Comedy night will benefit Tamaqua STEP-Up program
Liz Russo, a nationally known comedian, will be the headline act at Tamaqua's Comedy Night on July 15 at the Tamaqua Community Art Center. The performance is being held in conjunction with local efforts to fight drug abuse. SUBMITTED PHOTO
"Every time you are able to find the humor in a difficult situation, you win," is the perfect way to explain the life of stand-up comic Liz Russo, who will be appearing at the Tamaqua Community Arts Center on July 15.
Struggling with weight issues early in life, Russo's mom always told her in reaction to any bullies to "kill them with kindness." It is advice that stuck with her.
Growing up in Easton, Russo would continue to use her humor and kindness while pursuing her love of making people laugh, entertaining audiences, later becoming a role model as a plus-size model. Russo continued to act on stage and screen, and was part of a prestigious improvisational comedy troupe while attending American University in Washington, D.C.
With thoughts of becoming a lawyer or journalist, she earned her degree in CLEG (communication, law, economics and government) while also interning for the presidentat the White House.
But after that stint in improv, the lure of the bright lights beckoned ever brighter. She began writing her own material, using her personal experiences as her guide. After graduation, it was off to New York City, where she did her first professional stand-up comedy routine. It was love at first laugh and she hasn't looked back.
But it wasn't all about jokes. Alcoholism almost derailed her career and her health, while also earning her a long stint in Northampton County Prison. Time spent in rehab, receiving proper treatment and her own tenacity have helped her stay sober for over five years and put her career back on the comedy track. Russo is a proud person in recovery, advocating for those struggling with addiction, using her life experiences to connect with the audience and create positive change one laugh at a time.
Most recently, she has entertained locally at the ArtsQuest Center in Bethlehem; performed at Gilda's (Radner's) Laughfest in Michigan; SheDot Comedy Festival in Toronto; was featured on SiriusXM; and filmed a segment for "Laughs," a stand-up comedy showcase on the Fox network.
She was named 2016 "Best Comic of the Lehigh Valley" by Lehigh Valley Style Magazine, garnering more than 8,000 votes.
Russo is bringing her act to Tamaqua as part of the newly organized STEP-Up project, created in response to the state's growing heroin and opiate drug abuse issues.
Two other acts will take to the stage that night, including Tamaqua graduate Jason Brown, who will serve as host. Brown has made appearances throughout the country, including spots on the Howard Stern Show and Comedy Central.
The final piece of the comedy puzzle is Glen Tickle. who is the 2015 COZI TV Comedian of the Year. Tickle, who hails from New Jersey, has appeared at The Great Allentown Fair, the Reading Comedy Outlet and the Broadway Comedy Club in Manhattan. A freelance writer, he contributes to the Laughing Squid and has created several comedic short films. He's also appeared at the Lucille Ball Comedy festival in Jamestown, New York.
All proceeds of the show will benefit Skook Recovers, created in 2015 by Tri-Valley graduate Travis Snyder, who has been successfully recovering from heroin addiction for the past four years. The project was created to give hope to the hopeless, educate those who have yet to understand addiction as a disease, inspire those who are still struggling by sharing testimonies that offer hope for a better way of life, give new perspective to those who are being affected by substance abuse disorders and lift the stigma attached to addiction.
The Comedy Night is being held as part of the Tamaqua area's STEP-Up project, an initiative designed to offer ways to Support, Treat, Educate and Prevent drug abuse.
Tickets will be $3. The art center is at 125 Pine St., Tamaqua. For more information or to preorder tickets, call 570-668-1192 or visit the www.tamaquaarts.org.