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Last Thursday night, the Encore Theater in Houston’s Museum District played host to the 2013 “Laugh 4 A Cure” (#L4AC) comedy show benefit. Tucked inside a small corner a few streets up from the landmark Ensemble Theatre and across from the Houston Center for Contemporary Art on Main Street, the Encore Theater found its humble space packed nearly to the brim with nearly 50 people for the event.

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Though the event – now in its third year and a byproduct of the Simply Born Initiative, a joint venture merging the marketing genius of Monica Jones and Cecilia M. Smith – is a comedy showcase that raises money annually for research related to life-threatening diseases (this year for Sickle Cell Disease research), #L4AC 2013 ended up being more than that. It not only brought out the philanthropic spirit of many of the city’s young professionals, but served as a hub and display of Houston’s local talent as well.

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Encore’s main stage was already set up for “Incarceration,” its upcoming play performance that begins running this weekend; and while its setup, with a large looming jail cell and circa-1990s handset telephone and sheriff stars adorning the walls, would have been distracting otherwise, it was a perfect backdrop for #L4AC. Many of the comedians on hand that night even made use of the stage’s props at times throughout the show.

Elmo Parker reprised his role from last year’s #L4AC as host, keeping things moving between the acts and striking the occasional pose and punchline for the iPhones in the audience. DJ Debonair provided sounds throughout the evening, keeping hip-hop hits in the rotation as transition and intermission music. And even D-Nice, “locked up” behind the bars the entire time, paid homage to the hometown crowd, as at one point during the night, Doughbeezy’s “Head” track boomed through his speakers, the audience showing clear approval by moving to the beat and rapping along to it.

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Doughbeezy, in fact, was one of many of Houston’s music scene to show up in support of Simply Born and #L4AC. Amongst the numbers could be found The Numbers – as in The Numbers Committee, represented by artists on the rise OneHunnidt and Jodii B. Basik – and R&B songbird Love Dominique, as well as Yung Truth, who set aside the mic to provide barbeque burgers and hot dogs during the show’s intermission. A musical performance was done just before intermission by the duo of Tawn P and Preemo aka All Day. Sentiments along the lines of “Damn, Tawn P can hold her own against any MC, male or otherwise!” could be heard throughout the crowd. Ah, newbies, glad you learned.

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Local press also stopped by, including KHOU-11, the definition of a Hustler internet personality and industry head Queen Bobbi, and Drank Epidemic, who covered the event and took additional pictures as well.

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There was no shortage of laughter or memorable lines. Kris Atkins kicked the night off, jokingly admonishing those in the crowd for not having crackhead friends and sharing hilarious stories about his friends. Shabazz called out Black peoples’ tendency to bump Rich Homie Quan’s “Type of Way” knowing few if any of the words at all, yet always claiming that’s “their jam!” Dopenizzy refused to come out without proper theme music, then proceeded to dance for the people before starting off his routine. Local stand-up star and special guest “Blame” the Comic’s side-eyes to the crowd were as funny as his jokes themselves, and at one point, he proceeded to literally rest in one of the faux bunk beds in the jail cell while performing. Nate Mingo changed forever how many in the crowd will look at “jacking off,” especially when it comes to sandwiches, while also bringing the real about how relationships have changed these days. And last but certainly not least, headliner Mickey the Comedian shouted out his job at Kroger (“there’s no ‘S,’ it’s Kroger!” he insisted, relating his ex’s penchant to mispronounce the store name… before going on to jokingly call it “Krogers” throughout his set) and kept the crowd rolling with references to modern rappers. The event concluded with a raffle, and one lucky audience member won some event-themed artwork.

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All in all, #L4AC III was another home run for the Simply Born Initiative, and it likely brought the added bonus of more attention to the Encore Theater as well. Check out the slideshow below for more photos from Laugh 4 A Cur3.

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