The Power of Giving is No Joke

The Power of Giving is No Joke
by Judy Carter Visit our blog Like us on Facebook Follow us on Twitter
Adam Sandler
Pictured from left to right: Judy Carter, Adam Sandler, & Shante Lewis

Last Wednesday night was a lifetime dream come true. I was onstage in a magnificent ballroom. Adam Sandler, Sacha Baron Cohen, Kathy Griffin, Rob Moore, Brad Grey, JJ Abrams, Patton Oswalt and Daryl Hannah were in the audience. And they were all laughing. It was a benefit for a mentoring organization that has become a big part of my life – The Fulfillment Fund. Shante Lewis, the young woman I mentored, and I were asked to speak before they hit up the really rich people there to donate the really big bucks right there on the spot.

Red Carpet
Shante Lewis & Judy Carter being photographed walking down the red carpet prior to events.

They wanted us to tell the story of our relationship and the impact it had on Shante’s journey from south-central LA to a Master’s degree at John Hopkins University and a job as a therapist.
Shante and I spent hours writing and rehearsing a dialogue that condensed 14 years into 10 minutes. The night of the event we ended up sitting next to Kathy Griffin, who gave Shante some last-minute (and much-appreciated) advice.

Kathy Griffin
Judy Carter, Kathy Griffin, & Shante Lewis before dinner.

We took to the stage and it was all I could have hoped for, and more. We got laughs AND tears. The Fulfillment Fund got a lot of scholarship money. And afterwards, Sacha Baron Cohen stopped us to talk and Adam Sandler jumped out of his car to hug us. For real. There were witnesses. There is a big lesson here. During my long career as a standup comic I had always hoped for the chance to perform in front of Hollywood’s elite. And now I had finally gotten the opportunity to do just that, not because of what I do for a living, but because of what I did as a person — my volunteer work. I was appreciated not just for my jokes or performance, but for the difference I made in another person’s life. Wow.

As performers we spend most of our lives trying to get — laughs, applause, the next gig. There is tremendous power in reversing that flow of energy and giving to another person or a cause without expecting or wanting anything in return. Sometimes it even makes dreams come true.

For more pictures and links to articles written about The Fulfillment Fund event, check out my blog here.


Author of The Comedy Bible and the upcoming
The Message of You: Turn Your Life Story into a Money-Making

Speaking Career (St. Martin’s Press), coming February 2013.


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