Ringing in the holidays in bar-raising style, the Laugh Factory continued their 34 year tradition of giving away holiday dinners with a side of comedy, all day long on Thanksgiving. This year over 1000 guests enjoyed The Laugh Factory Thanksgiving dinner.
Since 1979, Laugh Factory owner Jamie Masada has been hosting Thanksgiving and Christmas dinners with comic relief for those less fortunate at his Sunset Strip club.
Enjoying the fully catered, donated meals, some of the guests were as comically inclined as the performers, showing how important humor is especially at low points in our lives. One guest, who called himself One Dollhouse Man, has attended the Laugh Factory celebration several years running.
“It's a beautiful thing to be able to come here during the holidays and see the comedians,” Dollhouse Man said. “I will come here as long as Jamie has them.”
When 8:00 rolled around and the comedians got started, the room was soon filled to overflowing as well as the balconies. While revelers ate their warm pumpkin and/or apple pie, the comedians kept the crowd laughing.
Several of the comics had performed at the Laugh Factory holiday dinners before, however, Tonight Show writer Jimmy Brogan had them all beat. Brogan has cracked jokes at the Laugh Factory holiday dinners for 26 years and running, plus he serves holiday diners their meals.
The lineup of comedians spending their Thanksgiving night performing for free included Frazier Smith, Dean Del Ray, Jimmy Brogan, Cookie, Allen Stevens, Mel Rohl and Georgy Thomas. And not all the comics that attended performed, legendary Laugh Factory comic Paul Mooney came by to laugh and enjoy the party.
Masada says he will continue his holiday dinners as long as the Laugh Factory is around.
“The Christmas day turnout is usually even bigger, so we’re planning for a huge crowd, “Masada said. “I hope that anyone who doesn't have somewhere to go will come down and enjoy the feast.”
In 1985, Masada launched Laugh Factory's Comedy Camp for under-priviledged kids. Meeting for 10 Saturdays each summer, top comedians - including Tim Allen, Jim Carrey, Dave Chappelle, Dane Cook, Jamie Foxx, George Lopez, Jon Lovitz, Richard Pryor, Chris Rock, Paul Rodriguez, Bob Saget, Adam Sandler, Chris Tucker and Damon and Shawn Wayans coach the youth, enjoy the food and host field trips.
According to Masada, the mentoring and encouragement that kids receive at his Comedy Camp instills them with the confidence required for public speaking and achieving their dreams.
"Laughter is healing," Masada said with a smile.
Masada also sponsors free services at the Laugh Factory during Jewish High Holy Days.
Masada has been recognized for his humanitarian efforts with numerous awards including the NAACP Freedom Award, The Ellis Island Medal of Honor and the ACLU Freedom of Speech Award. In Spring 2011, Masada was presented with the Comedy Innovator and Humanitarian award by Didi Hirsch Mental Health Services.
Since 1979, the World Famous Laugh Factory has been recognized as "the #1 comedy club in the country." Called the "Real King of Comedy" by The New York Daily News, Masada is revered as a pioneer, innovator and icon on the comedy scene, continuing to be instrumental in launching the careers of many of today's top comics.
For more information about The Laugh Factory, go to www.laughfactory.com.