Comedy: Make 'em laugh
Published in the Asbury Park Press 11/03/04
Long Branch comedian aids troops
By ED CONDRAN
There's nothing funny about figure skating -- with the exception
of Nancy Ryan. The Long Branch resident turned to stand-up comedy in
1992 after skating competitively since childhood.
Ryan proves there is more to
professional ice dancers than a frozen smile, a leotard and tears of
8 p.m. today
The Stress Factory
St., New Brunswick
She's a funny, gritty humorist who can laugh at her former life,
which included her first trip to a bar at age 14 -- courtesy of
Scott Hamilton -- and the thrill of sharing a dressing room with
gold medal winner Katarina Witt.
"Katarina Witt was such a bitch," Ryan said. "Everything was
given to her. She had her own dressing room and she would have the
nerve to come into our dressing room and ask for scissors in that
There's nothing funny about Ryan's life as a comedian, with the
exception of her performances. Ryan recently celebrated her 41st
birthday by cracking wise in front of 12 people in dreary York, Pa.
"I figured I would treat myself with a steak and shrimp dinner. I
was told since it was my birthday I would get it half off. Well,
(after ordering) I was told they could only give me 25 percent off.
It wasn't the greatest birthday."
But that's life on the road. "I'm totally in love with comedy,"
Ryan said. "That's why I do it."
There's nothing funny about anysoldier.com and there are no
exceptions. It's a Web site that accepts contributions for supplies
for those serving in the Middle East. Ryan is hosting a benefit for
anysoldier.com tonight at the Stress Factory in New Brunswick.
"Not every soldier is getting a care package from home, which
includes toiletries and that kind of stuff," Ryan explained. "It's
really rough over there. We're sending packages marked any soldier
since that's exactly who will get it. Soldiers who need these
supplies will receive them."
Marty Horn, a retired army veteran from Maryland, runs the Web
site. Horn's son Brian is serving in the army in Iraq. He alerted
his dad of the crisis and the senior Horn went into action. Ryan is
compelled to help the beleaguered warriors.
"It's just the right thing to do," Ryan said. 'One hundred
percent of the proceeds from our show goes directly to
The lineup for the event at the Stress Factory is impressive. Jim
Norton of Opie & Anthony fame is slated to perform, in addition
to his pal Rich Vos, who earned national notice courtesy of "Last
Comic Standing." "Crank Yankers' " Jim Florentine, Stress Factory
owner Vinnie Brand and Tony Darrow are also on the bill.
"We have a great group of comics who are coming out for a great
cause," Ryan said.
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