WHITMAN — For Whitman native Mark Chauppetta the fight against Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy is a personal one — his twin 22-year-old sons, Troy and Andrew, have Duchenne.
But he also sees the need for humor in the world.
“I’ve always liked to entertain people to raise money,” Chauppetta said. “I just hate asking for handouts [when] there are so many worthy causes out there and so many people need help.”
This year, his second annual “Komedy for a Kause” show at Plymouth Memorial Hall will mark his first solo production. Chauppetta has received 501 (C) (3) status for his own fundraising orgnization, The Wheelchair Strong Foundation, of which he is executive director. That title stems from a T-shirt design made by his sons’ online company, twinteeshirts.com.
Proceeds for the Friday, Sept. 29 Komedy for a Kause 2 show will support Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy, providing grants to families and to fund adaptive sports, although his mission is to raise awareness and money through entertaining. General admission tickets are $45 or $75 for VIP tickets, which include dinner and a meet-and-greet.
He urges people not to wait until the last minute to purchase tickets.
“This event is going to get as big as ‘Comics Come Home,’” he said. “Our lineup this year is crazy.”
A Denis Leary fundraising show in Boston, Comics Come Home benefits the Cam Neely Foundation for Cancer Care.
The Komedy for a Kause 2 bill of performers is designed to bring in a wide range of age groups and includes Jimmy Walker — JJ from the 1970s Norman Lear sitcom, “Good Times” — as well as Lenny Clarke, Rocky LaPorte — who has appeared on the reality show “Last Comic Standing” — and Dan Miller, Johnny Pizzi, Christine Hurley and Jerry Thornton, all three of whom appeared at last year’s show. Hurley is the headliner and Thornton is hosting the event.
“She is becoming, bar none, the best female comic in the industry right now,” he has said of Hurley, who is a sweet-natured mother of five off stage. “All Christine Hurley does is [dump] on her husband Jimmy Hurley. She’s so funny and a little blue.”
“Lenny Clarke is one of the nicest, most charitable guys you will ever meet,” Chauppetta said.
Thornton is a “local guy turned sports radio personality” at WEEI and a former Hingham court officer, Chauppetta said last year.
Kicking off the show is “American Idol” contestant William Hung, whose infamously bad version of Ricky Martin’s “She Bangs” made him a household name.
“He had 15 minutes of fame and made millions off of that one TV appearance on ‘American Idol,” said Chauppetta. Now an engineer for the city of Los Angeles, Hung paid for his college degree with the money he made from that TV audition.
Chauppetta has also asked his wife if he could bring Hung along with them to his W-H 30th reunion the next night. She said fine.
“It’s going to be a very eclectic show,” Chauppetta said of Komedy for a Kause 2. “I like to put on the unknown, I like to surprise people. I like to make people laugh. My shows are kind of high-intensity, kind of like my personality.”
He recalled that, when he was 21 and living on Warren Avenue in Whitman with his parents while working as a corrections officer, “something pushed me to leave the Department of Corrections and go out to California to be an actor.”
His parents were not exactly thrilled, and the gamble didn’t bring show-biz success, but he used the opportunity to learn how to be a private investigator and put the skills he has amassed over the years to work for his charity as well as his sons, whom he calls his passion and inspiration.
“I’ve put together a powerful board of directors,” Chauppetta said. That board includes Plymouth County DA Timothy Cruz, Thornton and others. Chauppetta’s daughter Elizabeth is the foundation’s president.
“Last year’s event was so successful that Komedy for a Kause 1 raised $30,000 for Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy,” Chauppetta said. “We were a third-party vendor last year, meaning we collaborated with the Jett Foundation who solely specializes in DMD.”
He said the decision to hold the show in 1,500-seat, arena-style Plymouth Memorial Hall was dictated by the venue’s size.
“I’d love to have it in Whitman, I’d love to have it in Hanson, I’d love to have it in Brockton where my business is located , but there’s nowhere big enough,” he said.
Chauppetta decided his skills as a private investigator with solid media contacts, besides the Express, he will be talking to KISS-108, WROR, the Hill-Man Show on WAAF and other local papers and cable TV stations as well as Facebook.
“Facebook works,” he said.