DOWNTOWN — Domestic violence may not be a laughing matter, but Sarah Silverman and five of her comedian friends will perform stand-up to benefit Ocean Park Community Center’s Sojourn Services For Battered Women and their Children during its fourth annual comedy night fundraiser on Saturday.
The event, held for the first time at The Broad Stage on 11th Street, aims to raise awareness and money to make up for funding cuts for Sojourn, the branch of OPCC that deals with domestic violence founded in 1977.
“There’s still a long way to go to end domestic violence, and that progress can only happen if we have the community rallied around us,” said Ada Palotai, the assistant director of Sojourn.
Sojourn experienced a 25 percent budget cut last year, Palotai said. This it the first fundraiser it has held since those cuts. While she said she doubts the funds raised during the comedy night will make up the entire 25 percent, they will help to continue general operations such as a 24-hour hotline and an emergency shelter for battered women and their children.
With a larger venue than previous years, Sojourn hopes to fill the capacity of 500 people and raise at least $50,000, said Colette Brooks, the chief imagination officer at Big Imagination Group, which is promoting the event.
Silverman was chosen to headline this year’s event because of her popularity, Palotai said. She said she thinks having a big name headliner will help Sojourn in its goal to raise awareness of the issue of domestic violence.
Actor Greg Germann, who appeared on the TV drama “Ally McBeal,” and is also on the Board of Directors at OPCC, helped arrange for Silverman to headline the show.
“I didn’t know her, but through mutual friends we knew each other, so I e-mailed her, had a couple of meeting with her, and she was fantastic right away,” Germann said. “In the e-mail, before we even met, she sort of said, ‘I’m a fan. Just tell me what you want me to do and I’ll do it.’”
Silverman arranged for the five other comedians to join her on stage, Brooks said. The other comedians performing will be Doug Benson, Todd Glass, Tig Notaro, Chelsea Peretti and Jeff Ross.
Notaro, best known for her role as Officer Tig on Comedy Central’s “Sarah Silverman Program,” said she is excited about the show.
“Sarah is a close friend of mine, and we like to include each other in different shows whenever we can,” Notaro said in an e-mail. “I’m always on board for a great cause.”
German said having the high-profile comedy show is the first step in a larger campaign to raise more awareness of Sojourn and OPCC in general. It has contracted advertising firm Chiat Day to help with that goal.
“My idea with them is to help us brand the organization, so when you think of community outreach, you think of OPCC, like when you think of tissue, you think of Kleenex,” he said.
Tickets are currently on sale at opccevents.org or by calling (310) 264-6646, ext. 235. General admission costs $100, and VIP tickets are $150. VIP tickets include premium seating and a signed copy of Silverman’s new book, “The Bedwetter: Tales of Courage, Redemption and Pee.”
Though domestic violence is a serious issue, Brooks said she thinks comedy is the perfect medium to help raise awareness and money and kick-start the branding campaign as comedy opens people up to talking about controversial subjects.
“If you can’t talk about an issue,” she said, “you’re not going to address it.”