By: Mark Fitzgerald
Lots of newspapers host candidate debates, but only Philadelphia Daily News columnist Stu Bykofsky assembles political nominees ? and gets them to do stand-up at a comedy club.
For the 17th straight year, Bykofsky this August hosted what might be titled “Last Candidate Standing.” Hopefuls for offices ranging from governor to city councilman get laughs or groans while raising money ? more than $300,000 at this year’s event ? for Variety, a local children’s charity.
“Candidates’ Comedy Night” began in 1991, shortly after Bykofsky briefly threw his own hat in the ring for mayor. At the time his column covered comedy, so he challenged former Mayor Frank Rizzo and eventual winner Ed Rendell (now the state’s governor) to a stand-up contest judged by three local comics at the Laugh Factory Outlet. Bykofsky won: “I think it was because I was the funniest ? but I also think the judges knew I had a column they would like to appear in, in the future.” There’s no contest anymore, but Bykofsky says the best comic was James Kenny, an Irish-American councilman for South Philly with a talent for the off-color.
Let’s just say his joke involved a turkey and a parrot.