Improv Comedy Group Donates Laughs To Help URMC Transplant Patients

Aug. 17, 2009
Village Idiots Improv hosts free show for patients, followed by public benefit performance

For patients dealing with health issues associated with pre- and post-liver-transplant surgery, it can sometimes be difficult to find humor in their day-to-day lives. A little laughter can go a long way in making an individual feel good.

Village Idiot Improv Comedy troupe member David Spiro, who was a transplant recipient 12 years ago, knows firsthand the difficulties faced by those who wait for their gift of life, as well as those recuperating from an organ transplant. He has found that laughter is indeed the best medicine, and he used it copiously as a way to deal with his transplant experience.

Spiro and his improv colleagues are generously hosting a free performance for University of Rochester Medical Center liver transplant patients on Aug. 22 at the Village Idiots’ studio in Village Gate Square, 274 N. Goodman St. The troupe will perform “Command Performance,” an improvised play where the audience determines the initial premise, plot twists and story action.

Spiro has high expectations for the evening. “I want these patients to lose themselves in the healing power of comedy. I would far prefer them to shed tears of laughter than tears of pain.”

The following weekend, at 8 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 29, the troupe will present a public performance on the second floor of Village Gate Square. Proceeds from the Improv Comedy Championship, their final show of the season and a culmination of a summer-long competition, will benefit the URMC Transplant Patient Fund to assist patients with emergency expenses related to their care.

Mark S. Orloff, M.D., chief of the URMC Division of Solid Organ Transplantation and director of the Live Donor Liver Transplant Program, is grateful for the charitable efforts of the improv troupe.

“Our patient fund provides resources that help many from upstate New York who come to Rochester for their care,” Orloff said. “This community support being spearheaded by Village Improv members means so much to our patients and to the staff members at the University of Rochester Medical Center.”

“All summer long we’ve been working up to this massive improv comedy showdown with multiple sold-out shows in front of very enthusiastic audiences,” said Swithun No, founder and artistic director of the troupe. “But the most exciting thing for the Village Idiots is the opportunity to give back to the community, and we’re honored to create an event for such a worthy cause.”

Many Village Gate merchants, including Lento, the Gate House, Bop Shop and Kaiyum Gallery, are contributing to the raffle. Other local organizations, including Method Machine, Memorial Art Gallery, Little Theater, George Eastman House and Hedonist Artisan Chocolates, also are offering up goods and services to make this event a success.

Tickets for the Aug. 29 show are $25 for limited premium seating and $15 at the door for general seating. A special advanced ticket rate of $10 for general seating is available until Aug. 25 if purchased through Call (585) 797-9086 for ticket information.