The Coastal Star

Funnyman Dennis Regan to make Delray Beach Public Library supporters LOL

Sponsor Mark Petersen of Bank of America with co-chair-women Becky Walsh and Heidi Sargeant. Photo provided

By Amy Woods
    
A class-act comedian with a pedigree that includes the Late Show with David Letterman and The Tonight Show with Jay Leno, as well as Comedy Central and Showtime, will headline Laugh with the Library, Chapter 8, on Jan. 31.
The jokes will fly all night during the fun and friendly fundraiser that benefits the private, nonprofit Delray Beach Public Library on Atlantic Avenue.
“It’s hard to believe it’s our eighth year,” said Gulf Stream resident Becky Walsh, co-chairwoman of the event. “It’s like a well-oiled machine. We all work together so effectively. We have a terrific support group through our board and library staff.”
    While the committee has fine-tuned its event-planning skills, selecting the funnyman (or woman) who will make the 500 or so guests laugh out loud presents a challenge.
    “Whether it’s your neighbor’s suggestion, or you hear a bit on the radio or TV, or recommendations from talent agencies, we narrow it down to about five comedians,” Walsh said.
    “Then, we sit in a room and watch YouTube videos. Of course, we do have a budget, which does get in the way sometimes.”
    Walsh brought Laugh with the Library to Delray Beach in 2007, after she saw a similar fundraiser in New Hampshire featuring standup performer Bobby Collins. Last’s year’s Chapter 7 installment, with Tom Cotter of America’s Got Talent fame, sold out and raised more than $70,000.
    “You couldn’t ask for more,” Walsh said. “We already have a few ideas for Chapter 9.”
    Paul Castronovo, the hilarious host of the locally broadcast Paul & Young Ron Show, will serve as master of ceremonies. Warming up the crowd before Regan takes the stage at the Delray Beach Marriott will be Angela Manfredi, a Laugh with the Library favorite.
    “The idea was not to be a black-tie event,” said Bonnie Stelzer, director of community relations for the 100-year-old  library. “It was to be a casual, fun evening. People don’t always think of the library synonymous with comedians. Usually, it’s, ‘Shhh, be quiet.’ ”
    The evening will include a cocktail reception and dinner by the bite, and all proceeds from the $175 ticket price will benefit the library’s youth-outreach efforts.
    “We believe in education through literacy,” said co-chairwoman Heidi Sargeant, of coastal Delray Beach. “This event’s monies go directly to programs for our at-risk children and teens. It’s a feel-good moment to see these funds put into action.”

IF YOU GO
What: Laugh with the Library, Chapter 8, to benefit the Delray Beach Public Library
When: 7:30 p.m. Jan. 31
Where: Delray Beach Marriot
Cost: $175
Info: Call 266-0775 or visit www.delraylibrary.org

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