Jenna Elfman is known not just for her wide-ranging work on television and in movies, but also for her varied philanthropic causes. Most recently, the Damages actress walked in the Red Dress Collection fashion show – along with Rebecca Romijn, Hilary Duff and more – on Feb. 8 (pictured above), to support The Heart Truth organization, which promotes heart disease-awareness among women.
And tonight, she’s bringing her talents to the Improv in Los Angeles to host Laugh For Sight’s comedy show to benefit the Scheie Eye Institute at the University of Pennsylvania. Joining Elfman are comedians Bill Burr, Pablo Francisco, Kevin Nealon, Christopher Titus, Greg Fitzsimmons and Daryl Wright.
Laugh For Sight has been producing shows since 1999 in New York City, Los Angeles and Florida in an effort to raise money and public awareness for retinal degenerative eye diseases. So when they asked Elfman to help, she was happy to do so. “I thought it was cool that they’re using comedy and humor to bring awareness. It just sounds like a fun thing to do,” Elfman tells Laughspin.
And although she’ll be onstage at one of the country’s best-known comedy venues, she will not attempt to sling traditional jokes tonight. “I don’t consider myself a comedian. I’m just an actor who can do comedy. I have such a respect for stand-up comedians and I feel that it’s such a special ability that I don’t have—and I have no interest in cultivating it. When done well, stand-up is genius,” she says, adding that Louis C.K. and Eddie Izzard are two of her current favorites.
“I’ve been a big fan of Jenna’s for a long time,” says stand-up comedian Brian Fischler, Laugh For Sight’s president. “To have someone so talented and well loved as our celebrity host is a huge help bringing some much-needed exposure to our cause. Fischler, who’s legally blind, will also appear onstage tonight– along with his seeing-eye dog Nash. Fischler is hoping to bring a Laugh For Sight show to a new city in the coming year; Atlantic City, San Francisco and Chicago are all possibilities.
As for Elfman, she’ll undoubtedly be a positive catalyst for a good time tonight. But will surely continue charity work elsewhere. “If there are people who look around and want to make the world a better place, just go do something,” Elfman suggests. “You feel so much better when you find a way to help. There’s so many organizations where you can volunteer and get your hands dirty doing something great. Any amount of help you can give is better than doing nothing.”
Starting July 13, you can see Jenna on the final season of Damages on DirectTV, as well as the season finale of Shameless April 1 on Showtime.