Comedy Benefit for fallen Tampa officers tonight at Side Splitters

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Curtis and Kocab were killed during a traffic stop on June 29 and a suspect, Dontae Morris, is in custody. But the families are still trying to adjust to life without their loved ones and the community has been trying to find ways to reach out and help.

Several successful benefits have already highlighted the community's generosity, but Brian Thompson, General Manager of Side Splitters, recognized that more needed to be done.

"I think this story affected everyone in the community," Thompson said. "I am just happy that we are in a position that we can do something to help." In addition to the comedy show, the benefit will include a cocktail hour and silent auction.

Headlining the event is Pedro Lima, a local headliner whose credits include NBC's Stand-Up for Diversity and Comics on Duty, an organization that schedules shows for military personnel. Lima said he has friends and family in the police force in both New York and Florida, so the decision to participate in the benefit show was an easy one.

"When we heard about it and learned about the story it was just a natural reaction to say 'count me in,'" Lima said. "This is a tragedy that affected more than just two young guys trying to help their communities. This affected two young families."

Lima acknowledged that the best they can do is offer a couple of hours of entertainment and laughter in an attempt to help the victims' families, but believes that kind of positive energy can also serve a healing experience for those touched by the tragedy.

Thompson agrees. "It sounds cliche, but laughter can truly be the best medicine sometimes," he said. "No matter what is happening in your life we try and provide you an escape from all the world's problems and give you a couple hours of great laughter and enjoyment."

Tonight's event begins with a cocktail hour and silent auction at 6 p.m., with the comedy show beginning at 8 p.m. Tickets are $15 in advance and $20 at the door. For more information, call 813-960-1197 or visit

It's no laughing matter, but humor can still be part of the healing process.

On Aug. 4, Side Splitters, a comedy club located at 12938 N. Dale Mabry Highway, will hold a benefit comedy show on Aug. 4 for the families of Tampa police officers Dave Curtis and Jeffrey Kocab.

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