Comedy fundraiser benefits Amy Daulton Scholarship Fund

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Emily Winter

It has often been said that a good comedian has the ability to speak their truth on stage while evoking genuine laughter. Those who saw Amy Daulton perform say that she wasn’t just a trick comedian, she could do it all.

A 1990 Salem High School graduate, Daulton had one goal in mind when she began her comedy career at age 19: bring people of all backgrounds together through laughter. Within a few years of getting her diploma, Daulton was working as a stand-up and improv comedian in both New York City and Los Angeles.

She then went on to join the LA Groundlings and Fred Willard & Friends improv group. In 1998, after honing her skills for years, she was asked to appear on Saturday Night Live. Few people were happier for Amy once she got the SNL call than her two sisters – Brea and Carrie – and mother, Vicki.

Sadly, Amy passed away in 2015. That year, the Salem Educational Foundation & Alumni Association created a scholarship fund in her name. On Saturday, July 21, the third Annual Amy Daulton Comedy Fundraiser was held inside a ballroom at the Valley View Holiday Inn Hotel.

This year’s lineup included six comedians: Chris Calogero, Matt Kelly, Emily Winter, Melissa Douty, Omar Capra and Shelley Hamilton. Hosted by Brea Hatt, Amy’s youngest sister, the event lasted from 7:30 p.m. to 9:00 p.m.

“It takes about a year of preparation to put on this event. My favorite part of this year’s show was the overwhelming support that people gave us,” Hatt said. “Next year we are changing venues to Billy’s Barn in Salem. 100 percent of the proceeds will continue to go to Amy’s scholarship.”

During Matt’s 15-minute set, the comedian broached such topics as relationships, raising his children and pop culture.

“Many people believe that Stevie Wonder isn’t really blind. You talk about being committed to a role,” he said. “Here is a guy that really thought about how he was going to sell it for over 70 years. “

Omar Capra, also known as “the tall black guy who made a brief cameo in the last Spider-Man movie,” drew many laughs during his set.

“I’m not ashamed to say that I’m a kept man. My wife makes way more money than me, which is actually pretty nice,” he said. “I have always been sort of a cheap date. I mean I was a lightweight only in that sense of the term.”
Melissa’s favorite part of the night was feeding off of the crowd.

“I think my audience can tell if I’m making something up because it never gets the same reaction. I try to stay true to myself and keep my set clean,” Douty, a Salem resident, said. “I love blue comedy as much as anyone; I’m just not comfortable performing it.”

While Emily wasn’t 100 percent sure which jokes she was going to tell on stage, her boyfriend Chris knew for weeks how he was going to approach his set. In an email, Chris openly talked about his friendship with Amy.

“She was my best friend and roommate. She was one of the funniest and kindest people I ever had the pleasure of meeting,” he said. “She simply dominated a room and not in a way that made you feel insecure; she made you feel welcomed, loved and confident. The whole time I was on stage I was just trying to make her proud.”

Shelley described this year’s comedy fundraiser as “a night that I looked forward to that ended up being better than I anticipated.”

The New York City native added: “I met Amy through some comedy friends, and I immediately was disarmed by her. Usually, I can be judgmental and in my own head when I meet new people. It was impossible not to love Amy from the jump. I feel like we all did her justice this year.”

The Amy Daulton Scholarship Fund has raised approximately $9,000 over the last three years. Brea Hatt and her family hope to raise more money in the future to give away. For more information or ways on how to get involved, visit sefandaa.org.

“My sister absolutely loved helping people,” Hatt said. “This scholarship will be awarded to a female Salem High School senior planning to pursue a career in comedy or acting.”