A week after Tom Parks learned he had diabetes, the comedian was finishing dinner with friends. The well-intentioned waitress came over, smiled and asked, "How 'bout dessert? We got an apple pie that will kill you!"
The disease is no laughing matter for an estimated 11 million diabetics, but Parks, now the American Diabetes Association's national spokesman, decided that humor might help. Tomorrow, 40 clubs in 30 states are scheduled to participate in the Comedy Crusade Against Diabetes, with proceeds from the night's performances to go to ADA. Parks is hopeful the event will raise $100,000 and lay the groundwork for a yearly Crusade.
Because ADA headquarters is based here, the center of the Crusade will be at the Warner Theatre. "It's a mixed evening of comedy with several different styles. We've got foreigners, minorities and women," Parks says. The foreigner -- and main attraction -- is Graham Chapman, who was with the English comedy troupe "Monty Python's Flying Circus." Currently, Chapman is touring American campuses giving "lectures" which he insists are "most educational." Chapman, a former medical student, plans to do a sketch about medicine. "It's about the cruelty of surgeons and the excesses surgery," he says.
Franklyn Ajaye, Nora Dunn of "Saturday Night Live" and Kip Addotta will also be performing. The show begins at 8 p.m. For ticket information, call 626-1050.