August 22, 2018 5:25 pm
Updated: August 22, 2018 6:54 pm

Toronto comedians help families laugh through difficult times

WATCH ABOVE: Funnies for Families is an organization that visits hospitals, shelters and care centres, helping families laugh through difficult times. Started by two local comedians as a passion project with a group of friends, it has grown into 80 volunteers and does 10 shows a month for hundreds of children and their families. Susan Hay has the story.


Funnies for Families was created by comedians Kristie Gunter and Rockland Pickard to help families laugh through difficult times.

“I think it helps them concentrate on something else, no matter what they’re going through,” said Kristie Gunter, co-founder of Funnies for Families.

Story continues below

What began as a passion project within a group of friends has grown into an organization with 80 professionally trained comedians all donating their time doing 10 shows a month visiting children and their families in hospitals, shelters and care centres like the Ronald McDonald House Charities Toronto.

“We offer more than just a place to stay for families,” said Ami Armagost, program coordinator at Ronald McDonald House Charities Toronto.

“We offer a range of programs to help them get to a better place emotionally.”

READ MORE: 10-year-old Vaughan twins sending messages of hope, friendship to children across Canada

“We started right here at this Ronald McDonald House about four years ago,” said Rockland Pickard, co-founder of Funnies for Families. “We saw immediately what an impact it had.”

“It’s really special to see them just sitting on the couches, relaxing and then having these big belly laughs,” Armagost said.

A typical show is a half-hour filled with family-friendly improve comedy and is extremely interactive for children.

READ MORE: Residents of long-term care facility in Bowmanville travel the world without leaving home

“I had finished my own training at the Second City Training Centre and wanted to do something more with comedy,” Gunter said.

“It’s fun to go to bars and comedy clubs and perform there but we really felt like we could do something good with our skills.”

What started off as a monthly performance at Ronald McDonald House has grown into a weekly highlight for the children and their families. It’s fast becoming the most popular program.

“We’re very thankful for Funnies for Families and the time and the talent that they have donated at Ronald McDonald House Toronto to make a difference,” Armagost said.

Funnies for Families

Susan Hay/Global News

© 2018 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

Report an error


Want to discuss? Please read our Commenting Policy first.