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Comedian Jason Sudeikis Brings Home Fellow Celebs To Help Out An Old Friend

Luke X. Martin
KCUR 89.3
Musician Billy Brimblecom (left) and comedian Jason Sudeikis team up for a benefit in Kansas City.

High-profile stars with Kansas City roots often return to their hometown to visit family and friends, cheer on the Kansas City Chiefs or the Kansas City Royals and, in the case of Jason Sudeikis, help put on a show.

"I've been really lucky in many, many ways," Sudeikis told Gina Kaufmann on Friday's Central Standard. "With my work, my career, to give me a platform that allows for a great opportunity to throw a rope down, throw a hand down, whenever possible, to pull someone up."

The comedian, who grew up in Overland Park, is back to host and emcee a benefit called Thundergong! With a star-studded lineup of musicians and comedians including Will Forte, Chance The Rapper and Ben Harper. The event supports the work of The Steps of Faith Foundation which provides prosthetics for people who can't afford them.

Musician Billy Brimblecom, who started the organization and serves as executive director, has played in bands such as Black Pool Lights and Summer Breeze. He lost his leg in 2005 due to Ewing's Sarcoma, and wanted to help others. 

"We help amputees nationwide when they have no health insurance and no other way to pay for a prosthetic limb," Brimblecom told Kaufmann.

Related: After Losing His Leg, A Kansas City Drummer Plays Yacht Rock To Make Others Feel Fine

Comedy, Sudeikis said, has always been part of his life. And it was what helped forge his friendship with Brimblecom. They met in 1995 at an improv workshop in Kansas City.

"Having funny parents, funny relatives, I was always drawn to people that made me laugh," Sudeikis said. "It's lovely to make other people laugh, especially people that made me laugh."

Sudeikis honed his comedy chops in Kansas City, with stints at ComedySportz, and later, at The Second City in Chicago. In 2003, he was hired as a sketch writer for "Saturday Night Live," and earned a spot as a cast member for eight seasons, from 2005 to 2013. 

He's also starred in film and television, from "30 Rock" to "Horrible Bosses," and, most recently, "Driven."

Sudeikis said his father helped shape his comedic sensibility.

"We'd watch a movie and if there was a bad guy or a bully or someone hypocritical, someone who was obnoxious, someone who was rude, he just had a disdain for them," he said. "In films or television, you know, whoever the bad guy was, the arrogant guy was."

His father didn't keep company with such people, Sudeikis said.

"And so I find those people inherently disturbing and also comical from a distance."

Listen to the full Central Standard conversation here

Jason Sudeikis and friends, including Will Forte, Chance The Rapper, Ben Harper, Sam Richardson, Jason Barnes, Joe Wong, Rob Zabrecky, Ultimate Fakebook, and Summer Breeze, in the 2nd annual Thundergong! on Saturday at 8 p.m. at the Uptown Theater,  3700 Broadway Blvd., Kansas City, Missouri. 

Laura Spencer is an arts reporter at KCUR 89.3. You can reach her on Twitter at @lauraspencer

Kansas City is known for its style of jazz, influenced by the blues, as the home of Walt Disney’s first animation studio and the headquarters of Hallmark Cards. As one of KCUR’s arts reporters, I want people here to know a wide range of arts and culture stories from across the metropolitan area. I take listeners behind the scenes and introduce them to emerging artists and organizations, as well as keep up with established institutions. Send me an email at lauras@kcur.org or follow me on Twitter @lauraspencer.
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