It’s an unlikely friendship brought together by laughter, and through that bond, a way that Last Best Comedy in downtown Bozeman was able to give back to the community through an improv show to raise awareness for homelessness and raise money to benefit the HRDC.
A simple handwritten note sparked a friendship for local comedian and artistic director of Last Best Comedy, Levin O’Connor.
“Somebody handed me a business card that had a little hand-written note on it and it just said, ‘During a time of great pain you brought great joy, Arthur’,” said O’Connor.
Arthur was the main behind the note—homeless, he would save up his money every week in order to see O’Connor and his wife perform on Thursday nights.
”I met this guy, Arthur, and he is currently in Bozeman experiencing homelessness,” O'Connor said.
Arthur is not alone; in the last couple of years, Bozeman's homeless population has grown.
“This year we are already seeing an increase in the number of people experiencing homelessness,” said Kristin Hamburg, development director at HRDC.
For O’Connor, this sparked an idea to give back.
“So I asked him, sort of, who has been supportive, and who has helped you in this time and he immediately said, ‘Oh, HRDC is so wonderful,'" said O’Connor.
So they decided to host an improv night, with the proceeds benefiting the HRDC—not only helping Arthur, but the larger Bozeman community as well.
“Improv and comedy is naturally going to look to want to support anybody and everybody that we can,” said O’Connor.
O’Connor says improv was naturally a way to bring the community together to rally behind Arthur.
“My background is in improv and improv is all about collaboration and working together and supporting each other,” O’Connor said. “We love improv. We are always hopeful that what we do matters to anyone as artists.”
What started as a small note in a basement-level comedy club has grown into so much more.
“He wants to support as much as we want to support and it's just a friendship and it's wonderful when you make a new friend,” said O’Connor.