You’ve seen him on Saturday Night Live, as Franck Eggelhoffer in Father of the Bride, as Jack Frost in The Santa Clause 3: The Escape Clause, as Uncle Jack in Arrested Development, as Garrison Cootes in How I Met Your Mother, heard his voice in Frankenweenie and seen or heard him in dozens of other movies and TV shows. Now you can see and hear Martin Short in person when he headlines Forgotten Harvest’s 21st annual Comedy Night on April 27 at the Detroit Opera House.
Here’s a little background on the vital service Forgotten Harvest provides that helps our Metro Detroit neighbors in need. Forgotten Harvest rescues food by collecting surplus, prepared and perishable food from grocery stores, restaurants, caterers, dairies, farmers, wholesale food distributors, and other health department-approved sources. This donated food – that would otherwise go to waste – is delivered free of charge to emergency food providers throughout metro Detroit. Forgotten Harvest is now America’s largest and most efficient food rescue organization.
This quote from Martin Short tells us a little about why he would be part of Comedy Night.
“When my dad died at the end of my sophomore year (at university), I stopped and took stock of my life. There was this real sense that my childhood was officially over. I decided I wanted to be an actor. I knew I was loved as a kid. The thing you can always rely on, your core person, comes from your family`s attention and love. When my mother got sick, and I`d see her fight to survive, it gave me an early view of bravery and what life was about. I was able to prepare for it. Your mother dies, and you`re eighteen, and you face a choice. Are you going to take drugs? Become a drunk? Or are you going to try to become more spiritual? Why not go with the thing that seems more positive? (pause) Why do I tend to be optimistic? Because the alternative is just crushing to my soul.’’
Comedy Night is Forgotten Harvest’s largest fundraiser. It began in 1992 with the support of television and film star and local native Tim Allen and Detroit area comedy impresario Mark Ridley. Other comedians who have headlined Comedy Night, which has become Metro Detroit’s premier annual comedy event, include Tim Allen, Seth Meyers, The Smothers Brothers, Richard Jeni, Kevin Pollack, Kevin Meaney, Louie Anderson, David Coulier and Kathleen Madigan.
Southeastern Michigan natives Mike and Christopher Farah of Funny Or Die, one of the web’s top destinations for comedy, were instrumental in securing Martin Short and last year’s comedian, Seth Meyers, for Comedy Night.
They also created and published a video appeal in 2011 featuring Peter Weller, star of the movie Robocop, urging metro Detroiters to make donations to Forgotten Harvest. The Robocharity for Forgotten Harvest movement was generated by Garry Whitta, screenwriter for the movie Book of Eli, Ron Marz, CBR columnist and Ryan Meray, a local business owner around the famous initiative to have a statue of RoboCop dedicated in Detroit.
There is much hunger in our region. The need is great and unfortunately getting greater.
“In 2012, Forgotten Harvest rescued more than 47 million pounds of food that would have otherwise been diverted to area landfills, an 89% increase over our 2011 rescue effort,” says Susan Goodell, the organization’s president. “In just three years, we have increased the amount of food we rescue by 190% to meet the staggering need for food experienced in virtually every neighborhood throughout the tri-county region. One in five people in metro Detroit faces hunger on a daily basis. This is even more chilling. One in four of children in Metro Detroit simply don’t know where their next meal will come from or if there will even be a next meal.”
Last year Forgotten Harvest increased the number of hunger relief organizations it serves from 158 to 260.
“Our numbers are steadily rising. Everyone is welcome here,” says John Grden, director, Franciscan Outreach Program at the Church of the Transfiguration in Southfield. “”People are coming for help from Farmington, Madison Heights, Southfield and Sterling Heights. Over the past four years, the number of families we serve has risen from 129 to more than 600 this past October (2012). We need Forgotten Harvest food to help us meet a growing demand and stretch our budget.”
To help meet then need Forgotten Harvest is expanding into farming. Nora Moroun, a new board member, leased 92 acres of land on the Moroun family farm in Fenton to the organization for $1.00. The gift honors her grandmother, Nora Langan, who Moroun remembers opening her door and home many times to feed a hungry person. Last year Forgotten Harvest conducted a pilot farming program. Approximately 37 acres of land were farmed and harvested and more than 440,000 pounds of produce were raised and distributed to Forgotten Harvest agencies.
An additional three acres of land will be farmed in 2013 on land owned and operated by the Oakland County Parks and Recreation Department. Two acres of land were farmed in partnership with Oakland County in 2012.
In addition to the farmland, Forgotten Harvest has partnered with Blake’s Big Apple in Armada. More than 250 trees were planted on the grounds owned by the Blake family. Tree sponsorships are still available for purchase online at www.forgottenharvest.org.
Not only can you have a great time seeing Martin you can also continue your support for the organization by volunteering. Last year, 16,625 volunteers contributed 53,909 hours to Forgotten Harvest and more hours are needed to meet the need.
As Martin Short said, “Why not go with the thing that seems more positive?”
Tickets can be purchased by visiting Forgotten Harvest at www.forgottenharvest.org, Ticketmaster or in person at the Detroit Opera House box office. Ticket prices start under $20 and run to $150 for box seats. The show is family friendly and recommended for ages 12 and up.