A dose of stand-up comedy and veterinary humor this Saturday | PostIndependent.com

A dose of stand-up comedy and veterinary humor this Saturday

By day, Dr. Kevin Fitzgerald saves animals.

The other day, he said, a lady brought in a puppy. “This puppy is poisoned,” Fitzgerald quoted the frantic female. “Someone quick, give me an anecdote.”

Did I mention that Fitzgerald is also a comedian?

The vet/stand-up comic is one of the stars of Animal Planet cable channel’s hit reality television program, “Emergency Vets,” and practices in the Denver area. Fitzgerald will entertain this Saturday evening at a benefit for the Roaring Fork Family Resource Centers.

The resource centers are a partnership with the Roaring Fork Re-1 School District and have offices in Basalt, Carbondale and Glenwood Springs. The organization links families and schools to community resources through referral services and coordination in order to help ensure all students are healthy and able to succeed.

“We’re going to have a lot of laughs and have a lot of fun and we’re going to do something good in the meantime,” said the good doctor.

Fitzgerald is one of several comedy acts that will perform.

Billing themselves as the Benefit Players, a reunion of local dinner theater performers, some from Aspen’s famous Crystal Palace dinner theater will present some of their best comedic works. Comedy acts will also be performed by local high school students.

Mike Wells, principal of Glenwood Springs High School and a member of the Roaring Fork Family Resource Center’s Board of Directors, will emcee.

Wells has a tendency to tickle the funny bone. Speaking before a large gathering of future high students and parents recently, he urged parents to come to school and help out.

In elementary school, many, many parents come and help out, he said. The number of parent volunteers drops in middle school. By the time students reach high school age, students think, “If I see my mom at school, I’ll die.

“Well,” said Wells dryly, “That hasn’t happened yet.”

Back to Dr. Fitzgerald.

The 50-year-old (“I would be 51 but I was sick for a year”), silver-haired Denver native has been billed as “the funniest veterinarian in show business.” He’s been a vet for 19 years and happened into comedy 15 years ago, he said. He’s opened for musical acts including Emmylou Harris and the Neville Brothers, and for comedians like Sinbad.

He didn’t set out to be a vet. In the 1970s, he was paying his way through the University of Colorado by working for concert promoter Barry Fey. Through Fey, he got a job as a roadie for the Rolling Stones.

At one point on the tour, Stones member Keith Richards sat him down and asked him what he was going to do after the tour, adding that he needed to get a grip and do something with his life.

He thought, “Wow, Keith Richards thinks I’ve got to do something with my life.”

Fitzgerald went back to school and earned a BA, MA and a Ph.D. from UC and a doctor of veterinary medicine from Colorado State University.

Now he saves animals’ lives in the day and makes people laugh at night.

People need to have more than one specialty in life, he said. “You need something you can believe in. I think that nobody laughs enough. If I can make someone laugh, that’s a great thing.”

No four-letter words in this act. It’s good clean fun all the way. When he’s performing, he said, “An older person and a young person can both sit in the same room and laugh.”

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