Local Improv Group Gives 24-Hour Performance to Fund Holiday Gifts for Children

By Lauren K. Terry December 21, 2011, 4:50 PM EST

Photo: Jay Ward

Improv Asylum's "No Rest for the Wicked Funny" Benefit
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“Speed and—action!” At these words, Improv Asylum’s ensemble cast dashed to the stage at “No Rest for the Wicked Funny,” a 24-hour fund-raiser to benefit Globe Santa, held at the group's Hanover Street theater on Friday and Saturday.

One of Boston’s best-known improvisation and sketch comedy troupes, Improv Asylum has hosted the event for the past seven years to raise funds to provide gifts for underprivileged children. This year’s event raised $40,000, a $10,000 boost from last year's take.

The participation of well-known television and news personalities, musicians, authors, and chefs helped to attract the 400 guests. “We used personal connections to secure … performers,” said Shalyn Ward, the troupe's corporate training manager. “And [we got] in touch with big-name celebrities that will be in Boston around the holidays.”

Seasoned Improv Asylum members performed alongside the celebrity guests, some of whom joined in via Skype. Flat-screen TVs hung from columns festively wrapped in white lights, green garland, and red ribbon. David Eisenberg—that’s Steve from Sex and the City—shared stories from his personal and professional life, providing inspiration for live sketches. Other special guests included chef Dante de Magistris from Restaurant Dante, who did a cooking demonstration, musician Uke Springsteen, and Meredith Goldstein, author of The Singles.

During scheduled breaks from celebrity and improviser antics, guests had the opportunity to bid on an array of items at three live auctions. Lots included history packages, museum packages, tickets to sporting events and the Broadway show Book of Mormon, and a framed and autographed picture of the cast of NBC’s Community

The live auctions were complemented by an auction on BiddingforGood.com. The online platform was a first for this event, and, according to Ward, a rewarding experience. “BiddingforGood.com secured most of our online auction items,” Ward said. “It was our first year using [the service], and it was a huge success.”

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