Coaches vs. Cancer shares tears, laughter

Comedian Jim Gaffigan will provide the laughs.

There is nothing funny about cancer.

Marcy Few knows as well as anybody.

But this year’s Coaches vs. Cancer benefit event is topped off with a performance by comedian Jim Gaffigan.

Together with her husband, Gonzaga University men’s basketball head coach Mark Few, Marcy Few has helped host the local Coaches vs. Cancer benefit since its inception.

Now in its 11th year, Spokane’s weekend-long event has been one of the most successful Coaches vs. Cancer efforts in the nation, raising $5.4 million over the last decade.

That’s something to smile about.

The emotional intensity of leading this stadium-sized push against cancer is both fulfilling and draining, Few said.

“I’m emotionally exhausted after it’s over each year because I’ve cried so much and laughed so much,” she said.

While simultaneously balancing the tears with laughter, this year’s event is designed to reach more of the Spokane community by bringing Gaffigan to the Martin Woldson Theater at The Fox, which is three times the size of the Grand Pennington Ballroom at the Davenport Hotel, where the black-tie gala has been held in the past.

Also, unique to this year’s Coach vs. Cancer gala, the event doesn’t have a strict dress code. And, instead of the $400 ticket of the past, entry starts at $75 for the silent auction/cocktail party that accompanies Gaffigan’s performance.

The recommended attire is more casual, but still classy.

“We’re telling everyone to come as if they’re dressed for a summer wedding. Some will be dressed up. Some will show up from the lake after getting their last trip in for the year,” Few said. “We’re opening it up to three times as many people but still keeping the integrity of the event.”

Stand-up comedian and TV personality Gaffigan is well-known for his falsetto ad lib segues between jokes, which touch on topics ranging from bacon to cake to cake wrapped in bacon.

Along with Gaffigan, the evening’s program includes appearances by ESPN personalities Jay Bilas and Neil Everett, as well as words from Mark and Marcy Few.

“In the last year I have had two friends diagnosed with cancer, for both of them is was discovered at their annual physicals. That made it that much more important for me to help raise awareness for our community to remind people to get scheduled for a colonoscopy or mammogram,” Marcy Few said. “This is the crux of the whole weekend and we’re trying to bring cancer to the forefront.”

Jim Gaffigan

What: Benefit for Coaches vs. Cancer

When, where: Saturday at 8 p.m.; doors open for silent auction at 6:30 p.m., at The Martin Woldson Theater at the Fox, 1001 W. Sprague Ave.

Cost: $75-$500, through TicketsWest,, or the Martin Woldson Theater at the Fox box office, (509) 624-1200