Miami Comedian Lisa Corrao on Joking about Illness and Her Upcoming Benefit Show
There's something about comedy that requires it to come from a really dark place. Richard Pryor, Bill Hicks, Lenny Bruce, Sam Kinison, and a whole litany of comedians have such notorious dark histories that they usually read like the lyrics to rap songs. But unlike rap, it's not made-up bullshit; these guys are properly messed up in the head.
And maybe it's for that reason that they always try and make some good come from it. Through the 1980s and '90s, Whoopi Goldberg, Robin Williams, and Billy Crystal hosted and performed as part of the highly successful Comic Relief events that raised more than $50 million over a 12 year span.
This time it's Miami's turn. Lisa Corrao, local ex-teacher mommy comic, is leading a mission to help support the family of an 8-year-old boy named Nicolas Peruyero. The young boy suffers from Batten's Disease, a fatal childhood neurodegenerative lysosomal storage disease with no known therapy.
Using her comedic powers for good, she's organized a show that will be taking place this Thursday at the Open Stage Club in Coral Gables, featuring some of Miami's best local comedic talent: John Wynn of the highly popular YouTube series Labor Days; Eric DaSilva; Dominic Perezin, the head boss at local comedy super promoters Have-Nots Comedy; Eric Gil; and Carl Rimi.
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Cultist reached out to Corrao to ask her about doing good deeds, comedy and sickness, and her fellow comedians. (We also sneaked in a way to let her know we think she's hot.)
Cultist: It sometimes feels like comedy doing good deeds is a way of it atoning for the way that most comedians have to be to be funny. What do you think?
Lisa Corrao: Look, comedian or not, we've all done some things we're not proud of. I'm looking at YOU, person reading this! I feel like we can all make it right at this show. We will have some laughs, have some drinks, and feel happy about it at the end of the night. How many fun nights out have you had where you feel good about it the next day?
Can you make fun of a disease at a show that's a benefit for the people that suffer from the disease? Like a disease roast?
Only if it's curable. If you can have that growth on your forehead removed, then we can make fun of you for being too lazy to go to the dermatologist. Also, if I HAD the disease in question, then yes, I could make fun of it. If we just randomly roasted diseases, it might be hilarious, but we wouldn't raise any money.
You've put together a pretty impressive roster of talent. Besides yourself, who is your favorite comedian that's going to be performing? And don't give a politically correct answer, we expect the truth here at New Times.
I don't like any of them...personally or professionally. These were just the only comics who were going to donate their time. Let's mention them by name (otherwise, they become divas): John Wynn, Dominic Perenzin, Eric DaSilva, Eric Gil, Carl Rimi and of course, me. Luckily, the audience will like them.
Being a teacher: more or less stressful than the career of a struggling stand-up comedian?
Being a teacher is worse every time. When students heckle you, your hands are tied. It makes teachers snap at some point. In comedy, I can say whatever I want and that person's mom won't be calling me the next day.
As a hot chick, do you get more benefits as a comedian or a teacher?
If you mean "benefits" as in people to have sex with at the end of the work day, then obviously comedy. Even if you're a pedophile, [as a teacher] you still only have one group to choose from all year. I get to meet new crowds every night as a comic! And if you meant "benefits" like health insurance, then well, the first part was awkward.
All joking aside, please use this space to lay a massive guilt trip on anyone reading this, thereby forcing them to help young Nicolas with boat loads of cash and support, especially by coming out to your show.
It's almost like getting the comedy show for free, because I know you would donate a few bucks to help a sweet 8-year-old kid who really has a rough disease anyway. His family will be there, and every penny we raise is going right to them on the night of the show. Their life is hard, and we can all come together, celebrate, and do something really great for them in the process. Why wouldn't you come? You can't possibly have something more important to do than this?! Every ticket sold is needed, so we need you.
Have-Nots Comedy Presents Stand Up 4 Nicolas. Thursday, December 19. Doors open at 7 p.m., show begins at 8 p.m. Tickets cost a donation of $20. Visit havenotscomedy.com.
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