DeeDee Emmett shows off raffle winnings. Photo: Tracy Geiss

Back by popular demand, another sold-out crowd packed the Key Peninsula Civic Center for its comedy night fundraiser, billed as “4/20 Funny,” Saturday April 20.

Guests entertained themselves before the show by sampling the bar, playing cards and snacking on items including the “Blazing Burgers” and the “No-Buzz Brownies.”

According to Stephanie Brooks, Key Peninsula Civic Center Association board member and event co-chair, “People out here don’t have a lot to go do. We want to make it as cool as possible.” 

The three comedians were Mike Parker, Josh Firestine and headliner Phillip Kopczynski. Although each acknowledged the informal holiday, their material covered a wide range of topics. Some jokes covered familiar territory such as family life and fitness, while one memorable segment from Kopczynski delved into the love life of the North American porcupine.

Many of the jokes took full advantage of the event’s 18-and-up age restriction, earning occasional winces from the crowd. Any shocked gasps, however, were mostly followed by laughter.

“It’s more of an adult-type of event. That’s what our focus has been, to get stuff out here for people 21 and up,” Brooks said.

The emphasis on a boundary-pushing show was communicated to the comedians early in the planning process, although it did briefly leave comedian Josh Firestine wondering where to draw the line. “(The organizers) said it was supposed to be a dirty show, so I was wondering, it’s a small town, how dirty do they mean?” Firestine’s set was warmly received by the crowd. “They were a bunch of perverts. It was great.”

“They were a bunch of perverts. It was great.”

The event wrapped up at 9:30 p.m., although several groups stayed on for another hour enjoying the party. “I think it was wonderful,” said attendee Jolene Duncan. The fun wasn’t limited to the crowd, either; the three performers appreciated the crowd’s responsiveness and the event’s community feel.

“It really felt like the whole town came out,” Firestine said. Total attendance numbered around 200, not including volunteers.

The sense of community was reinforced by the raffle drawing at the end of the night. The winning ticket was held by Vaughn Postmaster DeeDee Emmett, who was immediately recognized and applauded by the crowd.

Brooks sees KPCCA events as a chance for people to build connections. Although fundraising is important, Brooks feels the event is “more about the involvement in the community, just getting different people in the door, trying to reach different demographics.” According to Brooks, events can draw in a surprising number of KP residents who are unaware of the civic center and its resources.

“A lot of people don’t even know about the KPCCA, and there’s so many things that the civic center offers to the community,” Brooks said. “If they can know about the services we provide, maybe that can help them in some way.”

The “4/20 Funny” was planned following a successful comedy night earlier in the year. The two events have earned the KPCCA over $10,000 dollars in admissions, food sales and raffle tickets. The KPCCA will continue to host fundraisers throughout the year, although Brooks’s next big project is planning a revival of the civic center’s New Year’s Eve Party.

The event was co-chaired by Brooks and Tracy Geiss of the KPCCA board of directors, with the assistance of fellow board member Rachel Newhouse. The event’s kitchen staff, servers, bartenders and cleanup crew were all volunteers.

“Every volunteer that helped at the first comedy show that we did in January came back to help,” Brooks said. “(Volunteers) are the heroes of everything at the civic center.”

Editor’s note: The Key Peninsula News is published by the Key Peninsula Civic Center Association. The KP News retains editorial and financial independence from its parent organization.

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