The COVID-19 pandemic has forced Americans across the nation to observe Thanksgiving differently this year, and organizations with annual Turkey Day food giveaways are no exception.
With so many out of work or without their loved ones, the Laugh Factory in Hollywood Lounge continued an annual tradition of giving back to their community — this time with extra precautions in the interest of public health.
Thursday marked the 40th anniversary of the theater’s Thanksgiving dinner giveaway, in which the Laugh Factory gave out hundreds of pre-packaged meals — as opposed to the typical buffet-style setup — to anyone who was interested.
This year’s giveaway almost didn’t happen, according to Laugh Factory owner Jamie Masada. In March, the pandemic forced the Laugh Factory to shut down programming at its clubs in L.A., Long Beach, Las Vegas, Reno and Chicago.
“We were thinking of not doing it, but because of so many phone calls and people crying on the phone, this was everything,” Masada said.
The Thanksgiving meal came with turkey and all the fixings, enough to feed 1,500 people in need. Guests were also encouraged to wear masks and adhere to social-distancing guidelines while at the event to protect themselves and others from the virus.
Craig Jones, one of the attendees, said he went to last year’s Laugh Factory event after his sister passed away.
“I had such a good time and I also got rewards, so I came back this time,” Jones said.
Tiffany Haddish, Paul Rodriguez, Dane Cook and Tim Allen were among the comedians who helped put smiles on people’s faces.