Comedians in Austin raise money for Harvey relief efforts

- Tuesday, some big name comedians took the stage at the Paramount  Theater to help those affected by Harvey.

Sales from “The Harvey Relief Benefit: Comedy Helps” will go to the American Red Cross to provide shelter and assistance to those hit hardest by the storm.

It's not comedian Ron White and Turk Pipkin’s first time in Austin or even their first time performing for hurricane relief efforts.

“After Katrina, Ron and John O'Connell and I and other great names did a Katrina benefit,” said Turk Pipkin, who also helped produce the benefit.

But because they are Texans themselves, Tuesday’s performance was one of their most meaningful.

“I was born in a little town north of Amarillo called Fritch. I grew up in Houston. I know those streets and, like everybody else in Texas, I was moved to tears by it,” White said.

“When people need help, they help each other and that's kind of the definition of what makes people a Texan,” said Pipkin. 

Ron and Turk will be joined by other big names like Iliza Shlesinger, and Chris D'Elia.

“They're both amazing comedians at the peak of their stride right now and, quite frankly, I'm not that thrilled about following both of them, but we are in Texas so I could probably pull it off,” White said. 

All of the comedians performing agreed instantly to donate their time and expertise for the cause.

“You know the worst mistake that people can make is to think that what they have to give isn't worth giving, so, you know, come out, support it, it's important,” said White. 

“Every dollar from every ticket and the drinks you buy, the bartenders are donating their tips, and everything is all in for hurricane relief in Texas,” Pipkin said. 

At a time when there is heartbreaking destruction up and down the Texas Gulf Coast, Ron and Turk hope they can provide a little relief.

“Comedy always flourishes in the worst of times. You know, ticket sales and comedy clubs do better, that's what people need, they need laughter,” said Ron. 

“So, in many ways, Harvey will have brought us all together so we can really remember what the important things are and it's Texas, you know, life is good here and when we have problems we can fix them,” Turk said.

The goal of the comedy event was to raise $250,000. Production staff said they hit that goal before the show even started.


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