On Friday, April 15, the Palmetto Bay community experienced the very first outdoor comedy festival, right in their backyards at Ludovici Park. The festival was hosted by Comic Cure, an organization built on promoting comedy in Miami by showcasing local talent and raising funds for local charities. For this particular show, a portion of every ticket sale benefited the Everglades Foundation. Brothers Benjamin and Richy Leis created Comic Cure in September 2015 and have since hosted comedy shows all throughout South Florida benefiting a wide variety of charities including The Latin American Comedy Festival at the Flamingo Theater in Brickell benefiting Amigos for Children, and The Brickell Comedy Festival benefiting Habitat for Humanity of Greater Miami.

The Public Relations Experience Program (PREP) has partnered with Comic Cure in the past to assist with a variety of tasks. Running social media platforms such as Twitter and Instagram, checking in comedians and audience members, counting audience members’ ballots, and taking photos throughout the show are just a few of the skills PREP students get to master. University of Miami students play a key role behind the scenes to ensure that the event runs smoothly.

“This is a really unique opportunity to have an amphitheater in this setting to be able to display the incredibly diverse comedic talent that we have in Miami, on a beautiful backdrop such as this,” co-creator and co-founder of Comic Cure Benjamin Leis commented. “It’s perfectly fitting to kick off the celebration of Earth Week with the event benefiting the Everglades Foundation. The incredibly lush surroundings that we have here in Palmetto Bay is exactly what we’re trying to protect for future generations to come.”

“We are very excited to partner with Comic Cure and the University of Miami’s Public Relations Experience Program (PREP) to host the very first outdoor comedy festival, right here in Ludovici Park,” Fanny Carmona, Parks and Recreation Director of Palmetto Bay, stated. “We sincerely hope that this will be a lasting partnership and that we will be able to host more events like this in the future. Supporting local comedians, as well as the Everglades Foundation, is a great way to bring the whole community together, have a few laughs, and celebrate a great cause.”

Yet, as this was an outdoor event in South Florida, the unreliable weather created a few unforeseen challenges. To keep the audience members and comedians as dry as possible, seats were set up on stage which ultimately created a much more intimate setting for the show and created an environment for contagious laughter. However, the tents didn’t provide as much protection as hoped.

Headliner Kira Soltanovich described her experience as follows, “While I was on stage, I was running through my mind all the biology and chemistry class that I’ve taken and thinking to myself ‘do I take my shoes off and get electrocuted or keep them on and be safe? Basically, am I going to die, with my hands on the microphone and the lightning flashing right above me?”

PREP students worked hard to meet the needs of audience members, Parks and Recreation staff, and Comic Cure to ensure an enjoyable time was had by all. The students thoroughly enjoy the partnership we have with Comic Cure and look forward to other events that are yet to come.