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Dry Humour Best Way to Beat a Flood; CBC Comics Come Together For Fundraiser

The guy on the left is Brandon Firla. You might remember him from such CBC shows as Little Mosque on the Prairie, but Monday, July 8 he'll co-host a fundraiser for another prairie community, Calgary.

Watching news of Southern Alberta floods last week, Brandon Firla says he was overwhelmed. Known for his ties to another, albeit fictional Western town -- Little Mosque on the Prairie's Mercy, Saskatchewan -- the actor grew up in Calgary. His parents are still there, along with an older brother and many friends.

"I had a tearful conversation with my mother when it was happening," he says. "Her tears, not mine. She has feelings, I'm more of a robot."

In case you're unfamiliar, Firla's a comedian. Several of his friends are, too, in addition to being fellow Calgary expats. And as they watched the flood waters devastate their hometown, they decided to do something: put on a show.

The result is The Calgary Stamp-Aid, a comedy fundraiser for the Red Cross's Alberta Flood Relief Fund. Happening Monday, July 8 at Toronto's Gladstone Hotel, the variety show will feature live stand-up from Ron James, 22 Minutes's Gavin Crawford, Q's Elvira Kurt, Mr. D's Jenn Robertson.

The full line-up, plus news on upcoming additions can be found on the event's Facebook page, and come showtime, you'll be able to livestream the entire thing -- helpful should you not actually live in Toronto, but say, someplace like Southern Alberta, where you might be in need of a laugh.

Firla and his brother Kurt will host the show, and inspired by old-timey TV telethons, they've recruited roster of TV stars to film video PSAs they'll debut between acts. Look for Gordon Pinsent, Sheila McCarthy, Colin Mochrie, Naomi Snieckus, Sean Cullen and many more.

Finding volunteers, Firla says, was easy. "It was definitely the Albertans who jumped on board immediately and then everyone else we talked to was definitely more than willing to do something."

The fact CBC all-stars dominate the line-up isn't a coincidence, either. Firla's time on Little Mosque further connected him to this comic community. "I've met probably 95 per cent of them through the CBC," he says of the line-up, "so definitely CBC was part of getting everyone together, even unintentionally."

Tickets to the event are pay what you can, though $20, to be donated to the Red Cross, is recommended. For those watching the livestream, information on how to donate online will be provided that night. In addition to the Red Cross fundraiser, a 50/50 draw and Stamp-Aid silent auction will be held to benefit a more personal cause. A friend of performer Ryan Belleville lost his Calgary home because of the floods; proceeds from the draw and auction will go directly to his rebuilding efforts.

"Having grown up there you know what the city looks like and those images of downtown underwater, and the Saddledome -- the Saddledome is where I saw Game 5 of the '89 Stanley Cup Finals with the Flames! I have so many memories bound up with that town," Firla says.

"When you have a personal connection to a place, the geography, knowing it so well, it's going to hit you a bit harder.

"People in Toronto aren't immediately affected but we want to let Alberta know that we are thinking about them and hopefully this will put some smiles on their faces."

Find more information on The Calgary Stamp-Aid Fundraiser on Facebook.

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