It was a night of laughter, making friends and enjoying delicious food as the Fifth Annual Boys and Girls Club Steak and Burger Dinner was held in the Statesboro First Baptist Church social hall.
Comedian Jeff Allen cracked everyone up with his Christian humor, proving that off-color isn't necessary to entertain and bring smiles. He rolled one funny comment after another off his tongue as Boys and Girls Club members, their families, friends and other guests finished up their desserts amid side-splitting laughter.
The event is held not only as a fundraiser, but to honor the Boys and Girls Club members. BGC Board member Russell Rosengart, who introduced Allen, said the club has 250 members, 60 percent of whom "made honor roll last year."
Director Mike Jones said 99 percent of the club's membership either graduated or were promoted to the next grade. The goal of the club is to provide children a safe after-school alternative, where they are encouraged to learn, do their homework, and develop good character.
During the dinner, local leaders, parents, dignitaries including Sen. Jack Hill, as well as other volunteers served either steaks or hamburgers, along with green beans, potatoes, salad and a tempting "gooey butter cake" that is the specialty of Debbie Creasy, church dietician.
Place mats were designed by club members and reflected reasons why various girls and boys enjoy the club.
And at each table, guests were graced with the presence of at least one Boys and Girls Club member.
As he spoke, Jones regaled guests with tales of success, and introduced Dr. Karl Peace, a local resident who, moved by the idea behind the club, agreed to match local fund raising efforts last year. The club raised more than $140,000 this year, he said.
As Allen took the stage, he immediately brought a sense of fun. "I'm not a speaker," he said. "A speaker connotates you're gonna learn something tonight."
He joked about all aspects of life - aging, teenagers, and current events. He laughed at himself for driving a Ford Focus: "Four cylinders of raw power!" He talked about his family, saying "I believe teenagers are God's revenge on mankind."
His son is the typical teen, he said. "Whatever. That's the word. Every time he says it I want to boink him in the eye."
Allen talked about the controversial style of "sagging" pants. People wearing them "look like they're coming out of the bathroom looking for toilet paper, that's the way they walk."
He griped about homeowner's associations, talked about his wife drawing a smiley face on his bald spot (he thought she was giving him a massage) and even ventured into the forbidden realm of menopause.
"There are nights I lie awake and dream about the good ol' days of PMS," he said.
But Allen brought his performance to a close by talking about his past battles with alcoholism, and how he was 10 minutes away from filing divorce papers when he and his wife decided to try one more time. God and alcohol rehabilitation brought him back to a loving marriage and a successful comedy career, he said.
Holli Deal Bragg may be reached at (912) 489-9414.