Cubs yuk it up at Rizzo's fundraiser

Teammates test improv skills at 'Laugh-Off for Cancer'

Cubs yuk it up at Rizzo's fundraiser

CHICAGO -- As fans are well aware, the Cubs last won the World Series in 1908. Or, as catcher David Ross likes to call it, "the year of my senior prom."

That joke got a good laugh Thursday night from the crowd of 200 at Anthony Rizzo's second "Laugh-Off for Cancer" event, a fundraiser hosted by the Cubs first baseman to help raise money in the battle against pediatric cancer.

The cause is personal for Rizzo, who was diagnosed with Hodgkin lymphoma in 2008 when he was a Minor Leaguer in the Red Sox organization. Now, he's a two-time All-Star, and the driving force behind the Anthony Rizzo Family Foundation, which has raised more than $1 million through various events, including a 5K walk in his hometown of Parkland, Fla.

Rizzo definitely appreciates the support.

"It just shows the city rallying around its teams and the players," Rizzo said. "We're raising money for a great cause, and that's the biggest thing. This event will be bigger than last year and we continue to grow as a foundation, and that's what we want to do and help as many families as we can."

Actors from the Second City took part in the event -- and were the ones who razzed Ross, who took it well. Guests at Studio Paris also were treated to a magic act as well as a performance by comedian Brody Stevens, who closes out weekend shows at the Comedy Store in Los Angeles. Stevens is close friends with Cubs coach Mike Borzello.

The Second City crew poked fun at the Cubs' No. 1 rivals, saying the "Cardinals' Way now means losing your most important free agent to the Cubs weeks after getting beaten by them in the playoffs," referring to Jason Heyward.

The comedians also predicted that Cubs manager Joe Maddon will follow up last year's pajama trip with swimsuit press conferences and tutu Tuesdays.

Rizzo, Ross and teammates Jason Hammel, John Lackey, Jake Arrieta, Travis Wood, Kyle Schwarber and Justin Grimm took part in improv sketches with the Second City actors.

Who's the funniest Cub?

"David Ross, hands down," Rizzo said. "He just has a way about him, being able to light up a room. Jake Arrieta's funny. [Jon] Lester's funny -- I don't know how, but he is. [Addison Russell is] really funny."

Rizzo predicted Ross would be teased about his age -- he turns 39 in March -- and that Lester might be targeted because he claims to be a cowboy but was born in Washington state. Were any topics off limits?

"We had to revise some stuff," Rizzo said. "We are all still teammates and friends and love each other. It's for a good cause. The guys don't know what they're walking into -- it's all improv. Whatever happens, happens."

Carrie Muskat is a reporter for MLB.com. She writes a blog, Muskat Ramblings. You can follow her on Twitter @CarrieMuskat and listen to her podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.