People needed to laugh again, it was agreed.

So a record crowd of 277 went out for an evening of laugh-til-you-cry fun with that popular “America’s Got Talent” finalist from Denver, Josh Blue.

Between laughs, they donated $95,000 to Zach’s Place, the Special Kids Special Families licensed respite and day care for children with special needs. This is one of only two accredited programs in the state.

Blue, whose cerebral palsy and twisted arm with a life of its own are an integral part of his comedy, had everyone laughing the moment he walked out on stage at Hotel Elegante on Oct. 16 and was greeted with cheers.

“It’s nice to be here,” he said to the audience, whose heads were nodding in agreement.

“After the last year, it’s nice to be anywhere!” More cheers.

Of course, said the guy in a broccoli shirt designed by his sister, possibly “anywhere” wasn’t necessarily the south side of Colorado Springs near the interstate. “I’m not from the Springs, but I look like I am,” he said, shaking his requisite scraggly hairdo.

Looking every bit like the people here he had spotted on the streets, he said with glee, “I made $8 coming in here.” And then offered to spend his $8 on a drink for an “older lady” in the audience who had her face in her hands, laughing.

A while later, he paused and said to roaring laughter that he needed to “go check on my shopping cart.”

Belly laughs never stopped.

The winner of “Last Comic Standing” before his appearance on “AGT” had been doing 200 shows a year for 15 years, he said. Overnight he changed into homeschool teacher, explaining that he has 50% custody of his two children. His only problem was he loves playing board games with the kids but was “definitely not the guy to be moving all the little pieces,” he said, waving that pesky arm that moved at all angles.

The evening was a huge success, folks agreed, laughing still as they walked to their vehicles in the parking lot.

It was a rousingly funny introduction to Special Kids Special Families’ annual Night of Comedy for new Executive Director Lukas Zakrzewski. SKSF founder Linda Ellegard announced her retirement earlier this fall.

2022 SAVE THE DATES

Nonprofit fundraisers, which could be adjusted as COVID-19 levels change, are in planning stages.

Feb. 11: Monte Carlo Masquerade, Colorado Springs Chorale, Hotel Elegante

March 12: St. Patrick’s Day Gala, Catholic Charities, Cheyenne Mountain Resort

March 17: Recipe for Hope, Care & Share Food Bank, Broadmoor

April 20: Goodwill Annual Dinner, Broadmoor

April 28: CPCD, giving children a head start, three sites, Phantom Canyon, Pinery at the Hill, View House

May 7: Pikes Peak United Way Centennial gala, Broadmoor

May 7: Chocoholic Frolic, Kidpower, Pinery at the Hill

May 19: Chef Showcase, Rocky Mountain Health Care PACE, Hotel Elegante

June 11: Angels of America’s Fallen, Broadmoor

Aug. 19: Ronald McDonald House Charities 35th anniversary, Boot Barn Hall.

Aug. 26: Philanthropy on the Farm, Children’s Hospital Colorado, Flying Horse Ranch.

Email planned fundraisers to linda.navarro@gazette.com with 2022 Save the Dates in subject line.

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