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Candidates' Comedy Night Comes to Improv Aug. 16

The fifth annual event will spotlight the comedic talents of candidates running for political office in November's general election to raise money for the Allegheny County Music Festival Fund.

Some national, state and local candidates running in November's general elections will be trading the campaign trail for the Pittsburgh Improv stage at The Waterfront in Homestead Borough this Thursday to present a night of comedy to benefit area children.

Celebrating its fifth anniversary, Candidates' Comedy Night spotlights the comedic talents of candidates—including seven directly representing parts of Baldwin-Whitehall—in a fundraiser to benefit the Allegheny County Music Festival Fund.

Among this year's featured performers are: Mike Doyle, an incumbent and Democratic candidate for the U.S. House of Representatives' 14th District of Pennsylvania, which includes  and ; Hans Lessmann, Doyle's Republican challenger; Lawrence Maggi, the Democratic candidate for the U.S. House's 18th District of Pennsylvania, which includes ; incumbent Republican Tim Murphy, Maggi's challenger; D. Raja, the Republican candidate for Pennsylvania's 37th Senatorial District seat, including Whitehall; Democrat Matthew H. Smith, Raja's challenger; and incumbent Democrat Jay Costa, of Pennsylvania's 43rd Senatorial District, including Baldwin Borough.

Other candidates expected to perform this year are: incumbent U.S. Senator Bob Casey, a Democrat; and state treasurer candidates Robert McCord, the Democratic incumbent, and Diana Irey Vaughan, McCord's Republican challenger.

Gene Collier, columnist for the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette and professional stand-up comedian, will emcee this hilarious adult-oriented fundraiser. Allegheny County Executive Rich Fitzgerald is a special guest.

Doors will open at 6 p.m., and the show will begin at 7:30. Tickets, available now, are for sections of eight seats at the following levels: gold, a $750 donation; or silver, a $500 donation. Sections may be reserved by calling the Allegheny County Department of Human Services event line at 412-350-3428.

The event is hosted by the county Department of Human Services in collaboration with the Allegheny County Music Festival Fund (ACMFF) Advisory Committee.

The ACMFF was established in 2000 by then-Family Court Judge Max Baer and Department of Human Services Director Marc Cherna to aid children and other youths receiving services through the Department of Human Services or the juvenile section of the Family Division of the county Court of Common Pleas. The fund creates a resource that pays for life-enriching opportunities and items that are not otherwise available through traditional government funding.

The ACMFF is completely dependent upon the generosity of Allegheny County residents, according to the county website. During its first eight years, it was replenished with proceeds from a single music concert, the Allegheny County Music Festival, hosted by Allegheny County at Hartwood Acres Park. One of a generally free series of summer outdoor concerts, that special event suggests a donation per vehicle. Proceeds from a 50-50 raffle are also added to the fund.

In 2008, an additional fundraiser was added, necessitated by the popularity of the fund among providers and children.

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