News | July 17, 2015


No joke: Philosophy prof competes in comedy benefit

2 - minute read

Associate Professor Glenn Whitehouse is accustomed to using humor as a teaching tool in his philosophy classes at FGCU, but now he’s taking his act to the stage for a charity fundraiser.

The Associate Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, Whitehouse will join seven other professionals from various fields — other than comedy — for “Laughter Is the Best Medicine Comedy Night.” Each contestant will perform a five-minute stand-up routine, and audience members will “vote” for the funniest comic with their dollars.

Proceeds from the event on Saturday, July 25 at the Sidney & Berne Davis Art Center in downtown Fort Myers will support children’s services at SalusCare, the region’s largest provider of treatment for individuals with mental health and substance-use issues.

Whitehouse, whose academic interests include ancient and religious philosophy, says he has the comedic chops to hold his own with other nonprofessional jokers. In the past, he has performed bits for faculty roasts organized by communication instructor Sam Walch, who has performed professionally and taught stand-up comedy. Walch is acting as a consultant for the contest.

“I’ve enjoyed working on this – it’s going to be great fun,” Whitehouse says. “I tell a lot of jokes in my classes.”

Ancient philosophy … funny?

“Anything is funny if you build a context around it,” he says. “It’s sort of a basic speaking skill, using humor to reach an audience.”

Whitehouse says he’ll broaden his material beyond academia for the contest audience. Others scheduled to hit the stage:

  • Michael Harris, News-Press Planning Editor
  • Larry Hart, Lee County Tax Collector
  • Gwendolyn Howard-Powell, owner of Gwendolyn’s Café in Fort Myers
  • Doug Molloy, former Chief Assistant U.S. Attorney
  • Steve Russell, State Attorney for the 20th Judicial Circuit
  • Marni Sawicki, Cape Coral Mayor
  • Mike Scott, Lee County Sheriff

After the amateurs do their best to yuck it up, professional comedian Michael Palascak will perform the grand finale while votes are being tallied. Palascak has appeared on “The Late Show with David Letterman,” “The Tonight Show with Jay Leno” and “The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson.”

Limited tickets are still available for the 7 p.m. event for $100. Purchase at or by calling 239-791-1575. Hors d’oeuvres, beer and wine are included.

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