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Funny Fund Raising

Project blossoms into comedy for cancer research.

Hannah Tishler and Alex Marston get extra credit for this one. What began as a creative project for their senior-year curriculum has grown into a stand-up comedy event at their school that will benefit the American Cancer Society and Wootton’s arts department.

Tishler and Marston are both part of Wootton’s Humanities and Arts Signature Program, which requires each participating student to complete an independent project. Students often perform an act or compose a musical piece for the project. “We decided to team up and do a bigger concept,” said Marston.

Both students have had friends and family who were affected by cancer, and at the beginning of the year, they decided to organize a fundraiser for cancer research.

Originally, Tishler and Marston, who have known each other since middle school and have many similar musical tastes, looked into the possibility of holding a concert in Wootton’s football stadium. In particular, they thought of replicating a stadium show that Of A Revolution (OAR), a popular rock band with Wootton roots, played several years ago.

“[Instead] we decided that it might be easier … to do a stand-up comedian,” Marston said, and he looked into Mike Birbiglia, a comedian he’d seen on “Late Show with David Letterman.”

“He just has a really fresh approach to it, kind of different from a lot of comedians out there,” Marston said. Plus Birbiglia’s at just the right stage in his career, a legitimate, up-and-coming comic, but attainable for a benefit event like this one.

Dealing with an agent is an education in itself — four months after talks began, all parties signed the contract last week.

Now Marston and Tishler can look forward to the event — Birbiglia’s humor isn’t dependent on inappropriate jokes, said Marston.

“It was just a way for us to do something, even something small, for the cause,” Marston said. “Nothing like this has ever been done at Wootton before.”