Liz Russo will mark her sixth year of sobriety on Jan. 16.
But that is not the only reason the Easton resident has to celebrate this month.
Russo is the producer and host of the comedy show "Dry Humor: Stand-Up for Recover," which will return for its second year tonight at the ArtsQuest Center at SteelStacks in Bethlehem.
"Dry Humor" will feature sets by comedians Richard Francis Williams and Patrick Holbert. The Emmy Award-nominated Williams has appeared on Comedy Central, Chelsea Lately and The Howard Stern Show. Holbert has been hailed by The New York Times as New York's "most charming MC," according to ArtsQuest's website.
A portion of the proceeds from the show will benefit Chester County-based addiction treatment center The Malvern Institute. Russo said choosing the Malvern Institute as this year's charity recipient was a decision near and dear to her heart. For the past year, Russo has been working with the institution by performing comedy at its in-patient rehab facility.
Russo said Sunday during a phone interview that last year's inaugural showcase was such a success that it motivated her to bring it back. "I was so in awe of how many people were there to support, not only me and personal recovery, but to support (the cause)... It was just so amazing and it touched me on a personal level," Russo said. "Both comics are openly in recovery and have different stories to share, different perspectives than my own."
Sharing her own story of overcoming addiction has been cathartic for Russo, she said, and has resonated with audience members who are also struggling. Russo, a staunch advocate for addiction recovery, has received emails from fans, commending her for opening up on stage about her past.
Russo has also befriended the officer who arrested her when she was charged with public drunkenness in Bethlehem. She said the officer was in attendance for the inaugural "Dry Humor" showcase and afterward congratulated Russo on her sobriety.
"When alcoholism took me out of the game for a little bit, I came back stronger. I've been doing it full-force the past six years," Russo said. "I decided to make my mess into my message."
Russo has been performing stand-up comedy for 15 years. She has been featured on SiriusXM Radio and SiriusXM Canada and produced and starred in the comedy showcase "One Night Stand with Liz Russo" at Caroline's on Broadway in New York City.
Russo is also the producer and host of an annual outdoor comedy showcase at Easton's Riverside Park.
"It's been really amazing," she said. "I decided to make my mess into my message."
"Dry Humor: Stand-Up for Recovery" is 8 o'clock tonight inside the Fowler Blast Furnace Room of the ArtsQuest Center at SteelStacks, 101 Founders Way, Bethlehem. Tickets $15, $13.50 for ArtsQuest members.