Comedy Fundraiser Memorializes Local 9/11 First Responders will hold the comic fundraising event “Moms Gone Wild” for the Angela’s House charity at the Bellmore Movies on Wednesday, August 12, to raise funds in memory of Bellmore, Merrick and Wantagh firefighters who sacrificed their lives during the collapse the World Trade Centers on September 11, 2001, so that others could live. Show time begins at 7:30 p.m.

GroupGothamA recent comedy fundraiser memorialized New York City 9/11 first responders. John LaRocchia is at right, first row

Among local firefighters who gave their lives and will be remembered at the fundraiser are Michael Cawley, Dennis Carey, Kevin Donnelly, Lee Fehling, Bruce Gary, Ronnie Gies, Ronnie Kerwin, Kevin Prior, Manuel Mojica, Adam Rand and Brian Sweeney.

Retired firefighter and Bellmore comic John Larocchia, president of, will be host during the comedy evening, which will star comedians Carrie Karavas, Talia Gill and Stephanie Blum. These mothers will talk about what it’s like to raise children, shop and a host of other “motherly” things only a mother is likely to understand – if not love!

During Larrochia’s firefighting years he worked in Hazmat 1, which was in the same building complex as Fire Squadron 288, which employed Adam Rand and Ronnie Gies, and Larrochia knew them well. His charitable comedic work in this regard is as much about his love for those colleagues he lost on 9/11 as it is about celebrating the lives of those he never met, but revered. “I lost 19 friends that day,” he told Your NewsMag.

Larocchia bets his life on a simple belief that the firefighters he knew, and all the others being memorialized at the comedy fundraiser, would approve of laughter as a good medicine to help people through the day. And he sticks to that belief.

“They would want people to get back into life, and to see them laugh,” he said if his work.

“My job now is to memorialize these men as heroes,” he continued, and as such he now travels around the county, the region and in fact the country to memorialize all first responders from all the neighborhoods in the areas that have lost their lives saving people.

Meanwhile, Angela’s House runs two special homes in Suffolk that take care of medically fragile children who otherwise might have to spend their days in far-away hospitals. The not-for-profit charity is run by Bob Poilcastro.

Each comedy fundraiser is different, he said, and he has chosen these three comedians precisely because they are mothers, and know the challenges and the joys of being mothers, too. And funny they are!

Stephanie Blum, from Brooklyn, now lives in Los Angeles, has been seen on HBO, and is now working on a TLC Network show. Talia Gill has done “Comic Strip Live” and Bellmore’s Carrie Karavas has performed at the Mohegan Sun in Connecticut. Karavas also worked with Long Island ventriloquist Dan Dantana, who was memorialized at a Bellmore Movies comedy show by many comedians after his untimely passing several years ago.

Larocchia has been a comedian for 25 years, and came up through the explosive 1980s Long island comedy scene that featured East Side Comedy Club, Chuckles, The White House, Governor’s and of course Bellmore’s Brokerage Cabaret, then owned by Gary Smith. “Back during those early years,” he remembered, club owners helped comedians get booked at other venues, and also helped comedians hone their styles and comic deliveries.

Gary Smith’s is a sponsor of this comedy fundraiser.

By the way, Larocchia has also helped Martin Avenue PTA presidents develop talent shows for fundraising events.

Larocchia hopes two of his daughters will be at the show to sing a song or two. Both attended Mepham and are known to be able to sing.

For tickets or information visit, or call the Bellmore Movies theater at 783-7200.

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