Mountainside Moms Share Laughs, Raise Cash

Written by Stephanie Musat | For | March 16, 2012

Patti Filiaci walked around a dais in the middle of the room, full of ribbons and toile, with a checklist in her hand and her eyes on the prizes – literally. Filiaci, along with a few hundred moms from the Mountainside School District flooded L’Affaire Fine Catering on Route 22 for the district’s annual Spring fundraiser, where the most cunning caught the best prizes. With more than 250 prizes available, the trick was to pick the best, most underrated ones. It was survival of the fittest, as the ladies of the Mountainside School District used strategy for the greatest chance of winning. Some consulted with others – “I put 10 in that box; if you add another three, I’ll put a few in a prize you want,” said one woman as she negotiated with another school mom. But between bargain shopping for Steve Madden handbags or trips to the spa, Filiaci said she and her friends were cruising the prizes for a good cause. “We are here to support a good cause for a good school district,” she said. Filiaci brought Leslie Moorman to support a good cause that helps benefit the school district that their children attend. Moorman is hoping to walk away with a spa treatment – one of 197 tricky tray items ranging from spa days to event tickets, restaurant reservations and even 10 pounds of lobster tails. Also part of the raffle are the big ticket items, including four passes to Walt Disney World, membership to the Mountainside Community Pool and 50-inch flat screen television. All proceeds go to benefit Enrichment programs at the Mountainside School District. “Not only are we trying something new with our very first comedy show, we are also very fortunate to welcome to our community, Dr. Nancy Lubarksy, chief school administrator, and Joy Bloom, supervisor of curriculum and instruction,” said event organizers Jennifer McElroy and Lauren Ferraro. “With the support of our hard working Board of Education, these women have already made great strides in enhancing our programs and increasing the level of education that our children receive.” Lubarksy thanked the women for their continued vow of confidence, giving credit to the Mountainside School District for their display of support with the continued success of the charity event. In its 26th year, the event used to be a Fashion Show. But the Comedy Show fundraiser proved to be more successful than ever, organizers said, raising more than $30,000 through ticket sales, raffles and donations. With a thankful sentiment, Lubarksy turned the microphone over to Robin Fox, the “mother of all comedians,” for an alternative to the usual fashion show presentation for the event. “I thought Robin was fantastic,” said Marjorie Jenkins, who has a son in third grade. “I’ve been here for years and I loved the fashion show, but her brand of comedy really brought something special to the evening. It was incredibly enjoyable.” Fox, who often performs around the area, regaled the audience of a few hundred of her times with the parent-teacher organization while her children were in school. She wasn’t shy about her 27-year marriage to her husband, her children, her aging parents and life in suburbia. “We could relate to the stories she was telling,” Jenkins said. “There were many times where I saw myself in her situation.” And after rattling off names of the lucky winners, with some cheers and jumps of happiness, the event ended with their children still in mind. “It is our hope that this year will be yet another incredible year for the enrichment programs for our children,” McElroy said.

Robin Fox: Bridgewater housewife Robin Fox found liberation in comedy

Written by MaryLynn Schiavi | For NJ Press Media | February 20, 2012

About 10 years ago, Robin Fox took her boredom and frustration with 17 years of domestic duty and dared to do what others only dream about after a day of household chores and taking care of the kids. The Bridgewater resident would hang up the dish towel and pick up a microphone in a local comedy club and tell her stories — and has she got stories. Now she’s enjoying the whirlwind life of a professional comedian, performing in the comedy club circuit in New York City, New Jersey and the Philadelphia area. She will be performing at a veterans benefit on March 10 at the Paramus Elks lodge. Poking fun at the plight and adventures of the suburban housewife and the experience of plummeting into middle age, Fox keeps you laughing whether she is on stage or sipping lattes at the mall. When asked about her age, Fox said, “You mean my real age or my fake age? Well, actually I can’t believe it, but my fake age is getting old, my fake age has turned middle aged. I always knew it would happen to me — but not to her.” Fox’s real age will remain “off the record.” “I’ve told so many people my fake age that if they find out how old I really am, they’re going to be really mad,” Fox said. Fox leaves no wrinkle of life untouched. In her act she may twirl for the audience wearing loose-fitting and comfortable attire and tell the audience, “Take a good look, this is what a real New Jersey housewife looks like. You know, I shop at JC Penney in the ‘Boy You’ve Let Yourself Go’ collection.” Fox’s other stories revolve around her relationship with her mother and the life her parents have lived. “My parents live in a time warp. They could never move, because nothing could ever change. They live in a museum,” Fox said. Fox recalled when her family first moved to the Somerville area from Union County. She slides her hand over her mouth and mumbles how many years ago it was that her father told her that they were going to check out the Somerville area and if they liked it, they would move here. “So we’re driving down Route 22 and we passed Bowcraft, then we see the Leaning Tower of Pizza, but as we drove farther west it got scarier and scarier. By the time we got to Somerville, it looked like Mayberry — I mean we were used to Union County,” Fox said in a slightly “Jersey” accent. But Fox doesn’t limit her comedy to the idiosyncrasies of “Jersey” — her observations reach across the river as well. Recalling a time she got lost in Brooklyn, Fox said, “I find myself going over the Williamsburg Bridge, I couldn’t believe it. The Williamsburg Bridge is like a tinker toy. It makes the Pulaski Skyway look like an art of engineering. I can’t believe we haven’t heard that two trucks have fallen through the Williamsburg Bridge.” Fox also covers the struggles with health in middle age. The former smoker has plans for her final days. “When I’m 80, I don’t want a cake with candles, I want a cake filled with cigarettes. If I make it to 80, I’m smokin’. I’m going out with an iron-lung,” Fox said.

Robin Fox at Rutgers University

Written by Erica Lamberg | For NJ Press Media

Who knew being a wife and a mother in the suburbs could be so funny? It can, and is, said Robin Fox, a housewife turned comedian who will be on stage Saturday night at the Mason Gross Center of the Performing Arts at Rutgers University. The event, hosted by Family and Community Services of Somerset County, will raise funds for the nonprofit agency that provides myriad mental health services to individuals, couples, families and groups of all ages. The show begins at 8 p.m.; doors open at 7 p.m.
The evening is truly a family affair. The comedy night will headline Fox, as well as Joey Callahan, a tri-state comedian whose humor deals with his antics and adventures of being a father and husband. Facilitating the event will be Adam Sank, a former NBC “Last Comic Standing” showcase participant. Family has been at the heart of Fox’s life for decades – first as a stay-at-home mom and now as a stand-up comedian for the past eight years. “I spent 17-plus years as a full-time, stay-at-home mom and realized that time was not going to stop if I were to pursue a life-long dream of becoming a comedian,” said the Bridgewater resident, who started out locally and eventually began performing in New York clubs. Her interest in stand-up comedy started during her second year of college at Boston University. “At that time I was considering elementary education. I took one teaching class and decided in the first week to drop it. I knew it wasn’t for me,” she said. But she always got a laugh from her friends, who told her she “was the funniest person they had even known.” She changed her major to communications and started gearing her career to one in sales and marketing. “I would later use my creativity and humor to write compelling yet usually funny or clever copy for my ads,” she said. After a few years in the working world, Fox found herself married and at home with a baby. “I would go to comedy clubs here in New Jersey and saw many of the greats of the 1980s. Often I would think that, ‘I could do that. I should do that,’” she recalled. Known as the “funny mom on the block,” she was witty at school functions and had a special talent of keeping the kids rowdy and silly at birthday parties. “People knew me as funny,” Fox said. “I took my act so to speak wherever I was.” Fox said her mothering years were filled with wonderful memories of her children, and she said she loved being home with her two children. “They absolutely needed me to be home with them and I felt nothing I could do would be more important than staying home with them.” Once both were off at school all day, she admits that the routine often became “boring and monotonous,” but she said she filled her free time with craft-making projects, volunteering at school, and took on small jobs around her children’s schedule. All of these full-time mom experiences also became rich material for her stand-up routine, which was beckoning her. About eight years ago, she tried a local appearance at a Watchung Art Center Comedy Night. “From the first time I tried performing I was hooked,” she said. “I had a great set and the other comedians encouraged me to keep going.” The rush she got from being on stage was “fantastic,” she added. She works in clubs in New York City and at private comedy events and fundraisers for private and civic groups in the tri-state area. She says she often takes into account the crowd and may adapt her material accordingly.
“I do feel out the audience and if I see they like the stuff about my husband and they seem to be into that I will do more of it,” she said. “If I start doing my stuff about my parents and I feel the energy shift I will do the strongest joke on the topic and then move off of it onto something else.” there is some material, Fox said, that is tried and true for garnering giggles. “In order to do the best shows I use the material that I know will give the best results, so I stick with the jokes that I know are consistent in getting laughs,” she said. Most of her comedy material is about being a mom and wife. “I think the way women adapt to the role is funny,” she said, pointing out that there are many different groups of mothers. “You have the organic moms, the yoga moms, the nail salon moms and the Short Hills Mall-for-lunch moms, the corporate moms, the tiger moms, the ‘I’m so hot’ moms, the ‘I’m my daughter’s best friend’ moms, and ‘my kid’s a genius moms.’ THey are all pretending that motherhood is the greatest thing that ever happened to them. It’s endless and great source for my jokes to come out of it.” For other mothers yearning to pursue a road not taken, Fox offers this advice: “Just start and stick with it. Most people like to do what they are good at.” Fox said when she is behind a microphone, she is most comfortable, making a room laugh. “Thy show their approval with laughter and applause,” she said. “No one applauds when you do a great job getting a stain out of the laundry!”

Robin Makes News!!!!

Written by Cindy Adams | For The New York Post | March 26, 2009

Robin and Danny Aiello

Danny Aiello. The four-star actor just opened a three-star comedy club. Danny’s Upstairs. Only it’s downstairs on 14th and Ninth, near a joint called Gaslight. Food’s not bad, although it’s so dark, I saw my pasta about as well as I heard what the other Danny said. Emcee Rich Carucci: “While you’re all in here, your cars are getting towed.” When not everyone doubled over in laugh cramps, it was: “What’s this, the Mafia? I feel like I’m auditioning for the five families.” And, “Forget Capt. Sullenberger. A true miracle on the Hudson would be a fish in it that you can eat.” And the biggest laugher? Danny Aiello. A chunkette named Robin Fox: “I’ll be happy when 200 pounds is the new anorexia.” And: “My husband said, ‘I want to put you in bondage.’ I said, ‘What do you think the past 25 years has been?’ ” Something named Howard Feller was “back from a one-city tour.” And their star of the evening Chris Monty: “My hair’s falling out. I asked my doctor for something to keep it in. He gave me a ziplock bag.” Only in New York, kids, only in New York.

Comedians Bring Down The House At Temple Sholom

Photo Caption: Comedians:Temple Sholom Comedy Night comedians (left to right) Alex Bernstein, Polina Zismanova, Robin Fox, Doug Adler and Danny Cohen.

On February 23, Temple Sholom of Fanwood/Scotch Plains hosted its second annual Comedy Night to raise funds for its numerous community, educational and religious programs. Nearly 100 members and guests attended the event. Featured comedians included Doug Adler, a funny man known for his unique brand of Jewish humor; Spin Cycle Comedy co-creator Danny Cohen; and Bridgewater NJ-native, Headliner Robin Fox – billed as “The Mother of All Comedians.” Also featured were Temple Sholom’s own resident comedians Alex Bernstein (who acted as Master of Ceremonies) and Polina Zismanova. “This year’s Temple Sholom Comedy Night was a great success and all five comedians had the audience roaring with laughter,” said Temple Sholom Member Suzanne Lyte, the event’s organizer. “Not only did it raise everyone’s spirits, it also raised much needed funds to help support all the great programs sponsored by Temple Sholom.”

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