Local comic earns chuckles, aid for Aurora, Colo., families
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Local comedienne and former member of the National Guard Amy Capiross took an oath to protect and serve.
Now, she's able to use laughter to help people in need across the nation.
Having rallied a group of Pittsburgh's talented young comics, Ms. Capiross organized a Sept. 1 show, "Rockin' Out For A Laugh," at Greensburg's Palace Theatre to provide aid for families affected by last month's shooting in Aurora, Colo.
Twelve people were killed and 58 wounded at an opening for the "The Dark Knight Rises" in the Denver suburb.
Ms. Capiross, of New Kensington, began organizing the show the morning after the tragedy occurred.
"I was fired up. Since it was filmed partially in Pittsburgh, I wanted to represent Pittsburgh [aid]," Ms. Capiross, 31, said.
She reached out to her followers on Twitter and received several responses -- including one from the New York City-based band, Face The King, who will appear at the show. Local band Shooting Ghost will also play.
Scheduled to lend their wit are comics Nick Froehlich, Chris Kemp, Paris Knight, Derek Minto, J.Russ and magician Lee Terbosic.
The proceeds from "Rockin' Out For A Laugh" will be donated to a fund to aid the families and victims, said Karla Maraccini, deputy director of community partnerships for Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper's office.
"This fund will only be used to meet this immediate and long-term needs of victim and their families," she said.
Though she had no connection to Aurora or those involved, Ms. Capiross said she was still outraged at how the civilian shooter gained access to a gas canister and a gas mask.
"I was in the military and I know our gas masks were carefully kept track of," she said. Ms. Capiross was in the U.S. National Guard from 2001-09 and served as a machine gunner military police officer.
A fitness instructor at the YMCA in New Kensington by day, Ms. Capiross has been doing stand-up since last March when she was asked to co-host The X Morning Show on radio station WXDX.
As luck would have it, nationally recognized comic Tommy Davidson, of "In Living Color" fame, was also in the studio.
"When leaving the radio station, Tommy Davidson asked me to open for him at the Pittsburgh Improv that same night. I did and was invited back to work with him all weekend," she said.
After that, Ms. Capiross said her career took off.
"People told me I'm good at it," she said, conceding that comedy comes to her naturally. "I talk a lot about real situations like dating and being in a relationship and things that everyone can relate to regardless of their age or race."
Through her comedy, she is driven to help those in need.
With the support of comedian friends, Ms. Capiross organized a show that raised $5,000 for Matt Taylor, a 24-year-old from New Kensington who is paralyzed from a swimming injury. She raised enough money to help send him to Project Walk, a spinal cord rehabilitation center near Orlando, Fla.
In February, she spearheaded an event that raised money for the family of Kristen Rusiewicz Dunn, a young mother of six from Lower Burrell who died earlier this year after a battle with cancer.
On Sept. 15, she will hold a benefit at the West Leechburg Fire Hall for Jerry Snyder, owner of Bonfire Restaurant in Leechburg, who has brain and lung cancer.
"While in the military, I took an oath to protect and serve. I'm not in the military anymore, so I can [serve] through my comedy. This is where I'm meant to be," she said.
You can hear the comedy of Ms. Capiross on The X Morning Show on 105.9 FM.
Tickets for "Rockin' Out For A Laugh" are available at www.ThePalaceTheatre.org and will be sold at the door, subject to availability. The cost is $15. Opera box tickets are available for $30 and are sold in person or by calling 724-836-8000.
First Published August 16, 2012 4:56 am