Stu Bykofsky: Jesting pols top 30G for Variety

U.S. Rep. Patrick Murphy, of Bucks County, performs.
U.S. Rep. Patrick Murphy, of Bucks County, performs.
Posted: August 12, 2010

THERE WAS trauma and

drama playing out behind the scenes Tuesday, in the hours leading up to the 20th annual Stu Bykofsky Candidates Comedy Night at Finnigan's Wake.

What most of the audience didn't know was that Congress interrupted its summer hiatus to return to Washington to act on the Education, Jobs and Medicaid Assistance Act on Tuesday morning, the day of the show.

This could have pulled six of the 15 candidates out of the show - U.S. Reps. Chaka Fattah, Allyson Schwartz, Bob Brady, Jim Gerlach, Patrick Murphy and Joe Sestak.

All of them made it, except Schwartz, who sent a surrogate, and Gerlach, who couldn't even manage that.

Gerlach's Democratic opponent, Manan Trivedi, said he is the child of immigrants from India and he and his brother were the only Indian-Americans in rural Berks County. When he went cow-tipping with friends, he "would have to worship the cow," he said, adding that the entire weight of his school's spelling-bee team was on him and his brother. His high school yearbook called him "most likely to own a convenience store." Instead, he became a doctor and is an Iraq veteran.

Playing to a sports-partisan crowd, Republican gubernatorial candidate Tom Corbett used a gimmicked poster to portray his opponent in a Dallas Cowboys jersey with No. 81 - Terrell Owens.

Addressing earlier highly partisan remarks by Fattah, Andre Watson, filling in for Mike Fitzpatrick of the 8th District, thanked Fattah "for alleviating my fears I'd be the least funny person in the room."

Brady was smooth and self-effacing, while Pat Meehan, candidate for Congress in the 7th District, delivered a polished routine.

He must have been great in front of juries when he was a prosecutor.

The show, co-hosted by my colleague Jenice Armstrong, raised more than $30,000 for Variety, the Children's Charity. More than $400,000 has been raised by the comedy show over the years.

One surprise was the appearance of Dave Schultz, best-known as the Flyers' Stanley Cup Hammer, who came to auction off an item - and then did a few minutes of quality comedy. Kind of a surreal scene - the former Flyers' enforcer known for knockdowns, doing stand-up. While at a casino, he said, he called 1-800-GAMBLER.

"Can I help you?" asked the operator. "I have a jack and a six, what do I do?" he replied.

The show, naturally, would not be possible without the candidates, all of whom deserve thanks for being public-spirited and good sports. For U.S. Senate: Republican Pat Toomey and Democrat Joe Sestak ("Sestak is Slovak for 'job offer,' " he said.) Candidates for governor: Democrat Dan Onorato and Republican Corbett. Congressional candidates: Democratic incumbent Brady; Democratic incumbent Fattah and his Republican opponent, Rick Hellberg; Democrat Trivedi; Democrat Bryan Lentz and his Republican opponent, Meehan; Democratic incumbent Murphy and his Republican opponent, Fitzpatrick; Democratic incumbent Schwartz and her Republican opponent, Carson Dee Adcock, who won the 50-50 drawing and generously turned his share over to the charity.

Finnigan's owner, Mike Driscoll, received a plaque marking the 10th year of offering the venue for free, and Joe Conklin was honored for his 15th year of providing sure-fire professional comedy to the show.

I'm proud that just about everything is donated to the show so that all money goes to programs, equipment and activities provided by Variety to children with disabilities in the Delaware Valley.

Love him or hate him, Joey Vento (he wants to be ambassador to Mexico, Murphy cracked) stepped up with a donation so his Geno's Steaks was the sponsor of this year's event.

Music was provided by DJ Ron of Champion Sound Productions. Lights and Sound from Wayne Reeves' Sound on Sound.

Thanks to the Variety volunteers, led by Eric Perry and Baby Cakes, my sweet wife. Jeff Jubelirer helped with handling the press. The auction item came from Del Frisco's Double Eagle Steak House. Bob Kelly of CBS3 did the announcing. Tickets were printed by Kennedy Printing and the Show Program was courtesy of Strassheim Graphic Design & Press Corp. Cover art by John Gilpin. Photography by Koby's Photography.

I'll be taking a few days off to recover. See you later.

E-mail stubyko@phillynews.com or call 215-854-5977. For recent columns:

http://go.philly.com/byko.

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