Laughter the best medicine

Denis Leary ("Rescue Me") hosts "The Best Medicine" concert Sept. 29 at the Malibu Performing Arts Center, benefiting City of Hope.

Comedians Denis Leary, Martin Short, Bobcat Goldthwait and more to perform at a benefit concert Sept. 29 in Malibu for City of Hope, a cancer research and treatment center.

By Laura Tate / Editor

His voice is rough, his band members sing out of tune, and his lyrics are shockingly rude, but that’s his trademark-and to many, he’s outrageously funny. Comedian Denis Leary and his band The Crown Royals will perform Sept. 29 at Malibu Performing Arts Center, which will benefit the City of Hope, a leading research and treatment center for cancer.

Joining Leary for the benefit concert, billed “The Best Medicine,” are fellow comedians Martin Short, Bobcat Goldthwait (who now directs the show “Jimmy Kimmel Live!”), Michael Hitchcock (“Best in Show” and “Waiting for Guffman”), Lenny Clarke (“Rescue Me”) and Tim Bagley (“Knocked Up”), as well as the cast from “Mad TV.” The late-’70s pop icon band The Knack (“My Sharona”) is also slated for a special performance.

A silent and live auction will take place during the evening, with items such as a signed guitar by all band members in Bon Jovi, a signed Goo-goo Dolls guitar and signed Don Henley drumsticks up for bid. Signed sheet and book music by Aerosmith, Cat Stevens, the Mama & Papas and more will also be up for bid.

The event was pulled

together by Lauren Dombrowski, a former standup comic and television producer/writer for the late-night Fox comedy show “Mad TV.” Nearly four years ago, Dombrowski was diagnosed with Stage 4 breast cancer (invasive breast cancer that has spread beyond the breast, underarms and nearby lymph nodes) and she sought treatment at City of Hope. Dombrowski has survived her bout with cancer and after learning that her oncologist, Dr. George Somlo, wanted to build a specialized Breast Cancer Treatment facility within the City of Hope, she decided to express her gratitude and appreciation by calling on her funniest friends, while planning and co-producing with Malibu Performing Arts Center the Sept. 29 fundraiser.

“These are my best friends in the whole wide world,” Dombrowski told The Malibu Times. “Denis [Leary] was my college boyfriend; I met Lenny Clarke while doing stand-up in Boston (and had a huge crush on him). Bobcat Goldthwait and I came up together in Boston as young comics. I worked with Martin Short’s brother, Mike, on ‘Mad TV’ and met Marty through him. Mike McDonald, Stephanie Weir, Bobby Lee and Mo Collins I met at ‘Mad TV’ and I adore them all. Mike Hitchcock and Tim Bagley are two of my dearest friends and two of the funniest people I ever had the pleasure of meeting, and Doug Fieger (The Knack) is a close friend and fellow cancer survivor.”

Dombrowski has been in treatment for her cancer for three and a half years.

“I’ve had eight surgeries and was on hard-core chemo for two and a half years,” she said. “Now I’m on a kinder, gentler drug, which is producing good results, but I haven’t been lucky enough to have a complete remission. However, my cancer doesn’t bother me too much, and I lead a very rich and active life.”

Founded in 1913, the City of Hope, located in Duarte, Calif., just northeast of Los Angeles, is a leading research and treatment center for cancer, diabetes and other life-threatening diseases. Designated as a Comprehensive Cancer Center, the highest honor bestowed by the National Cancer Institute, and a founding member of the National Comprehensive Cancer Network, City of Hope’s research and treatment protocols advance care throughout the nation.

As for the future, Dombrowski said she is “busy writing a funny book about having a mild case of Stage 4 breast cancer” and, “as far as the cancer goes, I feel that my job is to hang on, hang tough and wait for the cure. I think it can be achieved in my lifetime, especially with the help of Dr. Somlo, who is gifted, brilliant and, most importantly, funny. Other than that, I am enjoying semi-retirement, hanging out with my husband and friends, and riding my horse as much as I can.”

Platinum level tickets for the Sept. 29 benefit concert include a private cocktail party before the show with performers, premier seating and exclusive VIP after-party package for $275 each. Gold level tickets include a private cocktail party and gold level seats for $150 each, while Silver level tickets are available for $75 each and offer reserved seating. Platinum and Gold tickets are available at the MPAC box office by calling 310.456.6722, ext. 103. Silver tickets are available online at A portion of the ticket price is tax-deductible and all net proceeds from the benefit will go directly to City of Hope to benefit breast cancer research, treatment and education.