SAN DIEGO -- A fundraiser called "That's What Friends Are For: A Night of Outrageous Comedy" is being organized by friends of Michael Mack to help the popular community personality with medical expenses he has incurred.
The event, which will star Judy Tenuta, known by many as "The Goddess of Comedy," will be held at 7 pm Monday, April 18, at Eden, 1202 University Ave. in Hillcrest.
Drag personalities Chad Michaels, LaDonna and Fontasia of the DreamGirls Revue will also perform, along with DJ Luis Perez. The event will include a silent auction and a 50/50 raffle.
"A proud but humbled man has come to his friends for help. Michael never could have imagined he would one day find himself in a difficult position after he spent so many years helping others," said a statement issued by Mack's friends who are organizing the event.
Raymond Martin, a bartender and one of the lead organizers of the event, is pouring his heart into the event.
"We all know how Michael has devoted so much of his time and energy to benefit our community and others in need," Martin said. "But for the last two and a half years, fate has lead him in a different direction. Fortunately, a loyal group of good friends of Michael's have come together to raise the support needed to help him through these difficult financial times."
According to Martin, Mack has recently become responsible for an unexpected series of costly medical bills after suffering two herniated discs and other medical complications. After recognizing the difficulties Mack was facing, a group of more than 20 of his friends wanted to come together to help him out.
Mack has worked in the San Diego nightlife industry for more than 20 years. He has worked at, managed and produced events at venues such as Club Montage, Hawthorn's, Bourbon Street, Lei Lounge, Spin and Eden. Mack has also been an ardent supporter of community serving organizations such as The Center, AIDS Walk San Diego, Mama's Kitchen, Being Alive, Stepping Stone, the Human Rights Campaign, The Trevor Project and many others by organizing fundraiser events and making personal contributions.
"Because of his involvement with these organizations, Michael has not only been a shining example of how one should get involved in the community, but he has helped change lives of so many who most needed help," Martin said.
Comedienne Tenuta, who modestly says she is "the most famous person alive," has performed in numerous stage, television and film productions, alongside her comedy work. The first female stand-up comic to win "Best Female Comedian" at the American Comedy Awards, Tenuta is also a two-time Grammy nominee. Her comedy CD's include "Attention Butt-Pirates," "Lesbetarians!" and "In Goddess We Trust."
Tenuta strongly advocates for children's and women's issues and the LGBT community.
As a "fun-loving feminist," Tenuta believes that all women should be worshiped as "love goddesses."
Mack's friends and other community members have expressed a great deal of excitement for the event, as well as support for Mack on the event's Facebook page.
Dora Guillen said, "Absofreakinglutely ... I will be there for Michael!"
"OMG! I have loved [Tenuta] for many, many years," Mary Jane Schmoll said. "I can't think of a better way to support Michael who has done so much for so many for so many years."
Tony K. Perez noted that Tenuta is one of his favorite comediennes from the 1980s. "If it's for Mikey Mack, why not? I'm there!" he said.
"When I first started getting to know Michael a year a year ago I was one of the few people who didn't know him," Edward Camarillo said. "In a short period of time he's managed to impress me with his generosity, connection to the community and personal involvement with the entertainment life.
"I now have the good fortune to call him one of my closes friends, mentor and colleague. I'm honored to be a host for Michael Mack's event so that I may in some small fraction return the love and guidance he's given to me as well as to stand along side the many others who Michael has touched."
Event organizers are still seeking donations for the silent auction. Organizers are asking that items have a minimum retail value of at least $100.
The suggested donation to attend the event is $10 at the door. Those who are unable to attend but would like to make a donation may write a check payable to "The Ben Dillingham Grant" (write "Michael Mack" in the memo line) and mail to Big Mike at PO Box 33224, San Diego, CA 92163.
Friends of Mack hope the entire community will come out and support their friend.
"One thing I admire about our community here in San Diego is how we rally together when one of our very own needs help," Martin said. "Based on the love we share for our fellow man, we want to share that love with Michael in his time of need."
For more information, call Big Mike at (619) 807-7324 or check out the event's Facebook page.