A report by Alexandra Simon for Caribbean News Now.
The joke’s on Haiti.
A Haitian comedian has recruited three high-profile funny women to join his comedy show benefit for the Caribbean country. The third annual “Jokes for Haiti” at Park Slope’s Littlefield on Nov. 11, will feature actress and stand-up star Janeane Garofalo, Caribbean-born Brooklyn comedian Janelle James, and “Saturday Night Live” writer Sam Jay. The show’s organizer and host, Tanael Joachim, says that he is a big fan of all of three artists, and that he knows that they will pack the room for the charity event.
“There are all funny people that I like and funny people that I know will get attraction, and they are all doing great things,” said Joachim.”
Joachim created the show after Hurricane Matthew ravaged parts of southern Haiti in 2016. He wanted to help his native country, but was frustrated by reports of wasted money by the Red Cross and similar humanitarian groups, so he wanted to donate to a reputable grassroots organization.
“I started this because I wanted to do something and I wanted to find a good charity,” he said. “But I was very careful because a lot of them go down there, and abuse their names and the power they have.”
After doing some research, Joachim discovered Nova Hope for Haiti — a New Jersey-based group that organizes medical mission trips and operates two medical clinics in the rural southwest Haiti towns of Cavaillon and Boileau, which supply Haiti’s most vulnerable populations with vaccines and other medication.
The group has a proven track record, and it employs healthcare professionals with a direct connection to Haiti, said Joachim.
“They only hire Haitian nurses, doctors, and most of their staff is Haitian, and that was even more an incentive for me to support them,” he said.
Joachim created the fund-raising comedy show to support the medical group, and also to spearhead a movement against major non-profits in favor of smaller one. And his stand-up set during the show will make light of many organizations that have profited from money intended to help Haiti’s people, he said.
“I will definitely be making a jokes about them,” he said. “And this goes beyond the Red Cross. I find that generally speaking when a charity is big, a lot of things get lost in translation and the money goes into too many hands leading to a lot of weird things happening.”
The night will not only be a great time, but it will go to a good cause, said Joachim.
“People should come first and foremost because it’s good entertainment, it’s high level comedy, and what makes it better is knowing the entertainment you’re getting comes with the added benefit of doing something good,” said Joachim. “The money from the show is going directly to the organization, the community, and the people left behind by the government.”
“Jokes for Haiti” at Littlefield [635 Sackett St. between Third and Fourth avenues in Park Slope, www.littlefieldnyc.com]. Nov. 11 at 8 pm. $15 ($12 in advance).