Friday evening was all about comedy at the Lobero Theatre, where jokes and punchlines floored the audience time and time again. The “evening of laughter and love” was a fundraiser for the Teddy Bear Cancer Foundation, which upgraded its annual luncheon into a nighttime event designed to attract some of Santa Barbara’s finest.
“There are a lot of heartbreaking stories, but there are also a lot of heartwarming stories, and those are the ones we’re here to celebrate tonight,” said cochair Fiona Stone who, along with cochair Margo Barbakow, had worked together with the Teddy Bear Cancer Foundation staff and committee to make the night happen.
In the spirit of comedy, the foundation chose to honor actress and comedienne Carol Burnett for her “generous spirit and gracious willingness.” Burnett, who is best known for her hit 1960s and ’70s television program The Carol Burnett Show, lost her daughter Carrie Hamilton to lung and brain cancer in 2002. The multi-award-winning actress and longtime resident of Santa Barbara has been with the Teddy Bear Cancer Foundation for two years and said she was “thrilled to be a part of this.”
To present Burnett the award, the foundation called in her personal friend, actress Jane Lynch, of Glee fame. “I would go anywhere to hand an award to Carol Burnett,” said Lynch. “Not only is she one of the funniest people in the world, she is also one of the most generous, gracious, and openhearted people I’ve ever met.”
The two met in 2007 when cast as mother and daughter-in-law in the movie Post Grad. “Don’t try to recall it — you won’t,” said Lynch when she took the stage to introduce her idol. Recently, Burnett joined the cast of Glee to play Lynch’s “Nazi-hunting mother.”
Dennis Miller acted as master of ceremonies to tickle the audience’s funny bone, and comedians Garet Webb and Melissa Peterman gave the audience something to laugh about with their excellent standup comedy, as did Steve Martin and Tim Conway, although the two were not there in person. Auctioning off the big prize of the evening was Billy Baldwin, who arrived in a police escort carrying the “top secret package”: an all-expenses-paid trip to San Diego to enjoy SeaWorld and spend an entire day in the company of Navy Seals.
For more info on the Teddy Bear Cancer Foundation, visit this Web site.