Funny 4 Funds Updates

4th Annual Fundraiser

4th Annual Fundraiser

Published 02/13/2019

Friends Way Celebrates its 4th annual Fundraiser with Funny 4 Funds

2016: $7,800.00 Raised

2017: $8,920.00 Raised

2018: $13,000.00 Raised

2019: $14,500.00 Raised

To the folks at Friends Way,

Thank you for trusting the team at Funny 4 Funds with your annual fundraiser. We look forward to your 5th Annual show in 2020!

Funny 4 Funds Branch in Western Connecticut

Funny 4 Funds Branch in Western Connecticut

Published 02/12/2019

Scott Higgins Launches Branch in Western Connecticut

Scott Higgins could boast the perfect resume for a comedian: in high school thrown out of biology class for doing an impression of the teacher; voted class clown; knee-deep in torment for performing too-perfect impressions of family members at family functions. Finally, in college between studies, slices of cold pizza and late night jaunts to convenient stores Higgins managed to enroll in a theater class. As it turned out, his professor performed stand-up at a local comedy club. When the temptation to perform became way too tempting, Higgins stepped out for his premier comedy spot at Groucho’s Comedy Club in CT in 1988. He was hooked: the chuckles and howls from the audience were like honey and he knew that he was somewhere he belonged. Higgins everyman relaxed style draws an audience in, then keeps them. His family based observational humor is fresh but familiar to us all! He has worked with some of Boston and New York’s top talent such as Jim Norton, Bill Burr, John Pinette and Jeff Garlin. He appeared in the film “Street Players” a Road Rambler Films Production. Scott has been featured on XM Sirius Radio and in comedy clubs all over New England.

Funny 4 Funds new Christian Comedy Division

Funny 4 Funds new Christian Comedy Division

Published 02/07/2019

What makes us laugh?

Some seek out edgy humor or crave political jokes. In other cases, audiences prefer their comedy clean.

Funny 4 Funds, a comedy fundraising company that has helped local organizations raise more than $4 million since its founding in 2014, hopes to broaden its appeal to the latter group through the launch of its new Christian Comedy Division.

Run by Cranston native Mary Ellen DePetrillo Rinaldi, the division works with a dozen handpicked comedians. Rinaldi and Mike Murray, who founded Funny 4 Funds along with Bill Simas, both belong to the Christian Comics Association.

The Christian division is faith-based humor that is clean enough to be performed in a church.

“We have guidelines for our comedians, not to say certain words. There are zero political jokes. It’s so hard to write clean comedy – they need to be on their game at all times. If you write clean, every single door is open to you. Writing dirty gives very limited opportunities,” Murray said.

BRINGING THE FUNNY: Mike Cronin, left, and Mary Ellen DePetrillo Rinaldi, right, are both part of Funny 4 Funds’ new Christian Comedy Division. They are pictured with comedian Rhonda Corey at Sacred Exchange Fellowship in this September 2018 photo.

Funny 4 Funds has already provided a range of options for its audiences, including PG, PG-13 and 18-plus shows. The organization, which now has 11 branches in New England and is aiming to expand its reach nationally, helps various organizations raise money through 90-minute stand-up comedy performances. The shows each feature three comics and can also include raffles and auctions.

“Shows can be modified from rating G to R,” Murray said. “We match the comics to the crowd. We design the show based on what the client wants. Comedy is a challenge. We are proud of what we do, the work we put on. We’re going to put together a show you can be proud of and make an annual event, and not repeat the show.”

Murray said Dave Cordeiro, owner of Cyber Technical in Warwick, has played a key role in helping Funny 4 Funds extend its reach in the digital realm.

“He had the vision of us going national,” Murray said. “He streamlined the program through the website. The website is designed to be push and play. You don’t have to be a comedian to own a branch.”

Rinaldi said the Christian Comedy Division is taking the same approach as the broader Funny 4 Funds organization.

“We offer a variety … trying to match acts to audience,” she said. “It’s not our personal opinions, but we want the audience to laugh. We suspend our judgment and personal feelings for the show.”

Rinaldi is running the Christian Comedy Division with a stable of well-known, established Christian comedians.

Tom Morin has been part of the circuit for close to 30 years. Starting off at Periwinkles in the Arcade in Providence, he was part of the award-winning comedy team Caito and Morin.

“I first started doing stand-up some 30 years ago. It has been an amazing ride to say the least,” he said. “My humor was never offensive prior to going out on my own. So deciding to execute stand-up clean was never an issue. My personal satisfaction from stand-up genuinely comes from the opportunity to give. At one time, it was all about what I would get out of the work I was doing. Today, that sentiment is no longer part of what I do. It is a calling for me, not merely a vocation, to be behind the mic. There is always the looming question of not knowing who will be in the audience. Therefore, it is more than likely one could add to the fabric of a total stranger’s life.”

Morin said Funny 4 Funds’ Christian Comedy Division “is not only filling a need in Rhode Island comedy as well as New England, but it is something that has never been done before – to give an alternative comedy event where people can go and experience a faith-filled night of laughter and inspiration. A fundraiser that aids in assisting physical project needs such as building funds, etc., as well as spiritual needs.”

Comic Mike Cronin of North Providence also works with the Christian Comedy Division. He has been performing stand-up on and off for more than 30 years.

“I first took the stage in my early 20s. However, it wasn’t until I was in my 30s that I really found my sea legs as a stand-up and worked on a regular basis,” he said. “Back then I took the stage as ‘The Bad Boy of Comedy’ and spewed the vilest jokes imaginable. I was working anywhere between three to four shows a week. I then took around 13 years off, only doing a show here and there.”

Cronin spoke of how he found his way to the Christian Comedy Division.

“Eight years ago, my pastor, who is one of my best friends, Mike Caparrelli, in a conversation said to me, ‘The gift you have to make people laugh is not yours. It’s God’s, and God gave it to you’ … His words were planted on my heart. However, it wasn’t until four years ago that I made the switch from secular comedy to Christian comedy,” he said.

Cronin said he also seeks a guiding force at work through the Christian Comedy Division.

“I’ve been telling [Murray] about opening a Christian division for Funny 4 Funds for around three years, and now Mike has opened a Christian division and has given that to [Rinaldi] … so, you have three people, Mary Ellen, [Morin] and myself, who really hadn’t known each other before, and suddenly we’re going to be doing Christian comedy together under the Funny 4 Funds banner … coincidence? I think not. It’s the hand of God at work,” he said.

To learn more about Funny 4 Funds, including how to book a show or create a new branch, visit


By PAM SCHIFF - Beacon Communications

Tom Stewart Opens Funny 4 Funds in New Bedford MA

Tom Stewart Opens Funny 4 Funds in New Bedford MA

Published 01/18/2019

Tom Stewart has been working in entertainment for as long as he can remember. In 2010 he tried stand-up comedy for the first time and has been working as a professional ever since. In 2017 he won the Cape Cod Comedy Festival. He’s also performed at the Burbank Comedy Festival and Boston Comedy Festival. And he was a semi-finalist in the Last Comix Standing Competition.

Along with being a regular at comedy clubs and shows around the Northeast, he is also the morning show host on Easy 99.1 in Boston. He somehow gets up bright and early every morning to entertain listeners from Boston, to Providence, Cape Cod and everywhere in between. Tom has had a long and successful career in broadcasting for 20+ years on many radio stations and TV stations all over New England.

Tom is also an experienced live host and event planner having worked with many great organizations like D.A.R.E., The Phoenix Society, The Station Nightclub Foundation, and of course Funny 4 Funds.

Ace Aceto Launches Branch in Rhode Island

Ace Aceto Launches Branch in Rhode Island

Published 01/07/2019

Branch Manager Ace Aceto

Ace burst onto the comedy scene during the latter part of the stand-up comedy boom in 1989.  His first time on stage he immediately caught attention by placing second in a local comedy contest.  By 1990, Ace was chosen along with 9 other finalists to be filmed for Stand-Up Stand-Up and Short Attention Span Theater for Comedy Central (then known as The Comedy Channel). 

A Rhode Island native, Ace has worked clubs, colleges, corporate shows and fundraisers all throughout the Northeast for close to 30 years. He has been a frequent guest on WPRI TV’s The Rhode Show and WPRO Radio’s Matt Allen, John Loughlin, and Tara Granihan Shows.  He also has taking on the role of Roast Master General for all of WPRO’s Celebrity DJ Roasts.  In 2016, Ace was inducted into the Rhode Island Comedy Hall of Fame, joining Rhode Island Comedy Royalty Charlie Hall, Frank O’Donnell, and Tom Cotter.

No stranger to fundraising, Ace has worked to produce fundraising events for organizations such as The American Lung Association, The Station Nightclub Foundation, The Leukemia and Lymphoma Foundation, and has been a member of the Funny 4 Funds Team since its inception.