Yuks For CHEO

They say that laughter is the best medicine and while I’ll hotly contest that Ben&Jerry’s Cherry Garcia should be included in that accolade nobody can argue a good yuk goes a long way at curing what ails you. It’s something the fine folks at Yuk Yuk’s Ottawa take to another level each year with their annual fundraising night for the Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario.

Dylan Black is well connected to both the comedy club and hospital acting as Director of Fundraising and Community Events at Yuk Yuk's as well as having been a part of over 20 CHEO Telethons. Trying to find unique ideas to raise much needed awareness and money for this cause has been part of his life since seeing the late Max Keeping dedicate so much of his time to the children.

“He mentored me for 20 years. I do my part every day to walk in his footsteps as best as I can,” Black tells Ottawa Life.

Michael Lifshitz 

Disabled since birth, local comedian Michael Lifshitz is also no stranger to the importance of places like CHEO and the hard working staff who devote so much of their time to kids. As a child, he had nine operations and spent a lot of time in children’s hospitals in Montreal and Boston.

“I think we have the perception that hospitals are provided by the government but there are a lot of extras that can make things more comfortable for families and kids that are not covered, which is where donations come in,” says Lifshitz. “Being in the hospital is difficult for the families and the kids, so if we can do something to make it a little more pleasant, let’s do it.”

When Black reached out for comics to take part in the event, Lifshitz was quick join. He’s seen firsthand a lot of the work Black does within the community and also is appreciative on how he has been personally supportive of his comedy career.

“I would help with pretty much anything he asked. Except moving furniture. Boxes can fit on my lap in the chair but a piano is heavy.”

Danielle Allard.
Photo by Andre Gagne

Also providing the laughs that night will be club regulars Chris Borris and Michelle Shaughnessy. Wanting to bring a little something extra to those attending the fundraiser, Black interspersed some live music and a bit of the mystic between the comedy.

Like laughter, Ottawa singer-songwriter Danielle Allard learned early on just how beneficial music can be for the soul.

“From a young age music became my escape. As I grew, it increasingly became a way to connect with people. At first, it was the opportunity to connect to others…specifically to fellow musicians. Then it became this beautiful opportunity to connect with everyone through song-writing,” she says on her website adding that “music is still the thing that saves me and I won’t ever be able to stop.”

Jaymes White

Mentalist Jaymes White will cap off the night with a mind blowing showcase of his unique capability to read your like an open book. Black says his talent is so amazing that it “will make your blood run cold” He admits he has no psychic powers but through decades of intense study and practice he’s learned to make you believe he does.

With something for everyone, not to mention the cause you’re supporting, there’s little reason to not get your butt down to Yuk Yuk’s Sunday night. Besides, as Lifshitz says, if you don’t it means you hate children. Ok, he’s joking but he and Black promise the show will be a fun way to lend a hand to those who most need it.

“I just hope everyone walks away with a smile and an even greater appreciation for for CHEO does in our community,” says Black.

The event will also include a 50/50 draw and a "Flash Auction" to benefit the "Children's Hospital of Eastern Ontario'. All funds will be presented on this year's CHEO Telethon! The CHEO Bear and members of the "Capital City Garrison" will even be on hand! Tickets are available online.