‘Somerset Saturday Night’ Benefits Township School PTOs

Jessica Sager and Dan Bocchino prior to the Feb. 24 “Saturday Night Somerset” benefit at the East Franklin Volunteer Fire Department hall.

Laughs were the order of the night at the third annual “Somerset Saturday Night” fundraiser held Feb. 24 at the East Franklin Volunteer Fire Department hall on Pine Grove Avenue.

The event was a fundraiser for a handful of township school PTOs and school-affiliated groups: MacAfee Road School, Pine Grove Manor School, Hillcrest School, Sampson G. Smith School, Franklin Middle School, Project Graduation, and several other groups.

Originally conceived as a fundraiser for MacAfee by Don Bocchino, co-president of the MacAfee PTO, the event this year was expanded to include the other schools.

That also boosted the number of tickets sold to about 130, Bocchino said.

“It’s a night of comics, performances, bring your own food and drink,” he said.

Among the four featured performers was township native – and former MacAfee student – Jessica Sager.

Bocchino said that he’s been a “part-time” stand-up comedian for a number of years, and three years ago decided to produce his own show as a fundraiser for the PTO.

“I wanted to have that family feeling, have a crowd that wants to be there and will be receptive to comedians,” he said.

The performers, he said, are “people that I’ve done shows with in the past. Everybody’s very willing to do a show when it’s a fundraiser. They come from mostly North Jersey.”

Although they both have Franklin in common, Bocchino and Sager did not meet in the township, he said.

“I met him through stand-up,” she said.

Sager, who most recently opened up for comedian Andrew “Dice” Clay in New York, has been a stand-up for about the last four years, she said.

The idea that she cold be a comedian didn’t come to her until she was an adult, she said.

“I was at jury duty,” Sager said. “During the voir dire (the questioning of potential jurors by attorneys) I was being very honest, but everybody was laughing at everything I said. I thought, maybe I could do something with that.”

A member of the Franklin High School Class of 2005, Sager’s main job is as a reporter for the New York Post, which, she said, she got after someone from the Post saw her act.

She started writing funny videos, and now writes for the paper’s entertainment section, Sager said.

“I mainly handle celebrity and entertainment,” she said. “It’s a lot of fun, sometimes its not fun when you have to write things that are kind of dark, but at the same time I get to write about Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson and get paid for it.”

Sager said her performance at the event “is a lot of fun, and sort of like a homecoming. It’s fun.”

In addition to Bocchino and Sager, also performing were John Kim, Grisel Cabrera and Mike Hollan.


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