Five Novembers ago, Toronto comedian Pat Thornton accepted a bonkers dare: get onstage and perform stand-up for 24 hours. The goal wasn't just to prove he could stay standing—the challenge was made as part of the Stephen Lewis Foundation's Dare Campaign, which supports grassroots organizations fighting HIV/AIDS in Africa. Since that first year, Pat Thornton’s 24 Hours of Stand-Up for Africa has raised over $50,000, and will hopefully almost match that total this Friday: Thornton has set a goal of $48,000 for this year's event alone, meaning he needs to raise $2000 for every hour he'll spend on the Comedy Bar stage. With his fifth annual marathon just a few days away—the show begins Friday, November 29 at 7:00pm and runs until Saturday, November 30 at 7:00pm—Thornton told us about his stand-up strategies, what he hopes to achieve this time around, and ordering Swiss Chalet.
 
What are you most excited about as you gear up to your five-year anniversary?
I'm always excited. This event is the silliest thing you'll ever see. As physically hard as it is, it's also SO MUCH FUN. This year I'm probably most excited for the 15 hours of Rob Ford jokes ahead. 
 
What do you do to physically prepare to be onstage for 24 hours?
Try to bank sleep the week leading up, try to sleep in the day of the event. I want to say I eat especially healthy, but I just had a McRib. 
 
How do you avoid running out of things to say?
The key to my success is that the material is crowd-sourced. I have comedian friends (and members of the public) in the room writing jokes for me, as well as people tweeting from home, so I never run out of things to say. Come on down and get involved or watch on Pats24hrs.com and tweet jokes with the hashtag #Pats24hrs.
 
What's the hardest part about being up there for so long?
I don't know, all of it? It's the strangest experience. It's so exhausting, it destroys my voice, it's hard to stand for that long (I usually sit for a bit, last year only about 45 mins—not bad). But it's so fun none of that matters. 
 
What's the single craziest thing that's happened in your past four years of doing this?
This question is easy. The craziest thing that happened is in the second year we got on this trend of writing Kevin Sorbo jokes. There were about 20 hours of jokes about how Kevin Sorbo (TV's Hercules) was broke and eating garbage and kept bees in his mouth, etc. Months later, Gary Rideout Jr., the owner of Comedy Bar, brought Sorbo in for a weekend he billed "The Kevin Sorbo Garbage Weekend." How did Hercules agree to that? How is any of that real? 
 
Describe how you feel around Hour 23.
Hour 23's not bad. I can see the end of the tunnel, the room is full of people, and the energy is high. My brain has stopped working (it stops somewhere around hour 15?) so I just read jokes and I'm so tired I laugh way too much. 
 
What do you do to wind down once it's all over?
I go home and order Swiss Chalet and usually put on an action movie and then I pass out forever. The first year, I streamed the whole thing with my laptop, and when I got home and opened it again I didn't realize that the stream was still up. 60 people watched me in my apartment ordering Swiss Chalet.
 
What have you learned over the past four years of doing this?
Uh oh, it's about to get mushy. I've learned that people like to help. People don't always motivate themselves to do charitable things, but everybody wants to do good. Doing good feels good, and I've learned that a community of people can do amazing things. The support I've had in doing this is unreal. So many people donating their time and energy and senses of humour. This city is full of hilarious people, btw. Who all like to go on this ridiculous journey together to the other side of weird. Honestly, if you've never seen this show, check it out. I can't explain how crazy it is. 
 
What are your hopes and dreams for this year's show?
My dream is to hit my outlandish goal of $48,000. And to deliver over 500 jokes about Doug Ford literally being a shark. 
 
How can people get involved?
Come on down and write jokes for me, or watch on Pats24hrs.com and tweet jokes with the hashtag #Pats24hrs. But I'm not going to lie, this is all about making money to help people, so the best way to get involved is to donate. If you can't donate, or even if you can, ask your parents to donate...a lot of parents have money.
 
Pat Thornton's 24 Hours of Stand-Up for Africa will take place this Friday, November 29 at 7:00pm until Saturday, November 30 at 7:00pm at Comedy Bar in Toronto. Come-and-go access to the event is $10. Donations can be made at Pats24hrs.com or by texting DARE to 45678.