Comedy Gives Back is a charity that provides comedians support in the form of healthcare, mental health services, substance abuse treatment and emergency financial relief grants when they are in need. As the world experiences these unprecedented times, the comedy business and comedians everywhere are faced with life changing hardships which is why I am happy to announce that the Comedy Gives Back team was back and this time they partnered up with some of the biggest names in comedy and the host platform, the Laugh Lounge mobile comedy app to raise money through a star studded, live streaming event, “Comedy Gives Back, Laugh Aid.” Laugh Aid and its partners raised over $368,000+ to help comedians impacted by COVID-19, who by the way can apply for $500 grants on comedygivesback.com. If you missed here, here’s everything that happened!
Jimmy Fallon opened the show from his kitchen then passed it over to our first host of the evening, Howie Mandel. Howie had some technical difficulties with the live stream but had no problems holding court with guests such as Iliza Shlesinger, Joel McHale and Dr. Ken Jeong. He also introduced a very funny skit starring the first person he ever used the gold button on, America’s Got Talent contestant, Drew Lynch. Drew played both the comedian and the heckler in his video and according to the YouTube comments he was a clear fan favorite.
The second hour was hosted by “America’s dad that didn’t go to jail,” Bob Saget. Bob introduced Jessica Kirson’s funny video about what life will be like for comedians in the future and had fun banter with Howie Mandel and Jo Koy, then welcomed special guests Kevin Pollack, David Spade, The Sklar Brothers with Dan VanKirk and Comedy Gives Back founders, Zoe Friedman, Jodi Lieberman and Amber J. Lawson. From there Saget brought Jeff Ross and Dave Attell into the lounge. These two legends may have been “three time zones apart” but they were still “Bumping Mics” as hard as ever! Up to this point in the evening Laugh Aid had been a very funny fund raiser but Jeff Ross and his makeshift face mask definitely made it a party!
The third hour was hosted by Whitney Cummings. She had great energy, was able to roll with the punches of streaming live and never let us see her sweat. Whitney brought Drew Carey on as her first guest and like the total professional he is, Drew had a few fun improv games ready that the audience could totally play along with then use again whenever we get bored during quarantine. Whitney even encouraged fans to film themselves playing these games with their families, then tag her and Drew Carey in them on social media. Craig Robinson played a song he recently composed and another one of my personal highlights and fan favorite in the YouTube comments was Bobby Lee and the funny and revealing games he played with his girlfriend. Whitney also had the honor of introducing the biggest star of the show, Adam Sandler and that segment ended up being not only the funniest part of her hour but the funniest part of the entire show! Bert Kreischer was hanging outside her house the entire time she was hosting, then once Sandler was introduced two things became abundantly clear. First, even though they practiced social distancing, Whitney Cummings is a saint for allowing Bert Kreischer into her home to share in the magical experience of getting to interview Adam Sandler. Second, Bert isn’t such a tough “machine” after all. Watching him completely fan girl out over Adam Sandler, then seeing Adam completely block Bert’s last and most heartfelt question of the interview was hilarious! Adam used the same matter-of-fact type of swagger that Jerry Seinfeld used when he blocked Kesha from getting a hug and it was hilarious! Whitney did an awesome job, Bert proved that he is human after all and Adam Sandler was a good sport for a great cause!
The fourth hour was hosted by comedian and sourdough bread baker extraordinaire, Tom Papa. After working out some technical difficulties Tom was able to introduce his first guest of the hour, Jim Gaffigan. Jim was very funny and even brought his kids in on the fun. Tom’s hour also featured Ray Romano running bits from his closet, Nate Bargatze & Kyle Kinane and their funny shtick about their life on the road, Gina Yashere shared some tips on how to stay germ free, Jim Norton told us why Covid19 never stood a chance at knocking him down and Gilbert Gottfried made us laugh with the funny promo he made for Comedy Gives Back. Tom Papa then brought out the hosts of the “Bill Bert Podcast” Bert Kreischer and Bill Burr to finish his hour with a slam dunk. Bill and Bert discussed the Gal Gadot “Imagine video,” Bert shared his ideas for a comedian centered mashup song, Bill Burr shared some quality financial advice that every young person who is just starting out in life should follow and the two of them proved to all of us that we should be tuning into “The Bill Bert Podcast.”
The fifth hour was hosted by Roy Wood Jr. who sported a tuxedo jacket, sipped on a glass of whiskey and kept the momentum moving throughout his hour. His first guest was the very funny Tom Segura who has his newest comedy special, “Ball Hog” streaming on Netflix right now. Roy and Tom had great chemistry which made their conversation one of the funniest and most authentic feeling segments of this entire event. Another highlight was when Corrine Fisher and Krystyna Hutchinson introduced Krystyna’s new puppy, Kevin McAllister to the world, played a game called “Dumb Bitch” which was inspired by the “Guys We F@$ked” podcast they cohost and told us why we can’t trust Krystyna around a litterbox. Roy Wood Jr. and Amanda Seales had some real talk and we learned the moment when Amanda realized Covid19 was a “virus virus,” and Adam Pally did a great job introducing Hannibal Buress. Hannibal is one of my favorites and he did not disappoint! He told us about his new career as a professional NBA 2K player and had one of the funniest off the cuff jokes of the night. Buress first appeared on screen wearing a mask over his face that was completely covered in rhinestones. Roy asked him about the mask, to which Hannibal replied, “I got this when I was a baby!” Roy Wood Jr. ended his hour with Paul Scheer, June Diane Raphael and Jason Mantzoukas the hosts of “How Did This Get Made” podcast before passing the torch to the final host of the evening, Patton Oswalt.
The sixth hour of the show started around 1:00am CST and was hosted by Patton Oswalt. His first guest, Ron Funches was both funny and inspirational which I’m sure attracted a lot of people to his podcast “Getting Better With Ron Funches” in which he tries to offer positivity and affirmations through his comedy. Kyle Ayers came on to play a fun game from his podcast, “Never Seen It” where we had to guess the name of a movie by the way his father describes the trailer, Brian Posehn found a way to make the weirdness of having to spend the past two weeks at home funny, Marc Maron came on, played his guitar and introduced several of the new characters he’s creating, then Patton Oswalt signed off and passed the baton to two of my favorite comedians, Dan Soder and Big Jay Oakerson.
Dan Soder and Big Jay Oakerson are the hosts of The Bonfire on SiriusXM Comedy Central Radio and as a very special treat, the Comedy Gives Back team had these guys live stream a mini episode of The Bonfire. Dan Soder and Big Jay were smart with their time and decided to invite two of their regular guests and fan favorites, Sal Vulcano and Joe DeRosa to join them. These four friends riffed off one another and ended the night with a hilarious wrap up of the event. Hearing Dan, Jay, Sal and Joe make fun of the way Bert Kreischer fawned over Adam Sandler, then come up with the idea that Sebastian Maniscalco would be applying to receive a grant from this foundation for a prosciutto fund while at the same time trying out their best impression of Sebastian (Jay won… he also does an impressive Gaffigan) was simply hilarious!!! They did not shy away from making fun of themselves either. Joe DeRosa pointed out that they got bumped to the graveyard shift of a comedy fundraiser, then Jay joined in and pointed out that Sal has a movie that is currently out in theaters with a wide release and is still having to do “Skype radio in footie pajamas” at 3:00am! Throughout their time slot The Bonfire guys kept the vibe slaphappy and silly, similar to that of being at a slumber party with a bunch of your favorite friends! It was a very smart and funny way to end the show… but there was one more special surprise in store for us before the official end of the night (morning?).
Russell Peters was waiting in the wings of his ginormous mansion to officially close the show and announce the grand total amount raised during the evening. Russell was also so generous as to say that anyone who donates to the Comedy Give Back, Laugh Aid and mentions his name in their donation, will receive 4 free tickets and V.I.P. treatment at one of his shows!
After all of the laughs, Russell Peters announced that the Comedy Gives Back team was able to raise over $355,000! Not bad for one night’s work! Congratulations and thank you for working so hard to support Comedy and comedians during their time of need. ✌🏼❤️🎭