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PortWatch

September 12, 2013

Comedy for a cause

Show to benefit Salisbury man with multiple sclerosis

Some of the North Shore’s best comedians are coming together next week to help out a friend.

The Matt Shirley Comedy Night on Thursday, Sept. 19, at Roma Ristorante in Haverhill will raise money for Shirley, a Salisbury resident with multiple sclerosis.

“We all like doing fundraisers,” said comedian and show organizer Dave Rattigan. “There was no problem lining up comics for this gig. All of the guys know and like Matt and were happy to come out to help him out. This lineup is loaded with great comedians.”

Rattigan will be going for the big laughs along with Bob Seibel, Dave Russo, Tony Moschetto, Amy Tee, Sal Votano and Jimmy Dunn.

Shirley missed several months of work while dealing with his disease earlier this year, and the comics are hoping to help him with some of his living expenses.

“This is a case where a guy needs some help,” said Rattigan, who often books comics through his Scamps Comedy Productions and has enlisted Shirley’s help in the past.

“The way a civilian would plan (a comedy) show might not work at all,” Rattigan said. “In fact, it might even sabotage the show. For example, they might put the comedians in the wrong place. There’s a 40-foot dance floor, and they don’t want to put the comedians near the people. Matt would be the guy to liaison between the venue and the comedians, so that they could put on a better show.”

The two met while Rattigan was teaching a stand-up comedy class at Northern Essex Community College and would eventually gig together.

“Matt worked at the Guitar Center, so he hooked a lot of people up with equipment,” Rattigan said. “He went to the shows, and he would troubleshoot for comedians. I know a lot of people who know him, and they all just gravitate to him. He’s a stand-up guy. He’s a funny guy. He gets the jokes, and he’s fun to hang around with. So the guys really like him.”

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