If you hug your dogs and cats a little longer than usual after reading this interview, Rebecca Corry and I understand.
In fact, we encourage that kind of behavior because no matter how much love we show our animals, they can almost always use a little more.
Corry, a stand-up comedian and the founder of the Stand Up for Pits Foundation, is doing a benefit show at Goodnights Comedy Club in Raleigh on Sept. 17 and during a Tuesday afternoon phone interview, she discussed Angel, the pit bull who was the inspiration for the foundation.
An animal lover her whole life, Corry said adopting Angel was a turning point.
“To experience (a dog) who had known nothing but the evils of humanity but couldn’t be broken, it was a big lesson,” Corry said. “It was a very profound thing to experience, a life that had overcome so much but lived solely in the moment and was born inherently good no matter what people tried to do to ruin that.”
While continuing to enjoy a successful career in stand-up, writing and acting, Corry decided to dedicate her life to saving the lives of pit bulls who have been abused and neglected. Shows like the one at Goodnights make money for Stand Up for Pits, but money and items like food, toys and beds are also provided for local shelters, in this case the Change of Heart Pit Bull Rescue center in Raleigh.
Click here for ticket information, but even if you can’t make it to the show, there is a donation drive, dog adoptions and a silent auction. The fun begins at 4 p.m. and the stand-up show starts at 7:30.
Enjoy the interview, follow Corry on Twitter and don’t forget The Best Tweet I Can Find in Five Minutes at the end.
Tony Castleberry: What prompted you to start the Stand Up for Pits Foundation?
Rebecca Corry: I adopted a pit bull named Angel and she changed my life.
If someone would have said to me that I would have moved to Los Angeles and ended up marching on Washington, D.C., to help end abuse and discrimination of pit bull type dogs and run a national non-profit organization, I don’t think I would’ve believed them. That’s not even in my wheelhouse.
I guess the best way to explain it is, when you have knowledge of something horrible going on, if you choose to not do something, if you look the other way, then you’re condoning it. That’s a fact. So I learned quickly that what was happening to these dogs and what is happening to these dogs and what has been happening to these dogs for decades is horrific. To experience one who had known nothing but the evils of humanity but couldn’t be broken, it was a big lesson. It was a very profound thing to experience, a life that had overcome so much but lived solely in the moment and was born inherently good no matter what people tried to do to ruin that. They’re victimized and they’re further victimized by ending up in shelters and being killed, tortured and abused and our society looks the other way. … It was knowledge that (Angel) provided. She kind of showed me the truth. Then it was up to me.
My passion is what I do for a living — comedy, entertainment, all that. My purpose is running my foundation. I didn’t realize there was a difference between the two until I met her. There is a difference in life. There’s purpose and there’s passion.
TC: Were you always an animal lover?
RC: Very much so. I always loved animals and always wanted to play with them and be with them. I’ve loved animals my whole life. That’s not new, but the actual knowledge of what this specific type of dog endured, that was new. That gave it a very focused purpose, like, this has to stop. The rest of my life, I have to figure out how to stop it.
TC: Are you more proud of your achievements in comedy or the work you’re doing with Stand Up for Pits?
RC: Stand Up for Pits. I’m happy with my career. My career helped get Stand Up for Pits where it is and I feel passionate about what I do. I love writing. I love acting. I love doing standup. I love it. I respect people so much who are good at it and I think it’s an important part of life to make people laugh. The arts are important, but when I’m dead, I most certainly hope that what I’m remembered for is the foundation that I ran and the lives that we changed and saved through Angel’s memory and inspiration and all of our amazing supporters as opposed to my time on “Last Comic Standing.”
TC: [laughs] That’s beautifully put. I want to know if you can relate to this. I have a cat that I love and I think there is a spot on every dog and cat’s back that they just can’t quite reach. This morning, I scratched that spot on my cat’s back and the look of contentment and satisfaction on this animal’s face made me so happy. I almost cried because I know how good it felt and it was something I was able to do for her. Do you relate to that at all?
RC: Listen, I am currently the mom to two other pit bull type dogs and there is not a day that goes by that they don’t make me genuinely laugh from my gut. I’m not a super easy laugher, but I guess it’s their authenticity and their ability to live in the moment. They’re just so real and your cat authentically loving that moment was probably what made you want to cry.
To answer your question, yes, I can (relate). Animals are such gifts. If people were more like dogs and cats, I think the world would be a lot better place.
TC: Oh, there’s no doubt.
RC: I hear what you’re saying. I relate to what you’re saying and I’m lucky enough to experience their inherent, perfect goodness everyday. You’ve just got to cherish it and live in the moment like they teach us to do.
TC: I can honestly say that my life improved after taking my cat in.
RC: Of course it did! That’s absolutely the truth. One thing I always tell people is, save a life. It’ll save yours and make the world a better place. You can’t support breeders and puppy mills. There are millions of dogs sitting in crowded, overflowing shelters in the United States and those little lives will be so grateful for it, just as your cat is and you are and I am and all the people who experience that are.
TC: So what can folks in Raleigh expect at your show? I imagine a bunch of dogs walking around the comedy club, but that’s not how it is, is it?
RC: [laughs] No, no. These are human only events. We let the dogs take a break on this one. [interviewer laughs] It’s up to us to raise awareness and funds and provide an opportunity for like-minded people who stand against abuse and discrimination to get together to help save lives in one of the funnest ways possible, which to me is stand-up comedy. These are some of the best shows in the country in my opinion and I’m so happy to be a part of it. The talent that donates their time is incredible. The rescues who participate are great. The rescue in Raleigh is called Change of Heart Pit Bull Rescue and from 4 to 7 they’ll be bringing adoptable dogs, which I call velvet hippos.
TC: [laughs] Yeah, I’ve seen that.
RC: They’ll be selling merchandise. They’ll be asking for donations and they have an incredible silent auction that starts at 5 o’clock. That rescue benefits from it directly. Stand Up for Pits benefits from ticket sales and the other rescue benefits from the rest of it. It’s an incredible event.
Another thing we do that’s super cool is the Stand Up for Pits Donation Drive. From 4 to 7, people can roll up curbside and just drop off shelter supplies. That’s gonna go directly to shelter animals in that area. So far this year, we’ve raised over $24,000 and we still have 10 shows to go. It is amazing to see truckloads of items that come to these events that go directly to the shelters: beds, food and treats and toys and medicine and shampoos and all that kind of stuff. It’s incredible.
I headline all of (the shows) but we have amazing hosts and incredible talent. It’s a good time and one thing I’ve always done is make tickets affordable. Charity events can sometimes be really expensive and it prevents people from coming. I don’t want that. People deserve to come out and so tickets are like 40 bucks. … If you’ve never been, it’s a really cool experience. There’s tears and there’s laughter. There’s dogs and you can’t beat it.
Here it is, The Best Tweet I Can Find in Five Minutes:
Sorry I was late, I spent 23 minutes outside a bathroom I thought was occupied.
— Matthew Broussard (@mondaypunday) September 3, 2017