The funny men and women who make Boston a hotbed of stand-up comedy have long been strong supporters of Globe Santa, and this year is no different.
Dave Russo, NESN’s “Dirty Water TV” host and notorious Robert De Niro impersonator, led a night full of comedy last week at Giggles Comedy Club in Saugus that raised nearly $3,000, all of which will go toward Globe Santa’s effort to deliver toys to area children whose families are in need. And this weekend marks the annual 24-hour comedy marathon, “No Rest for the Wicked Funny,” by Improv Asylum.
“Our Globe Santa event was a big success,” Russo said. “I’d say that Dave Russo and the Giggles comedy crew have been taken off Santa’s naughty list.”
The Nov. 29 event at Giggles, located within the Prince Pizza restaurant, featured not only the comedy of Russo but also comedians Lenny Clarke, Anthony Scibelli Artie Januario, and Johnny Pizzi. Clarke and Russo served as both hosts and headliners.
“It was a kick-butt show,” Russo said. “Prince Pizza donated the pizza, Giggles donated the room, and the comedians donated their time. People showed up, they donated money, and they spent money. There was a lot of check writing to Globe Santa.”
The $25 tickets to the event included unlimited pizza. Several items were auctioned, with all proceeds going to the Globe Santa fund.
“Helping Globe Santa is a no-brainer for us,” said Russo, who regularly donates his time and talents to US troops via the USO. “We as entertainers understand how fortunate we are to get to do what we love to do as a job. Giving back to the community is part of the package.”
Globe Santa, he said, is a natural fit for stand-up comics. “We’re all grown-up kids, and Globe Santa helps kids. Enough said!”
Next year, he and his fellow comedians aim to host at least two nights of entertainment in support of Globe Santa.
Those who missed last week’s event will have another chance to laugh for the benefit of Globe Santa this weekend at Improv Asylum on Hanover Street in Boston, with the annual 24-hour comedy marathon, “No Rest for the Wicked Funny,” which has become a much-loved holiday tradition.
This marks the eighth year that the comedy-on-the-spot talents at the Asylum have sacrificed their time – and a full night’s sleep – for Globe Santa. The event, which will feature nonstop improvisational comedy, plus celebrity appearances and a live auction, begins at 8 p.m. Friday and continues until 8 p.m. Saturday.
Each year, the Asylum assembles a lineup of new talent and new attractions, including celebrity appearances.
This year’s luminaries include Ken Casey, lead singer of the Dropkick Murphys, who will auction a guitar signed by the band on Friday night and probably sing a song or two, event organizers said.
As he has done each year, comedian Tony V will perform at midnight; his fellow comic Steven Wright will follow.
Saturday at 10 a.m., the Asylum will invite all funny kids onstage to perform alongside the club’s seasoned veterans. Later in the day, chef Jose Duarte of neighboring restaurant Taranta will lead a cooking demonstration and a tasting.
Asylum regular David Eigenberg of “Sex and the City” fame will deliver a comic performace. Celtics legend JoJo White will meet and greet fans at 1 p.m. And two Hanover Street boutiques have furnished Asylum comedians with unique outfits to be modeled in the event’s firstfashion show.
“There will lots of great acts, lots of great donation items,” said Stacey Princi, producer and director of operations at Improv Asylum. “We try to add new components each year, and we think this year’s going to be especially fun.”
Besides the Dropkick Murphys guitar, she said, auction items may include tickets to Blue Man Group and a Taylor Swift concert, plus a Red Sox VIP package with tickets for four and a chance to throw out the first pitch at a game next season.
Last year’s marathon sold out Friday night, though tickets are available throughout the 24-hour event, space permitting. Admission is $20, but Improv Asylum is encouraging a $35 donation, which covers the cost of toys for one child this holiday season. All proceeds from “No Rest for the Wicked Funny” go to Globe Santa.
Early-bird revelers can attend the VIP party at Goody Glover’s restaurant on Salem Street in the North End from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. before Lisa Hughes of WBZ-TV kicks off the event at 8. The party’s $50 price tag includes open bar, appetizers, and admission to “No Rest for the Wicked Funny.”
Organizer Mike Anastasia reports that proceeds from the Asylum’s Globe Santa grow each year. Last year they raised $41,000, which he estimated covered toys for 1,100 families.
“Our goal is just to raise as much as we can,” he said. “Every single dollar that comes in is going right back to help the kids who need it.”
For more information about “No Rest for the Wicked Funny” or the Improv Asylum, see www.improvasylum.com.