GIA WILSON: Moonlighting as a comedian with a cause

Updated September 27, 2023 at 12:52 p.m.

Gia Wilson, Ashley Sprosty of PI, Joseph Schwartzburt
Gia Wilson, Ashley Sprosty of PI, Joseph Schwartzburt

Gia Wilson isn’t exactly your typical comedian. In fact, by any definition, she’s not a comedian at all. She’s a real estate agent moonlighting as a comedian for one night in order to raise money for Performance Initiatives, a Savannah nonprofit whose mission is to educate and mentor youth and adults mentally, physically, and spiritually by using athletics and fitness, with Olympic-style weightlifting. 

The organization’s fifth annual Stand Up for Kids Celebrity Comedy Competition on Saturday, Sept. 30 is Wilson’s first stab at standup comedy, although she claims her life in itself is often a comedy that she lives each day. As a seasoned real-estate agent for Next Move Savannah and Tampa, as well as a single mother to a seven-year-old, Wilson has had her fair share of experiencing incidental interludes of humor.

“I always say of my own life, that it’s like a comedy, so I am really just drawing from experiences of everyday life,” said Wilson.

Wilson is just one of five impromptu “comedians” who will be performing at the highly anticipated fundraiser, which includes five-to-eight-minute sets by herself, Dustin Michael, Joseph Toole, Todd Wood and Joseph Schwartzburt.

“My comedy is about being relatable and it’s going to be a lot of things people think, but don’t say,” Wilson explains.

So, how did Wilson decide to take on the challenge of trying to make a room full of strangers laugh? Well, according to her, she manifested it.

“I’m the kind of person where I just want to do everything and I see a challenge and I’m just like, oh, that would be fun,” said Wilson. 

One night, Wilson and a girlfriend were catching a show at Front Porch Improv and she found herself thinking that being a comedian could be a lot of fun.

“I thought, I could do that,” said Wilson.

Shortly after the show, Wilson was approached about Stand Up for Kids as a PR opportunity and she just took it as a sign that she was meant to try her hand at comedy.

The fundraiser is a big event for Performance Initiatives, which was founded in 2005 by Kerri Goodrich, a former member of the U.S. Women’s Weightlifting National Team. 

Each comedian pledged to reach a $5,000 fundraising goal to go towards the event’s overall goal of $35,000. While supporters know that funds will 100 percent benefit the organization, a special announcement will be made the night of the event as to what specific initiative this year’s income will fund. However, for an organization that takes at-risk, local individuals and focuses on positive character traits that are nurtured, sometimes for the first time in their lives, it is certain that Savannah will directly benefit from the funds being raised. 

While the big goal is life-changing money, each amateur comedian also has some personal goals to achieve, like winning the “Crack Up Crown”, which is awarded to the comedian who performs the best overall set. For Wilson, her set isn’t exactly–well–set, but it’s coming together.

“I’m still figuring out,” explained Wilson with a chuckle. “I like Tina Fey, Amy Poehler, Kate McKinnon and Kristin Wiig, so I want to do dry humor that is funny in a subtle way.”

With exactly one month of comedy experience under her belt, in comparison to decades of experience from the women who inspire her, it certainly is not an easy road ahead for Wilson. However, for the girl who likes a challenge, this year’s fundraising competition is just another thing to conquer on a list of already conquered challenges with the added bonus of being a good time for a good cause.

“I just love what the organization is about,” said Wilson. “I’m big on mind, body and soul, and that our outer is a reflection of our inner and this organization is just very informative on how to just be a good human.”

To contribute to a performer’s specific fundraising goal, click HERE.

For more information and for tickets, visit the organization’s Eventbrite page.

Stand Up for Kids Celebrity Comedy Competition is Saturday, Sept. 30 from 7-10 p.m. in the ballroom at The American Legion, located at 1008 Bull St. in downtown Savannah.

Published September 27, 2023 at 4:00 a.m.

Brittany Herren

Brittany Herren is a freelance writer and a passionate supporter of the local art and music scenes. As a musician turned 30-something professional executive, she lives vicariously through her story subjects and usually writes while listening to 60s, French pop or Patsy Cline. Herren has a B.A. in English from...
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