This Friday, Blue Pencil Comedy will couple up with local band the Dirty Thumbs to deliver a night of live music and laughs for a good cause in the back room of Donkey Coffee and Espresso.

The show is part of Donkey Coffee's quarterly month-long benefit series, started by Donkey's booking manager Troy Gregorino.

The idea initially materialized, he explained, as a means to work with a Rural Action campaign aimed at providing fresh produce to area food pantries from local farmers.

But with an inspiring response from both artists and community members, Gregorino said he decided "to explore ways to expand on the idea in hopes of contributing to other local non-profit groups as well," which led to development of this special programming.

"It's been really exciting to see how artists and audiences can merge to raise both awareness and funds for such important work," he said. "And I think Donkey, with its reputation for fostering a sense of social consciousness, is a perfect fit."

With an admission price of $3 for Friday's show (and for the remainder of July shows held at Donkey), the proceeds collected from July's ticket sales will benefit the Friends of the Shelter Dogs.

The organization is composed of Athens County "citizens dedicated to the welfare and rescue of dogs from the Athens County Dog Shelter," according to its website. They also "contribute to the medical welfare of dogs remaining in the shelter by donating vaccines or paying for veterinary expenses when the need arises" (when they have the capability to do so).

"It's not every day that we can be a little ridiculous and, I hope entertained, while helping dogs at the same time," Gregorino said.

Friday's show is slated to start at 8 p.m. with the Dirty Thumbs starting the night's festivities playing "off-kilter, quirky folkish stuff," Gregorino said. Following the band's set, 10 standup performers from Blue Pencil Comedy will take the stage for the remainder of the evening.

Ohio University senior Katie Ross, who has been involved with the comedy troupe since November of her freshman year, is one of the performers who will doing comedy Friday evening.

"Attendees can expect the unexpected," at this comedy-for-a-cause soiree, she said. "We really want to make people laugh. You don't understand; it's an affliction. We suffer dearly in the summertime. We can only tell jokes at family get-togethers such as barbecues and weddings, and that's not usually our intended audience."

OU junior Rachel Lewis, who also will perform standup comedy Friday, added, "It's always wonderful to get on stage, but for events that benefit a cause, the privilege to perform is so much greater. It feels really good to help benefit a cause while doing the thing that you love. Especially with the Friends of the Shelter Dogs, we all have experience with wonderful pets and animals."

For more information about the Friends of the Shelter Dogs, contribute a donation, volunteer, or adopt a pet, go to www.athensfosd.com/. For a list of upcoming events at Donkey Coffee check out the calendar of events at www.donkeycoffee.com/, and to keep up to date on Blue Pencil Comedy's events, go to its Facebook page, www.facebook.com/BluePencilComedy

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