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Slate of Top Comedians Once Again To ‘Stand Up For Main Street’ At Sunday Fundraiser

Carol Leifer - photo by Scott Kirkland

Posted: Tuesday, October 14, 2014 – 8:36 PM

Local Carol Leifer will be among the entertainers taking part in “Stand Up For Main Street,” an all-star comedy benefit for Public Citizen, set for 6:30 p.m., Sunday, Oct. 19 at the Writers Guild Theater, 135 S. Doheny Dr.

Leifer, a four-time Emmy nominee for her writing on Seinfeld, Modern Family, Saturday Night Live, The Larry Sanders Show and seven Academy Awards telecasts, got involved in the nonprofit though her friendship with organizer Steve Skrovan.

“We go back to the ‘80s when we were both doing stand-up at the Improv,” says Leifer. ‘I’ve known him a long time; and I believe in the cause. So when he asked me, I said ‘yes.’ I’m down with Ralph Nader. The cause is important and I always love it when we raise money by putting on a show.”

Skrovan a producer (‘Til Death), writer (Everybody Loves Raymond), and director was introduced to the non-profit, consumer-rights advocacy group when he made a documentary about its founder Ralph Nader. He’s now a Public Citizen Foundation board member.

Leifer is happy to join the cause. She tells of a recent incident when she and her partner Lori were in San Francisco getting into an Uber car. “Lori buckles up and I say, ‘there’s no seat belt back here.’ And the driver says ‘we’re working on it.’ I felt like calling Ralph right then. We Jews are ‘uber’ careful about safety. Needless to say, we got out of the car.

“People forget how important seatbelts are,” says Leifer. Advocating for seatbelts and air bags is just one of Public Citizens’ achievements along with taking 24 dangerous drugs off the market and raising awareness of red dye no. 2 and toxic shock syndrome, among others.

When he was approached to be on the board, Skrovan readily agreed. “If I can’t do this vital work; the least I can do is support it. Public Citizen has saved thousands of lives. “

Organized by Skrovan for the fourth year, this year with help from Improv Manager Pat Buckles, and emceed by Skrovan and Lew Schneider, the fourth annual event will also feature:

• Saturday Night Live alum (1986-1995) Kevin Nealon who created Mr. Subliminal and Franz (from Hans & Franz), and anchored Weekend Update. He also stared in Weeds.

• Cathy Ladman, recipient of the American Comedy Award for best female stand-up comic, who’s made numerous appearances on The Tonight Show and The Late Late Show. Her writing credits include The Caroline Rhea Show and Roseanne.

• Writer, actor, and comedian Suli McCullough whose writing credits include The Tonight Show and Lopez Tonight. His acting credits include The Jamie Foxx Show and Don’t Be A Menace to South Central While Drinking Your Juice in The Hood.

• Jake Johanssen, who has starred in multiple comedy specials and is a frequent guest on The Late Show with David Letterman.

• Comedian and writer Wayne Federman whose work includes his biography of “Pistol Pete”Maravich, as well as roles in The X-Files, The Larry Sanders Show, Curb Your Enthusiasm, Legally Blonde, 50 First Dates, The 40-Year-Old Virgin and Step Brothers.

Plus the recently added Demetri Martin and Laurie Kilmartin.

“This is going to be a good year,” admits Skrovan. “ I think we’ve outdone ourselves. We have a packed show.

“We make this fundraiser easy for people,” says Skrovan. “You don’t have to get dressed up, there’s no rubber chicken or live auction, there’s easy parking, and the amount of laughter in ratio to time commitment is the best in L.A. It’s early, there’s the show and we’re done. You get two hours of belly laughs and you’re supporting an organization that works for you.”

Among Public Citizen’s latest causes, Skrovan says, are:

• Working on a constitutional amendment overturning the Citizens United Supreme Court decision which it believes gives special interests and their lobbyists even more power in Washington. “A sister organization said we’ll never get an amendment,” says Skrovan. “But in the past year, progress has been made and nobody thought we’d get this far. Campaigns and movements take time. The powers that be hope you don’t know all the inside baseball. But Public Citizen knows the inside baseball.”

• Helping stop fast-track free trade deals, “that allow the corporate takeover of environmental laws nationally and internationally. It’s a way for companies to bypass safety and other laws and there’s a lot of bipartisan support,” Skrovan says.

• Pointing out the violations of Murray Energy, one of the largest independent coal mining companies in the country, to the point that the company is now suing Public Citizen.

Leifer was set to perform last year, but a family member got sick and she had to cancel. “Everyone’s reasonably healthy now; so I should make it,” says Leifer.

She promises that in her act Sunday, “I’ll segue to make it relevant. Because of the recent seat belt experience; I’m incensed. I’m about accountability in business and all areas of life. Public Citizen is about accountability for the public good,” says Leifer, who’s also just published her latest book, How To Succeed In Business Without Really Crying, A memoir/guide to finding the perfect job, the book “is filled with business tips and secrets from my long 38-year career in show business.”

Tickets are $100. To purchase, and for more information, visit www.citizen.org/stand-up-for-main-street.

—Steve Simmons

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