Illustration by Brian McLachlan/Torontoist.
You know the old saying: laughter is the best philanthropy. Earlier this month, the Stephen Lewis Foundation, in an effort to further fund its community-driven education and action programs in AIDS-ravaged Africa, launched the A Dare to Remember program—individuals take on dares (no wiener truths) and get cash sponsorship for seeing it through. Local actor and comedian Pat Thornton was recently challenged to participate, and came up with an idea that was, in hindsight, possibly on the overachiever’s side of dares. “I was walking by a canvasser on the street and he recognized me because he was an editor on a show I was on. He said I would be great for their Dare to Remember program, so I talked to some friends and came up with the idea of doing stand-up comedy for twenty-four hours. I don’t know why I said twenty-four hours…I think people would have been impressed if I said six.”
From 6 p.m. on Monday, November 2 until 6 p.m. on Tuesday, November 3, Thornton and his team (writers, supporters, girlfriend) will take residence at the Comedy Bar. “The writers (some of whom include other local comedy gems Norm Sousa from Punch Drysdale and Craig Brown from the Sketchersons, plus a whack of others) will take shifts working with me, and a few people are going to try to stay the whole time. I said I was going to do this crazy thing and they said, ‘that sounds absolutely insane. I’ll do that.'” The long haul won’t resemble the rapid-fire, attention-challenged Robot Chicken-esque humour of Thornton’s ensemble Comedy Network program, Hotbox, but Thornton does say he’ll have some flexibility. Meaning, he’ll have the internet. “People can Twitter me jokes, and there will also be an opportunity for people to watch from home.” So you don’t even have to miss House.
So far, other dare takers have included local luminaries such as Jack Layton (busked on the Danforth!), George Stroumboulopoulos (switching up his wardrobe!), and Stephen Lewis himself (singing on TV with The Arkells! “He’s the cutest,” Thornton says about Lewis and his rock star debut), and Thornton is happy to be among them. “Africa and the AIDS problem [seem] so huge and so far away, and as a human it can make you feel so helpless. If I can help a little bit, that would be nice.” Everyone, go have your nap. Because Torontoist double-dog dares you to watch the entire twenty-four hour set. Chickens.
Entry to the hilarious-a-thon is $5, or, donations towards Pat Thornton’s dare can be made in any denomination on his fundraising page. All proceeds go to the Stephen Lewis Foundation.