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Southwest Orange Thursday, Jan. 31, 2019 3 years ago

BLACK TIE: Windermere Rotary to host Lobster and Laughter fundraiser

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The Rotary Club of Windermere’s annual fundraiser features a surf-and-turf dinner and live comedy show.
by: Danielle Hendrix Former Associate Editor

If you fancy lobster and a good laugh, the Rotary Club of Windermere has the perfect dinner show for you.

The Rotary’s annual fundraiser, Lobster & Laughter, is set for 6:30 to 10 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 16, at Windermere Town Hall. This is the second year the club’s signature fundraiser will be held at Town Hall.

Judy Black, a Rotary Club member, said the event was originally started by Norma Sutton and previously was held at the Pines of Windermere. 

“My husband and I, we’ve been doing the lobster events for many years, and we used to do it at the Pines,” Black said. “Last year was the first year we moved it to the Town Hall for the fact that it was smaller, and we could still have lobster and laughter. We kind of lost the laughter in the big hall (at the Pines).

“It’s a nice dinner show right in the middle of Windermere,” she said. “I love the Town Hall because of the location and because it’s intimate. You can go downtown to a comedy club, but this is right in your backyard.”

Attendees can purchase a ticket for $100, which includes a dinner of lobster, beef filet and wine. There also will be cocktails, a cash bar, live comedy show and a dessert and coffee bar. All proceeds go to local charities.

This year’s event features three entertainers — up-and-coming comedian James Yon, comic and magician Myke Herlihy and master of ceremonies Carmen Vallone. 

Herlihy, a native of Manchester, Connecticut, previously was a bartender for 13 years. He now takes his “bartender’s wit” to the comedy stage, and his comedy-meets-magic style is described as laid-back and witty.

Herlihy combines comedy and sleight-of-hand magic to create fun performances for his audiences, and he has performed at small-town comedy clubs, theaters and college campuses. 

Herlihy was a semifinalist in the largest annual “Florida’s Funniest Comedian” competition in both 2012 and 2013. In 2013, he was invited to be a performer at “The World Series of Comedy” in Las Vegas; the Boston Comedy Festival in Sommerville, Massachusetts; and “The Laugh Your Asheville Off” Comedy Festival in Asheville, North Carolina. He also has been featured on “Comedy Central.”

Yon is a Florida native and described as “one of America’s hottest up-and-coming comedians.” He has his own show called “Viral Breakdown” on the Afrotainment Channel on Dish Network and was a finalist on NBC’s “Stand Up for Diversity.” He also was the 2011 and 2012 winner of Orlando Improv’s “Clash of the Comics.”

According to his biography on Bonkerz Comedy Productions, his style is a mashup of stand-up comedy, musical impressions and “outrageous” dance moves. He now tours clubs and casinos all over the country, from Orlando to Las Vegas.

Emcee Vallone hails from upstate New York but currently resides in Florida. The comedian has performed on NBC’s “Last Comic Standing” and CBS’ “Comedy Night School” and is the host and producer of “A Joke Off,” a nationally touring comedy competition.

Vallone has performed at various comedy clubs, casinos and theaters, ranging from Los Angeles and Las Vegas to Tampa and Orlando.

“I hope they have fun,” Black said of attendees. “I hope they see the value in the good food and fun with people they know in the community. Also, the money goes to charity, so that’s very important, too. That’s what the Windermere Rotary is all about — we’re also about service to the community. If we can perform an event the community loves and the money goes to charity, that’s awesome.”

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Danielle Hendrix was an associate editor for the West Orange Times & Observer, Southwest Orange Observer and OrangeObserver.com.

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