Wounded Warrior Event to Feature Music, Comedy

Support the military on Friday at Consol Energy Park in Washington. Enjoy 'clean comedy' from 'Home Improvement's' Jim Labriola, who told Patch he has a passion for the charity.

A benefit concert for the Wounded Warrior Project will be held Friday at Consol Energy Park in Washington, PA.

Four musical acts will perform—The Steve Smith Band, Abby Abbondanza, Sarah Marince and "Have You Forgotten?" singer Darryl Worley.

But, that’s not all.

Comedian Jim Labriola will entertain the crowd.

Todd Marley of Watch Dog Radio and local resident Rose Tennent of The War Room with Quinn and Rose will emcee the event. Also, local Wounded Warrior Brian Beckwith will share his story.

The mission of the Wounded Warrior Project is to honor and empower wounded warriors, according to its website. Its purpose is to raise awareness and enlist the public's aid for the needs of injured service members, as well as to help those injured and to provide unique, direct programs and services.

Labriola, who got his start with acting as the donut-loving delivery man, "Benny Baroni," on ABC's sitcom Home Improvement, told Patch he's thrilled to do something to support the soldiers and their families.

“I believe it’s a great charity,” he said. Labriola, who’s been traveling with the Tea Party Express, took the time to chat with us about his new projects and why he's eased into his newfound persona with “clean comedy.”

Patch: What is your Pittsburgh connection? How did you get involved with the Wounded Warrior Project event?

JL: Rose is my connection. I met her through the Tea Party Express. We think a lot alike. She told me about the event and it’s something I have a passion for. I said, ‘I’m in.’ I’ve always loved Pittsburgh. I did comedy in the clubs years ago. It’s a great sports town.

Patch: Why did you take your comedy to local churches and charities? What was your main inspiration? 

JL: I had a big change 12-13 years ago. I read the Bible. I had a good relationship with my pastor and after I got saved, one scripture jumped out at me. It knocked me for a loop. I changed my act. I started doing comedy in places that I was never able to—churches, family events.

Patch: How have you intertwined your comedy and traveling with the Tea Party Express? What has that experience been like? 

JL: The Tea Party has crowds from one extreme to the other. There are a lot of different people. I think it's a gift that I'm able to connect with all kinds of people. I went to Iraq for eight days in 2004. It was such an experience. (The soldiers) can't thank you enough. I never know where I'm going. I'm just so honored. 

Patch: The Wounded Warrior Project concert seems like a perfect venue for all the things you stand for—what do you enjoy most about doing shows such as this? 

JL: To me, it’s an honor. You gotta give back. These guys and girls suffer. Without them, I wouldn’t be a comedian, I wouldn’t be an American. It all goes back to veterans. I'm always excited to come back to the Pittsburgh area. To me, that was like a vacation. To get away. To go back where good crowds (gathered) for me.

Patch: Tell me a little bit about "Heart Improvement," and your inspiration for the record. 

JL: There is a lot of new material, a lot of ad-libs. It's a lot of fun. You hear the laughter. I have to give my manager credit for the name, "Heart Improvement." We recorded the CD at a church (venue) in Florida.

If you’re going:

When: Friday, May 18. Doors open at 5 p.m. Concert begins at 5:30 p.m.

Where: Consol Energy Park in Washington, PA

Cost: Tickets are $16.95-$24.95. They are available at ticketmaster.com (search for Darryl Worley or click the link), or by calling 1-800-745-3000.

This story originally appeared on Peters Patch.


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