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Stand Up and Give Back raises money for mayor’s charities

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Stir Crazy Comedy Club at Westgate owner Tom Simes wanted to help the city by giving back.

He did so for the first time when the club hosted Jerry’s Charities with Stand Up and Give Back the final week of December.

“I mentioned the idea to Mayor (Jerry Weiers) back in the early fall of what I wanted to do and he told me about his charity that he started,” Simes said.

Weiers started Jerry’s Charities to make a positive difference in the lives of local citizens in need. His goal is to provide resources to charities, which expand their ability to help others and improve the community’s quality of life. He spearheads events and fundraising activities to contribute to these charities.

“This was the first time, however, I plan on doing it every year the week before Christmas,” Simes said. “I plan on choosing a different local charity each year to assist the mayor with.”

Simes gathered 40 of the best Arizona comedians, including Stu Baker, Jas Clay, Paul Diedrich, Thomas Eppolito, Steve Maxwell and Durrell Johnson, among others, to donate their time to perform for a sold-out crowd the weekend of December 20 to December 22 at Stir Crazy Comedy Club.

“I just reached out to a number of comedians,” Simes said. “I already know all of them personally, so it was a pretty easy process.”

Weiers said the event came from a simple discussion with Simes after Stir Crazy Comedy Club was named Business of the Week during the summer.

“I named them Business of the Week to promote local businesses and we got to talking and he found out I had Jerry’s Charities and he said he wanted to do some shows where he would donate the ticket proceeds,” Weiers said. “That was pretty much it, and sometimes you just get blessed with great businesses that want to help the community.”

Simes added the event raised $4,100 from ticket proceeds and the funds were donated to Jerry’s Charities. Weiers said he was surprised at the amount.

“Wow, I did not know that until now but that is amazing and makes my day,” Weiers said last week. “People seem to know that I like to help our citizens and the charity is a way to do that more successfully without government doing it. To be part of it, and get a local business to assist me with that, it is just an amazing feeling to get local businesses to help out.”

Johnson and Baker headlined the December 22 show and had the crowd laughing about various topics, including local news stories, among other things.

“These comedians were really good tonight and I was laughing all night,” Glendale resident Gary Dubanski said after the show. “When I heard it was for charity, I decided to come support a great business and have some fun. This club is so nice and I always have an amazing time when I come.”

Others in attendance agreed the show was a good way to give back during the holidays.

“I have come to Stir Crazy a number of times and it is always a great show with some amazing food to eat while I laugh,” said Peoria resident Donald Cervez. “Plus, this was a great way to give to local charities and make a difference.”

Simes said he hopes to hold the Stand Up and Give Back every year during the holidays.

“I was happy with how successful it turned out because I wasn’t sure what to expect,” Simes said. “We got a lot of great feedback from customers and our regular customers really enjoyed seeing so many comedians on one show, which is very different from our typical shows.”