AUSTIN - She's been crowned the 2016 funniest person in Austin, but what comedian Lashonda Lester is facing now isn't funny at all.
Medical issues are causing her big problems, and Tuesday night other Austin comedians are holding a "Just Kidneying' benefit to help her out.
"I have kidney failure, I've had it about a year now due to high blood pressure," Lester said. "I go to dialysis four times a week."
Lester's insurance won't cover her skyrocketing medical bills.
"The bills are starting to pile up, I'm tired of them calling me," she laughed. "I really am."
So her funny Austin family is standing up. Comedian Chris Cubas had an idea to turn Tuesday night's Punch comedy showcase into a benefit for Lester.
"There's a thing with comics where people think oh, they're real backstabby, everybody wants to climb over everybody to get to the top and our town's not like that," Cubas said. "We just want everybody to do good."
All the money from ticket sales will go to Lester.
"I know the bartender's donating his tips and everybody's just throwing in what they can," Cubas said.
Longtime Austin comedian Matt Bearden says it's a way to help one of their own, who's won over crowds and other comedians with her humor.
"I've heard Austin comedy criticized for being overly ironic or mean but the fact is if you want to do well here, you just have to be genuine," he said. "Lashonda is genuine."
Bearden hopes the community will come out and help a rising star go even higher.
"When the industry gives you a leg up to try and grab that brass ring, you don't get a second or a third chance," he said. "We can't have Lashonda here burdened with some of these bills and other things that are distracting her when she has a chance for the big shot, for the big time."
Tonight's Punch "Just Kidneying" showcase starts at 8 p.m. at Cap City Comedy Club. Go here for information.
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