Suncoast comedian in the spotlight at local club

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SARASOTA, Fla. -- Following the loss of comedic genius Robin Williams, McCurdy's Comedy Theatre will hold their first show since the tragic news on Wednesday.

The comedy club says in honor of Williams, the show must go on and they've brought in a hometown success to bring some laughter back into our community still shocked by the devastating loss.

The loss of the beloved actor and comedian has shaken the Suncoast. But two days after the world lost Robin Williams, comic Jodi White -- back in her hometown of Sarasota after becoming nationally-recognized -- is trying to spread the joy once again.

She’s performing her first headlining show at McCurdy's club. She explains the side of comedians that the audience doesn't see. "It's a long, hard, lonely life."

Jodi describes how the joy that comes from making people laugh drives their passion as comedians and actors. But behind the scenes they're still people with real hardships. “We're all inspired by Robin, we are. He's an amazing, amazing actor and it's just devastating to see him go. So we're going to have a good fun weekend of laughter."

For five days Jodi plans to honor Robin's memory by doing what Robin worked his whole life to do: bring joy to people's lives. “Comedy is really a release for people, you know? I think 'oh, I get to tell dirty jokes and make people laugh' and they've had a fun night out. But I can't tell you how many people come up to me after a show and ‘I found out three months ago that I have cancer’ and ‘this is the first time I've laughed since then.’"

Born and raised in Sarasota, Jodi realized her dream at 30 years old and had the courage to pursue it. After taking classes at McCurdy's, she traveled to big cities throughout the U.S. performing, and even had a television debut on Nick Jr.

But to be back in her hometown, at her old stomping grounds, is a dream come true. “When you get to come back and headline your home club, you know, that's like Dad, Les McCurdy, saying ‘okay, I'm proud of you. You're doing a good job. You earned it.’"