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Comedian DeKoven, others to take the Firehouse stage for cancer tonight

'Proud to giving people a fun night of laughs for their donations,' DeKoven says

"Stand Up Against Cancer!" begins at 8 p.m. tonight at the Firehouse Arts Center, hosted by local comedian John DeKoven.

Joining him on stage will be headliner Jeff Applebaum, who has appeared on "The Late, Late Show" on CBS.

The lineup includes Sandra Risser, who was a finalist in the World Series of Comedy; Patrick McDermott, a comedian with San Jose Improv; and Larry "Bubbles" Brown, who twice appeared on David Letterman.

DeKoven, a comedian who earns his living as a digital handyman, is a member of Pleasanton Chamber of Commerce and on its Ambassadors team for the American Cancer Society's Relay for Life.

"When this relay started back in 2005, I was one of the first committee members. But this year, I recommitted myself to doing it," DeKoven said.

Teams in the Relay for Life spend the entire year doing fundraisers, he noted, and DeKoven just decided a few months ago to produce the comedy benefit. He was thrilled to be able to book the Firehouse Arts Center, a first for one of his shows. He has been running his Bunjo's Comedy Club at a venue in Dublin.

"It is nice to have this show in Pleasanton and in a nice theater," DeKoven said. "The thing that was great was I was able to get a Saturday night."

Usually fundraisers have to be held on weeknights, but now people have no excuse not to attend, he said, and $25 is a reasonable price for a night of comedy.

"It's a fun night out. With the lineup I've got, you would have to go to San Francisco or San Jose and pay more and deal with parking and bridge tolls," DeKoven said. "And here, 100% of the profits go to Relay for Life."

The Cellar Door will be selling wine and beer in the lobby, and drinks may be taken into the theater.

DeKoven will take the stage first.

"I'd do 15 minutes up front, warm up the crowd," he said. "It will be a great night of entertainment, everybody loves to laugh, and they are supporting the local community."

He is proud to be giving people a fun night of laughs for their donation rather than just asking for money.

"To me, it's like you're helping raise money for a great cause but you are getting great value for your money," he said.

Pleasanton's Relay for Life takes place from 9 a.m. July 23 to 9 a.m. July 24 at Pleasanton Middle School. During this time, the aim is for each team to keep a member walking around the track.

"It's a fun event," DeKoven said. "We have live music, different activities. There are speakers, and a survivors' lap."

"There are sad moments, remembering those who have passed," he added. His father and grandfather both died of cancer.

DeKoven is already looking forward to the 2017 Relay for Life.

"Next year I will have more time and will probably do more than this one thing," he said.

But first, he hopes to fill the Firehouse theater, which holds 220. Tickets are $25, appropriate for age 16 and older. Call 931-4848 or go to www.standupagainstcancer.org; use promo code 102 to support Team Pleasanton Chamber Ambassadors.

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