Sometimes you have to laugh to keep from crying.
A night of Haitian-centric comedy in Bedford-Stuyvesant later this month will try to raise spirits while raising money for that country’s hurricane relief efforts. Proceeds from “Laugh 4 Haiti, Cry 4 Haiti, Dance 4 Haiti,” happening at the Milk River lounge on Nov. 28, will go to grassroots organizations aiding the thousands of Haitians displaced by the destructive Hurricane Matthew, which heavily flooded the country’s southern region in early October. The Haitian-American organizer of the charitable laugh-fest says it will bring a light touch to a serious night.
“We’re going to tell a lot of jokes about Haitian culture and Haitian pride and strength — we don’t want to just talk about the sad stuff,” said Moses Merisier, who lives in Bedford-Stuyvesant. “We want to bring life into the people.”
The show will have three segments: a stand-up comedy set, an open mic session for storytelling and poetry, and a party with DJs and dancing. The night’s second portion will welcome audience members who need to share their feelings, Merisier said.
“Anyone can sign up for the open mic and be sentimental, and express their emotions regarding what’s going on,” he said. “For the most part we just encourage people to follow the theme of the show.”
All proceeds from the event will go towards three organizations: the Haitian Health Foundation, CapraCare, and Let’s Go Haiti. Merisier said that he chose the groups because they have a proven track record of aid work in Haiti.
“We are only raising money for grassroots organizations,” said Merisier. “We choose organizations that keep their documents for public view on their websites, and we only donate where work organizations who have been working there for decades.”
Those who cannot make the Monday evening show can also donate directly through the event’s web page. Merisier said that, since he cannot pack up and head off to Haiti to help directly, he wants to assist the people who are already there, working directly with those affected by the hurricane.
“We’re just looking for people to help and send money,” he said. “‘What am I going to do right now? I’d rather raise money to send to people who are going to do it.”
“Laugh 4 Haiti, Cry 4 Haiti, Dance 4 Haiti” at Milk River Lounge [960 Atlantic Ave. between Washington and Grand avenues in Bedford-Stuyvesant, (718) 636–8600, www.milkr