Friday, Jan. 22, 2010 | 11:20 a.m.
While the devastation in Haiti from the recent earthquake is no laughing matter, Bonkerz Comedy Club at Palace Station will be donating half the proceeds from both shows Friday night to benefit the Red Cross relief efforts in Haiti.
Joe Sanfelippo, Bonkerz president, said, "We just felt that it was the right thing to do. We wanted to help and we thought our regular customers would feel the same way and if the folks visiting Las Vegas want to pitch it, all the better."
Headlining this weekend is Bear, a Florida-based comedian who embraces the stereotypes she embodies and pokes fun at herself onstage. The junior-high gym teacher also uses her students' crazy behavior as fodder for jokes.
What are your thoughts on playing a part in the relief efforts for Haiti through this show?
"I think it's fabulous. Joe's a great guy and I think it's a great idea and I'm glad Joe came up with it. What better way to make people laugh and help out Haiti at the same time?"
What are some of your favorite things to do while you're in town? Any restaurants or shows you don't want to miss?
"I love seeing the George Wallace show when I'm in town. I've seen him many times. I also love Carrot Top, and believe it or not I'm a Fanilow of the Manilow. You gotta love Barry Manilow. Don't let that get out. [laughing] I am basically a tourist at heart."
How do you balance traveling for comedy with your family life at home?
"My full-time job is teaching. I'm a seventh-grade teacher and I've done that for 22 years and I travel on the weekends doing comedy. And I drive a boat at Disney World two nights a week. I know I have a little girl, I'm just not sure what her name is because I'm so busy! Just kidding. I know I have a little kid running around the house and every now and then I feed it."
Do your students end up in your jokes often?
"That's where I get a lot of my material from. If it's called a teachers lounge, I fully believe there should be alcohol in there. Dodgeball is the P.E. teacher's revenge, let me tell you. We put the kids we don't like on one side and everybody else on the other."
How did you get into comedy in the first place?
"I started about eight years ago when my little girl came around. I wanted to show her that if you have a passion in life, no matter what, you should go after it. I had it in the back of my mind for a long time. My lifestyle wasn't as accepted as it is now since Ellen and Rosie and everyone has come out so it's a little bit easier for me to do the comedy thing now in more straight venues."
Who are some of your idols in the world of comedy?
"When I was young, I was a huge Carol Burnett fan. I never got whooped. I never got put on restriction or grounded. My punishment was I didn't get to watch The Carol Burnett Show and I would cry like a baby. Now I would have to say Lisa Lampanelli. I love her and Kathy Griffin and obviously Ron White, but if I ever met Carol Burnett, I would seriously wet myself."
What can patrons at Bonkerz expect from your show?
"I'm a little controversial. I'm a little high energy. I'm more Sam Kinison or Ron White style, if you can imagine those together. That's who I am. I make fun of myself, my lifestyle, who I am. … And I talk about my daughter, who was artificially inseminated, and how she calls me Ma-Pa since I'm the mama and the papa. Then there's the whole teaching thing and how I'm your basic homosexual physical education teacher. It's mostly making fun of myself and my lifestyle. Everything you hear on stage is true."