Laughter is the Cure uses comedy to help cancer patients
Former MSU student Sam Silverstein rolled on roller skates into a room packed with hundreds of people on March 29. The roller skates just being part of Silverstein's routine. Silverstein came back to the college he once attended to perform a comedy show with his comedy partner Nick Tenaglia.
Silverstein and Tenaglia have dedicated the past two and a half years to pursuing their passion for comedy, but with one unique component: the two have raised more than $25,000 for childhood cancer.
Silverstein said his routine, Laughter is the Cure, is unlike any other comedy show because it is 1/3 movie, 1/3 play and 1/3 stand-up comedy that follows one complete storyline.
“Quite simply, it is just a way to do what we love by putting on these comedy shows while helping people less fortunate than us and getting other people involved who want to help those less fortunate as well,” Silverstein said.
All of the proceeds go to raising money for childhood cancer at C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital in Ann Arbor. The two raised more than $4,000 during the show at MSU.
“It is just crazy that within the blink of an eye we are sitting here, we have done 11 shows and we have raised $25,000,” Silverstein said. “It is just so cool how it happened so fast.”
Laughter is the Cure wasn’t always as simple for Silverstein. He dropped out of MSU in 2016 to pursue comedy. With the support from his parents who sat in the crowd among MSU students during the show, Silverstein said dropping out was the right decision for him.
“School has just never really been my thing for many reasons,” Silverstein said. “As Laughter is the Cure grew, I just kind of saw it like, ‘I am sitting in class and I am doing nothing but working on Laughter is the Cure and I am not even listening to the professor and just barely getting by to the point that it was a waste of my time and money.’”
Silverstein and Tenaglia met during high school. The two started making videos together and are currently gearing up to perform shows in Michigan and Ohio.
“I want someone to see us and be like, ‘You know what? They are following their dreams, they are doing what they want to do with their one life. I want to follow my dream,’” Silverstein said. “Creating that mentality of helping those less fortunate than yourself and also doing what you love to do and not letting anything sort of come between that.”
Tenaglia said the two would eventually like to play bigger venues, but for now they are focused on raising money for cancer at each show.
“The more people that are there, the odds increase that one person will think a joke you said is funny,” Tenaglia said.
Two years ago, Tenaglia said he would never tell people he was a comedian. Fast forward to today and Tenaglia said he takes pride in telling people he does comedy.
“We are just two kids who live at home with their parents who dropped out of college, and now we don’t have to feel as bad about that,” Tenaglia said. “It’s like, ‘I live in my parents basement, but it’s OK because I also do charity.’”
Tenaglia encouraged people to come to future Laughter is the Cure shows.
“We are not trying to find the cure for cancer because there is millions of dollars going into that,” Tenaglia said. “A couple hundred bucks can pay for a pizza party for all these kids and their families, that can make 10 minutes of their day a little cooler.”
C.S. Mott fundraising team member Jason Keech said his job is to help support people like Silverstein and Tenaglia.
“I think he knew what he wanted to accomplish, and it was just fun to be along for the ride too, quite frankly,” Keech said. “I am so fortunate to do what I do. ... People are just so open-hearted and so willing to give.”