good cause.

"I'm excited about it," he said. "I think it has something to do with making connections that impact lives, and strengthening community bonds."

Tickets for the comedy night, which will also include dinner, are $50 each. For more information on the event, call Haven House at (770) 954-1008.

Information regarding the comedians scheduled to appear may be obtained by visiting www.showcasecomedy.com.