CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Tickets have never sold so fast for the annual Jim Dent Dinner, the director of the Kanawha Pastoral Counseling Center said Friday. Sky Kershner said that out of 325 tickets only about five remain to attend the night of comedy, which is the center's largest fundraiser. It will be held at 6 p.m. Oct. 16 at Embassy Suites.Named for The Charleston Gazette's late humor columnist, who had a wide following in West Virginia, the occasion is known for its family-appropriate comedy guests. After Dent died 20 years ago, friends created the whimsical event in his memory to aid the counseling center.This year's humorist speaker is Ralph Hood, an author whom Oprah Winfrey called "a funny man."
Sometimes the event features political jokes, but this year Hood will create laughter telling stories about growing up in the South, Kershner said."Politics has become a difficult subject to joke about -- this is a safer choice," he said.The center, based at First Presbyterian Church with outlying branches, gives psychological care to more than 1,000 individuals, couples and families each year -- over half of them lacking health insurance and needing subsidized aid.Individual tickets are $75 each, half of which is tax-deductible. Businesses, agencies and churches often reserve tables or make larger gifts. Information can be obtained by phone at 304-346-9689 or through the center's website, www.kpcc.com/the-dent-dinner
.Hospitality is something the center values, Kershner said, so if you can't get a ticket, call ahead, and "we'll make room if we need to."