Laughter truly is the best medicine.
And thanks to some high-profile friends at the Laughing for Laci benefit, it could help even more people across the country.
The fund-raiser for the Carole Sund/Carrington Memorial Reward Foundation's Laci & Conner Search and Rescue Fund will bring TV talk legend Larry King and comedians Colin Mochrie, Brad Sherwood, Wendy Liebman and Jeff Caldwell to the Gallo Center for the Arts on Saturday.
The show will raise money for the fund, which was created in memory of Laci Peterson and her unborn son, Conner. Since its inception in December 2005, the program has awarded $191,000 in grants to 37 search-and-rescue organizations in 10 states.
Sign Up and Save
Get six months of free digital access to The Modesto Bee
Laci Peterson's mother, Sharon Rocha, said the idea for the comedy night came from Laci's cousin Shawn Rocha. Sharon said once she heard it, she knew it was the right thing to do.
"It's something lighthearted; there had already been too much of the other," she said. "Laci loved to laugh."
But coming up with the idea was one thing — coming up with the comedy was another. Rocha said spearheading the benefit was a crash course in events promotion.
"I started out having absolutely no idea where to begin. I had never been done anything like this in my life," she said.
But, ironically, the event's biggest "get" was also the easiest.
"I just called (Larry King) and told him what we'd be doing and ask if he'd be interested," she said. "He said, 'Absolutely, sure. When is it? Where?' "
Rocha was a frequent guest on King's CNN talk show, "Larry King Live," throughout the search for her daughter, as well as the trial and conviction of Laci's husband, Scott Peterson, for the murder.
King will serve as the night's host, with the laughs coming from a lineup of experienced comics.
"Whose Line is it Anyway?" stars Mochrie and Sherwood tour together doing improvisational comedy, New York comic Liebman has appeared on "The Tonight Show with Jay Leno," "Jimmy Kimmel Live" and "The Late Show with David Letterman," and New Jersey native Caldwell has made appearances on "The Late Show" and "The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson."
Attendees can purchase VIP tickets to the fund-raiser that include a pre-show reception with hors d'oeuvres and sparkling wine. The stars, including King, will mingle with guests at the reception.
Rocha said all the performers are providing their services for free, as are organizers and volunteers for the Laci & Conner Search and Rescue Fund. The fund awards grants to search-and-rescue organizations across the country that pay for everything from GPS equipment to radios, computers and diving gear.
Grant applications are taken year-round through the fund's Web site and are awarded once annually with help from Matt Scharper, the California State Search and Rescue Coordinator.
A sell-out crowd could raise an additional $100,000 for the fund. Rocha said the plan is to make Laughing for Laci an annual event.
"People are excited," Rocha said. "It's going to be a lot of fun."