The Story Behind the 26 Hour Snow Day Marathon at Go Comedy!

The Story Behind the 26 Hour Snow Day Marathon at Go Comedy!

(Mark H. Stowers, Jan. 10, 2020)

Ferndale, MI –  Snow days can be unpredictable, much like improv comedy! But in combining the two, the creators of Snow Day – a 26 hour marathon at Go Comedy! Improv Theater – captures the spirit of good humor, and warm and fuzzy feeling of fundraising.

The long form improv event  proceeds benefits Gilda’s Club and two local scholarships – the Diana George Jacokes’ Scholarship at Mercy High School and Tim Hayden Scholarship. There will be a Silent Auction and a 50/50 Raffle as well.

Pete Jacokes and Bob Wieck have been organizing the fundraiser for twelve years, coordinating dozens of volunteers to pull the marathon off. Pete is a stage manager, teacher and performer at Go Comedy, and brother of the owner PJ Jacokes.  He explained how the event has grown each year from its meager beginnings.

Snow Day started with a short four troupe lineup at Planet Ant that was thrown together in a rush for the benefit of one guest – who didn’t even make it.

“A friend of Bob’s was coming in from out of town and Bob contacted me to see if we could put on another show so his friend could perform.  We put it on at the Planet Ant and got four different Improv groups to perform and Bob’s friend never showed,” Pete said, laughing. “We did the show anyway and it ended up being so much fun we did it again and again and again.”  The fun tradition also helped them cope when times were hard.

“We started losing friends and family to cancer, and started donating all the proceeds to cancer [organizations],” Pete said.

The event quickly outgrew the venue and moved to Go Comedy. In time it became a tribute to a dear friend and fellow comedian Tim Hayden.

“On the five-year anniversary of Tim’s passing, his sister reached out to me and asked if we could do something big,” Pete said. “In honor of him we took what we had been doing with Snow Day and morphed it into this 26-hour event.”

Hayden was a drama teacher at Waterford Kettering High School, and the fund provides a small scholarship to help a Kettering student planning to study drama in college.

This year’s event will have more than 100 performers with three troupes performing each hour.

“Some people end up being on other troupes and new troupes that have been built at the last minute,” PJ said. “There’s always entertainment on stage whether it be 4:30 in the morning or 4:30 in the afternoon.”

The final show of Snow Day is “anyone who stayed awake the whole 26 hours.”

“I’ve done it before and it’s fun to do but more fun to watch,” PJ said.

Tickets can be bought online at GoComedy.com. There is a festival pass for the entire festival or two-hour block tickets can be purchased. The event begins on Saturday January 18th at 8 p.m. with All Star Showdown. Then the next layer of fun begins with some information gathering from the audience for a grand finale sketch.

“We have a group of writers who then lock themselves in a room and write a sketch show that we put up with full tech and everything at the end of the night Sunday,” PJ said. “That’s always weird, but I mean that in a good way.”

There will also be two podcasts during the event. There will be some family friendly portions during Sunday with some high school age performers. There’s no need for snow for this Snow Day but bring your funny bone.

Go Comedy! is located at 261 E. 9 Mile Road in Downtown Ferndale.  Check them out online at www.GoComedy.com.

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