EL CENTRO — Raising funds is no laughing matter, but Friday night at the Jimmy Cannon Performing Arts Theatre, Southwest choir clubs did their best to change the rules.
Anita Slobig, choir teacher at Southwest High School, said the comedy show, Laughing With the Eagles, was a venue to raise funds to finance trips to Los Angeles and San Francisco in April and May. “It was planned as a choir fund-raiser to help the kids pay for their outfits and traveling to the spring festivals.”
The show, according to Slobig, was brought to Southwest High by Juan Molina, owner of Wassup Wu Comedy. Molina invited three Los Angeles area professional comedians for an evening of laughter at the Jimmie Cannon Theatre.
Host Mike Cano, a comedian himself, entertained the audience with humorous observations of Mexican life and impromptu jokes. He used a high chair jesting about his height; and to insinuate a far shorter, traveling-distance field trip based on the amount of funds raised for the evening. One hundred, $10-tickets, had been sold. Consequently, filling 100 seats of the 1,100 seating capacity Jimmie Cannon Theatre.
Cano said with haltingly restrained voice, “You guys will get to, like, maybe, like Fresno. Maybe, Bakersfield. This will get you to Bakersfield right here.” The audience laughed heartily, knowing full well the evening’s ticket sales were not enough to fund the trip.
Cano entertained the audience prior to introducing each of the three performers. Opening for the show were Anthony Camacho and Charles Kirby, two aspiring comedians from Southwest high, who induced giggles with one-liners.
Jordan Conley followed the students with a series of jokes mimicking different characters. He told jokes about a relationship with a girlfriend and high school fights such as, “I’ve never been in a fight, so I’m undefeated.”
Next was Roberto Rodríguez who wiggled his abdomen enhancing his punchlines. During his stand-up routine and unbeknown to the audience, his trouser got caught on his shoe and he slipped to the floor. The audience thought it was part of his show. He stayed on the floor for a few minutes keeping a confident composure. Rodríguez used the time making faces to the amusement of the audience since his mic had stopped functioning following his fall. He stood, and continued keeping the audience laughing.
The headliner for the evening was Ace Guillen of Riverside, CA. Guillen, a lead guitarist musician, now infuses his music with comedy. Sporting a Mohawk hair style, his rapid-firing of funny jokes one after another kept the small crowd laughing and on the edge of their seats.
“The audience was great,” Guillen said.
Gabriel Espinoza, 17, a member of SAVAPA music, came with her sister, Maritza, to watch the comedy show.
“It was amazing, better than I expected it to be. And a lot of people missed out on the opportunity,” Espinoza said. “It’s rare to see this type of show here in El Centro. So it was really awesome to get exposed to this kind of comedy. They were all good, but I like the guy with the guitar the most.”
Funding for the students’ trip to Los Angeles and San Francisco is still insufficient. Nevertheless, Slobig is thankful to their supporters. “I really appreciate the support that the parents and families have given to the kids in the choirs and the community that has come out to see the concerts.”
Donors wishing to help fund the students choir may call Anita Slobig, choir teacher at Southwest High School, at (760) 562-1703.