Cherub Improv – a Manhattan-based non-profit organization founded by Jonathan Evan Goldberg, Joy Copeland Purver, and Steve Van Ooteghem – since its 2007 inception has provided over 500 free improvised comedy performances and educational workshops to people in the greater New York area who can benefit from interactive comedy. The organization specifically serves youth groups, the elderly, veterans, the homeless, and hospital, hospice, and cancer patients. Cherub performances provide much needed relief to people who are most in need of laughter and inspiration. They are beneficial because improv comedy enhances confidence ,communication skills, and creativity. Laughter, after all, is the best medicine!
The Gala, held at Tribeca Cinemas on 54 Varick Street, featured cocktails, delicious hors d’eouvres, music, a live and silent auction, and a Cherub Improv show. As I entered the theater lobby eagerly anticipating the event’s diverse agenda, I was immediately drawn to the plethora of displayed disparate items on auction. Look at this amazing stuff list: paintings, a handmade quilt, a woman’s fitness basket, jewelry, tickets to various classes, boat tour tickets, and a trapeze and circus training experience. The guests eagerly bidded on these items as they happily munched on a seemingly endless parade of mini hamburgers, chicken pieces placed on waffles, grilled cheese chunks, smoke salmon rolled pieces, micro corn dogs and, last but not least, churro (a Mexican cinnamon and chocolate mixture) and apple pie for desert.
The Improv show began with an angel wing clad Jonathan Evan Goldberg explaining that Cherubs “change sad into cheerful.” After Goldberg asked for the chance to provide an example of this transformation, a person vociferously said “diapers.” This word yielded the following diaper song lyric: “Oh baby. Are we still together?. It depends. I love you so much it keeps me from leakin’. Diaper lovin’.” The song was laugh out loud funny to the extent that as I was catching yet another tasty salmon fish hors d’eouvres I was absolutely on the verge of pishin’.
When I asked Goldberg, a trial lawyer, what motivated him to do such wonderful work, he offered the following answer with such a rapid intensity I could hardly take accurate notes: “It feels amazing to give back especially in this particular way because I can see the immediate effect of making someone smile especially the people who need it the most. I need more laughter because I am a partner in a very large law firm.” “Amazing” indeed. Goldberg has absolutely earned his angel wings.
The Cherubs impacted upon me personally. Because this event marked my first venture back into the social world after Superstorm Sandy, I greatly needed some cheer. At the end of the evening, I felt a sense of renewed confidence. The Cherubs are most certainly angels!
- Marleen Barr