After 16 years of raising money for the Children’s Hospital of Richmond through the hosting of Christmas-themed punk/metal tribute shows, Punks For Presents has broadened its horizons, presenting its first-ever comedy show at Cobra Cabana on Thursday, December 9. Hosts Benjamin Braman and Mike Engle gave us a preview of what the event has in store.
Grab your jacket, grab your docs, and make sure you stretch properly so you don’t hurt yourself from laughing your ass off in the cold. The holiday season of 2021 brings Richmond the 16th Annual Punks for Presents series of shows, where punk and metal cover/parody bands unite for a good cause in order to raise money and toy donations for the Children’s Hospital of Richmond. Every year always features great bands performing their best Christmas-themed tribute sets for one night only (shows in the past have featured such bands as Sleigher, Santa W.K., and Elvzig, among others). However, this year marks an expansion for the multi-night charity extravaganza – into comedy.
Thursday, December 9th will see the first-ever comedy show to appear in the Punks for Presents line up. Hosted by local Richmond comics Benjamin Braman and Mike Engle, Punks For Presents’ first stand-up show will feature seven of Richmond’s premier local comics, including Francesca Lyn, Kate Carroll, James Munoz, and more. Considering that punk music and comedy go together like gingerbread and latte, the only question is why has it taken this long to have a comedy show as part of the event.
Braman and Engle both originally brought the idea to Derek Anderson, one of the Punks For Presents organizers, who loved the idea of expanding the lineup, which previously only included music, to comedy.
“I reached out to Derek about the idea of doing a comedy show, and he was pretty receptive,” said Braman. “They themselves had been thinking about expanding and branching out, and it felt like a logical progression. We’re trying to bring comedy to people who otherwise, previously, may not have gone to a Richmond comedy show.”
Regardless of theme or format, all of Punks For Presents’ shows are held for the same reason: to raise donations, be they monetarily or brand new unwrapped toys, for the Children’s Hospital of Richmond. The shows, which have been held every year since 2005, have banded together to help the hospital with their unifying tagline: Party with a Purpose.
“Party can be generalized into music stuff, comedy stuff… if there was an art show, art stuff,” said Engle, who has been part of the Punks For Presents lineup in four previous years, as part of various bands. “I think it’s just about getting the entirety of the arts community involved. It’s to raise money for sick children, which I think everyone can get behind.”
The Punks For Presents comedy show will be held Thursday, December 9th at Cobra Cabana, which was a positive development for both Engle and Braman and the venue.
“It was brought to our attention that Cobra Cabana was looking to schedule more entertainment,” said Braman. “They were looking to bring in more shows into their patio area, so we reached out and they were really receptive to putting the show on.”
The show will be presented in two parts – the main comedy portion, hosted by Engle and Braman, followed by a second act featuring a very unique tribute band. Generally, Punks for Presents bands choose a particular artist and play songs from their discography, often with lyrics modified in comical fashion to focus on holiday themes. However, the musical guest for the comedy show at Cobra Cabana, Brown Frown and The Kisses, is doing something a little different for the kids.
“What if ‘Me First and the Gimme Gimmes’ were fronted by a coke-addled clown?” asked Engle, referencing the NOFX side-project that performs covers of 70s and 80s chestnuts in their signature pop-punk style.
Brown Frown and the Kisses’ unique spin on this idea will definitely be adult-themed. “This particular comedy show is for the kids, but it’s not for the kids, which is why it’s a little later in the night,” said Engle.
The Punks for Presents Stand-Up Showcase will be at Cobra Cabana on December 9th at 8:30p. Tickets are a suggested $5 donation at the door. Anyone entering the show must provide either a proof of vaccination or a 72 hour negative COVID test at the door to enter.
Top Image via Punks For Presents RVA/Facebook