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August 8, 2006

Strokes and jokes: Sobel hopes inaugural comedy golf scramble can go national

John Garrett: Comedians Jeff Jena, John Garrett and Seamus O’Brien will be hitting the links for “Laff Fore Life.”We’ve all seen them on TV. Celebrity golf tournaments. Seeing Alice Cooper in slacks, a polo shirt and eyeliner is one of my favorite things to watch. Why? Because it’s funny. And that’s the entire idea behind the first-ever Comedy Caravan “Laff Fore Life” Golf Scramble Friday at Glenmary Golf Club.Tom Sobel, president of TSM Artists Inc., the parent company of Comedy Caravan, has dreamed of having a “FUNd-raiser” like “Laff Fore Life” for almost a decade.“I’ve wanted to create a celebrity/amateur golf tour for some time, a national tour in cities all over the U.S.,” Sobel said. “It will combine my three biggest passions: stand-up comedy, charity and golf. But it’s hard to run a comedy club and a national golf tour at the same time.”Unlike celebrity golf tournaments you see on TV, however, “Laff Fore Life” will feature local, regional and even national comedians to ensure the golfers have a good time.“Major League Baseball and the NFL have their similar programs,” Sobel explained. “The problem is pro athletes can be competitive, and if their team is losing you won’t be having any fun. You spend the day on the golf course with a comedian, and you’re going to have a good time.”Sobel said he hopes the event will go national, having similar scrambles in 26 cities across the country by 2008. As of now, however, Sobel said he has more than 300 comedians committed to similar events in 10 to 12 additional cities.“The Louisville event is on a Friday, but we want the events to be on Mondays,” Sobel said. “We want two-dozen comedians at each event with a handful of those comedians taking over a theater and doing a comedy show the night before.”Jeff JenaOne thing that may help the event go national is the University of Louisville School of Business and its MBA for Entrepreneurial Thinking program, known as the IMBA. In fact, the IMBA Scholarship Fund is the event’s main charity.Sobel said that once the event goes national, with national media, hotel and airline sponsors, he could see the model benefiting one specific charity, although he said that hasn’t been determined yet.Seamus O'Brien“Laff Fore Life” kicks off at noon on Friday at the Glenmary Golf Club. At press time, Sobel projected 24 to 36 teams and 16 comedians. It’ll cost $125 per person or $375 for a team, which includes green fees, cart, lunch, refreshments and some “unusual extras.” Not much of a golfer? Pay $20 and mingle with comedians and golfers at the scramble reception afterward at Glenmary.There’s an official “Laff Fore Life” kickoff tomorrow night at Comedy Caravan. Comedians Al Aprill, Jeff Jena, Robert York, John Garrett, Brad Lanning and Seamus O’Brien of “The Tonight Show,” all of whom will be hitting the links on Friday, will entertain the public for $20 a seat. The proceeds will also go toward the IMBA Scholarship Fund.These guys may not be the celebrities you see in movies or playing sports, but if Sobel is right, and we’re pretty sure he is, they’ll be a lot funnier and your money will be well spent. Contact the writer at leo@leoweekly.com