Dinner With A Side Of Comedy


The fourth annual Dining with Celebrities benefit for the Mogollon Health Alliance will be held at 6:30 p.m. Jan. 22 at Fargo's Steak House.

Diners will be waited on hand and foot by prominent community members dressed as their favorite Saturday Night Live cast members, said Judy Baker, executive director of the alliance.

"I wanted to do something that was kind of noninvasive and something that hadn't been done over and over," said Baker, who planned the event. "This is just something that is a little different and something that is a little fun that I thought the rest of the community would enjoy."

This year, ticket prices have been increased to $150 per seat and unlike previous years, there will only be one seating for dinner.

Baker said in previous years people didn't want to leave, so rather than attempt to push them out the door, she decided to extend the event time and offer only one round.

The changes haven't hurt ticket sales, she said, with only eight of the original 88 yet to be claimed; she expects them to go quickly.

The money raised goes to the Mogollon Health Alliance, which Baker said will fund the nursing program at Gila Community College.

"It's a fund-raising effort for the community," she said.

In addition to serving food and drinks, the celebrity servers will provide on-call entertainment, Baker said.

"We serve all of the food," she said. "They are expected to entertain the guests, so if the guests have any special requests they can ask their server."

Dessert also will come served with a side of comedy, Baker said, when she, dressed as Tina Fey, will be delivering a weekend update roast-style for the guests.

"They can be expect to be roasted a little bit, but it's all done in fun," she said.

The Saturday Night Live theme came to Baker after she noticed an uncanny resemblance between Fargo's Steakhouse owner Rick Stockman, and Chris Farley. Baker said the resemblance won't be wasted and guests may get to see Stockman performing the memorable Chippendale's dance.

"I've been told for a long time that my mannerisms are somewhat like Chris Farley's," Stockman said. "It was just perfect for me to put out my talent.

"I just think it's a great program, especially now with the lack of people going into the nursing field, so anything to promote that."

While Stockman was eager to volunteer for the event, Baker said others needed some convincing.

"It takes a little arm twisting, but honestly each year we have such a good time and it's a chance to dress up and just be silly," Baker said.

A little bribery never hurts either; as in years past, Baker said, the server who brings in the most tips will get a gift from Payson Jewelers.

Guests can also expect performances by classics such as the Church Lady, Mary Catherine Gallagher, the Cone Heads and Rosanne Rosanna Danna among others.

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