Before 2015, I’m not sure if I’d be able to tell you the last time I saw a live comedian. It’s not that I don’t like comedians; it’s just that I haven’t been to a comedy show in a very long time.

This year is the exception. I’ve seen three very reputable comedians this year and it’s been a blessing to see all three of them. Here’s why.

The only present that Logan, one of my twin 13 year-old sons, wanted for his birthday this year was Brian Regan tickets. And apparently when you turn 13, you run out of creative ideas for birthday presents so naturally a lot of tweeners and teenagers end up with money. We were lucky that Logan wanted Brian Regan tickets but he made it very clear he wanted them by constantly asking about them. Naturally I played dumb every single time…until he came from school on a Friday (the day before his birthday) and I told him he had 5 minutes to get ready since we had a 2-hour drive ahead of us to Omaha, Nebraska.

thoroughly enjoyed my one-on-one time with him from all of the movie and music trivia questions he grilled me with en route to the concert to the late-night dinner we managed to grab at Culver’s. It was some great father-son bonding.

Shortly after the Brian Regan show, which was amazing, Jim Gaffigan suddenly appeared on all of our children’s radar screens. Now our family has listened to most of his albums (as well as Brian Regan’s) and I think based on Logan’s experience at Brian Regan’s show, let’s just say all three of our boys wanted to see Jim Gaffigan.

After we explained that money doesn’t grow on trees and that they’d need to raise the money themselves, the boys quickly got to work – hitting us up and their grandparents for “commission-based” jobs to do around the house to make some money. To be honest with you, I was astonished at how quickly they raised the funds and it was a few weeks later that I plunked down the money to buy 5 tickets to see Jim Gaffigan in Cedar Rapids, Iowa.

We were super blessed to score 3 row seats in the parquet just off the stage and a hilarious night of laughter ensued the first of August. And we thoroughly enjoyed the opener, Ted Alexandro. Note: Cedar Rapids is probably a great town to live in…maybe not the best town to visit.

Around this same time, the pastor of our church invited us to join his family at a Tim Hawkins comedy concert in Newton, Iowa (see my note about Cedar Rapids). “Sign us up!” we said, handing him a check to cover the tickets. So over the weekend we visited Community Heights Alliance Church and enjoyed an evening filled with laughter listening to Tim Hawkins and John Branyan.

Our family LOVES to laugh and that’s something we do a lot of around our home. We are blessed with very witty children who have a great sense of humor. With that said, thank you Brian Regan, Jimm Gaffigan, Ted Alexandro, Tim Hawkins and John Branyan for sharing your gifts with our family (and for not dropping too many, if any, 4-letter words during your set).