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Surviving The Storm

South Florida east coast comics organize comedy night in Boca Raton benefiting comics impacted by Hurricane Ian.

by Chuck king
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BOCA RATON – For Fort Myers-based Jamie Morgan, Thursday night blended comedy and therapy.

At times Sheena Reagan’s eyes turned misty.

David Sadman and Nadeem Awad simply wanted to help their west coast brethren.

To do so, Sadman and Awad converted their twice-monthly comedy show at Boca Raton’s Biergarten into a benefit show that raised in the neighborhood of $1,500 for fellow stand-up comics impacted by Hurricane Ian.

“The idea is that some of our friends who live in Fort Myers were obviously affected by a catastrophic hurricane – Hurricane Ian – just last month and we were thinking of some way that we could help,” Sadman said. “The natural idea was to highlight them and have them perform in a show.”

Morgan spent several days following Ian’s departure attempting to locate all his pets – a venture that ultimately proved successful. Very little else from the condo he and his girlfriend were renting survived.

“We were very lucky compared to a lot of people,” said Morgan, a national touring comic.

Morgan, his girlfriend, her young son and his dogs weathered the storm at his father’s house. The cats, however, couldn’t make the trip.

Once the storm passed Morgan returned to a no-longer livable house and, initially, only some of the cats. Morgan used part of his 20-minute set to talk about the massive storm surge that converted the canal behind his house into a far-from-lazy river rushing through his living room.

“Pretty much everything was ruined, but we did save the TVs,” said Morgan, a former owner of the Laugh In Comedy Cafe.

Not far away comic Sheena Reagan’s 69-year-old father survived the storm by taking refuge in his car within the garage after winds began peeling off the roof of his house – only to have the roof of the garage collapse on the car.

Reagan’s father spent the night trapped in the car, but emerged unharmed.

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Compared to what some of her neighbors are experiencing, Reagan considers herself fortunate. Her Cape Coral home incurred only minor damage, mostly to screens and awnings, as Category 4 winds battered the southwest Florida town.

“This is amazing. I’ve been trying not to cry. I feel like the east coast totally gets it,” Reagan said of the benefit show following her 20-minute set. “It’s extremely touching, especially for Jamie and Jess. They lost everything in their house.”

Morgan’s 20-minute set marked his first return to the stage since the storm.

“You can tell they are true friends and really want to help the people on the west coast that are tied into comedy,” Morgan said of Sadman and Awad. “That’s what they did. This is going to be a great thing that helps people get a little bit closer to being back to normal.”

Thursday’s Biergarten performance was the second time Regan’s performed since Ian devastated the Fort Myers area on Sept. 28. She had been scheduled to be part of the Sept. 29 show at the Biergarten but realized as she took cover from the storm she needed to cancel that appearance.

The unadvertised addition of national touring comic Jimmy Shubert to the line-up gave Thursday’s show three co-headliners. Shubert’s addition proved especially meaningful for Reagan.

Prior to launching her comedy career, Reagan caught a Shubert show at a west coast club and afterward chatted with Shubert about launching a comedy career of her own.

“He told me, ‘Come to the late show and we’ll talk some shop,’” said Reagan, who a few years later would perform on the same bill as Shubert.

Sadman opened and hosted the show, followed by another surprise guest, Steve Lamm. Awad then set up the three headliners.

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