ETSU hosts benefit comedy show for Ukraine

Published 8:30 am Wednesday, August 30, 2023

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East Tennessee State University alumnus Yaroslav (Yaro) Hnatusko has worked tirelessly since February 2022 to provide support for his home country of Ukraine through the nonprofit organization Restore Ukraine, which he founded with his brother.
Though he has already allocated more than $2 million worth of humanitarian aid to vulnerable Ukrainian communities, his efforts to provide support haven’t stopped.
He is continuing to provide assistance to a cause that means so much to him by organizing a benefit comedy show, where every purchased ticket will bring remote and abandoned communities much closer to critical aid.
The NINE NINE SHOW, presented by ETSU’s Office of Leadership and Civic Engagement in collaboration with Young Professionals of Johnson City, is not only a night of laughter but also a chance to make a meaningful impact.
The goal of the night is to collect $18,000, which Restore Ukraine will use to ship two 40-foot containers with humanitarian supplies from the United States to Ukraine.
Comedy Central’s award-winning comedian Paul Ogata will make his Johnson City debut and headline the 99-minute comedy special. Joining Ogata on stage are Minori Hinds, Keith Marcell and Mason Guidry, each bringing a unique comedic flare to the event. Yaro and Gary Jackson of Hip to Be Square Comedy will emcee the show.
The public event is scheduled for Saturday, September 9, at 9 p.m. in the D.P. Culp Student Center on the ETSU campus, immediately following the ETSU vs. Carson-Newman University football game.
General admission tickets are available for $20, offering first-come, first-serve seating. VIP tickets, priced at $50, include a post-show meet and greet with the comedians, along with premier reserved seating. This event is open to the public. For more information and to purchase tickets, visit To learn more about Restore Ukraine, visit
From ETSU graduate Kenny Chesney to star Jason Derulo, the university regularly brings elite talent to the region.

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