Starring: Chris Rock, Ray Romano, Kevin James, Garry
Shandling, and David Spade
Hosted by: Doris Roberts
On Saturday, March 19, 2005 at The Wilshire Theatre on Beverly Hills, the 3rd Annual "A Night of Comedy" was held to raise money for CAAF (Children Affected by AIDS Foundation). Some of the biggest stars of comedy came out to show their support for this wonderful organization that raises money to provide children who are afflicted with HIV and AIDS a better quality of life. Attendees of the event donated generously to The CAAF Camp Network. The Children Affected by AIDS Foundation funds HIV/AIDS camps throughout the United States for the support of their three-day, four-day, and week-long summer camp sessions. The majority of the camps that CAAF funds are specifically for children, but there are select camps serving HIV-impacted families that receive funding as well.
At 8pm, Doris Roberts of "Everybody Loves Raymond" appeared on stage to give a brief overview of the night's events and to share her personal experiences as an Event Co-Chair for A Night of Comedy 3. The evening was emceed by her TV son, Ray Romano. He warmed up the crowd by talking about his post-Raymond life, and introducing both his television wife, Patricia Heaton, who was in the crowd and his real wife. Ray commented that he doesn't sleep with either of them, although somehow he managed to have 4 kids ;-). After Ray Romano's first set, David Spade took the stage for about 20 minutes. David was hilarious! One of my favorite sets of the night! He echoed my thoughts exactly on LA freeway traffic, airplane travel and spoiled celebrities.
At one point he made a comment about heavy people sitting next to him on an airplane. He commented: "Sometimes they tighten up when they're sitting next to you like it might not be a problem (sucking his body in) and you're like, this might be alright... until the flight takes off and they loosen up (spreading out his body) and you think - who pulled the string on this life raft?" I was sitting in a row with all press and one man sitting beside me was extremely heavy and I squirmed in my seat at the thought that he would be hurt or offended and he laughed and enjoyed the joke for what is was - A Joke! So, there ya go. Someone who is not afraid to laugh at himself. I think more of us need to be that way. We take things WAY too seriously in our culture. I'm Jewish and I'll laugh at Jewish jokes, I'm short and I'll laugh at short jokes, I'm a girl and I'll laugh at female jokes. Why? Because they're jokes! Laughter brings people together and breaks down barriers. So, let's digress to set something straight: Rap Music is not supposed to be taken literally; it is poetry and poetry is symbolic. Humor is not supposed to be taken literally; they are exaggerations that are based on real life circumstances and are meant to be taken as such, to illustrate a point. Ok, let's move on
David Spade then went on to express his jealousy towards the Cambodian boy who Angelina Jolie adopted, wishing he could be so intimate with Jolie. He went on to talk about his mother's fascination with him being in Hollywood. She leaves messages on his voicemail of this variety: "Davie, what's going on with J.Lo? Call me." "Does Angelina Jolie drink blood? Call me." "Britney Spears just got married. Call me." He wrapped up his set with his mother's shopping trips to Costco where she stockpiles her house goods, stating that he himself "would only go there once a year during Armageddon."
Next up was Garry Shandling who had the tightest set of the night. This is the first time I had ever seen Garry Shandling perform stand up comedy and I can say he is phenomenal! His style is somewhat deadpan and echoes some of the self deprecation of Richard Lewis. He proclaimed, "I won't, have never, and would never sleep with a married woman which is why I guess I'm not married." He also spoke about performing in Las Vegas and his love of gambling and that he likes to get warmed up "by throwing coins out the car window on the way there." And let's face it, what's the difference? He went on to say, "I'm sure I'm not gonna see four sevens in my speedometer either." Good Point! Gambling is a sucker's game, and the worst thing that can happen to an individual is for them to win big on their first shot. That gets you hooked, always chasing that high. If you've won big once, it ain't happening again at least not for a long time. Feel good that you beat the system and move on with your life. He then went on to talk about the movie, "The Passion of the Christ." Being Jewish, he said, "I guess according to "The Passion of the Christ" we killed Christ. I was hoping we could keep it under wraps." That got an uproarious laugh. Was it laughter at the fact that that accusation was ludicrous and antagonistic on Mel Gibson's behalf or was it nervous laughter coming from a crowd of mixed opinions and ideas? He went on to say, "Now I've gotta be braced for those civil [law] suits." He artfully paces back and forth making stream of consciousness observations about life, religion and relationships and he does it to perfection. He commented on all of the money going to the Catholic Church, "When you see the Pope's car, you have to wonder where all the money is going, and you know that thing depreciates the minute they drive it off the lot." Although his topics were controversial, his comedic style draws you in and disarms you and all is forgiven by the gentle tone of his voice.
Chris Rock took the stage next and I have to say in all honesty, I was disappointed in his performance. I love his work and was expecting him to live up to the performances I've seen on HBO and the live performance I took in at Madison Square Garden last year - they were fantastic. On this night, he seemed distracted, even perhaps upset about something. He continuously glanced at his notes, becoming sidetracked and beckoning the audience for topic suggestions. Someone as talented as he is, could certainly never be not funny, but he was ill-prepared. Perhaps he was still decompressing from his stint hosting the Oscar Ceremony a few weeks before. One of the interesting topics Chris did cover was the self-importance of these entertainment awards ceremonies. I couldn't agree more. The $50,000 dresses, the million dollars worth of jewelry, the "Who are you wearing?" It's enough to make me lose my lunch! There are people starving in this country, there are people over in Iraq fighting for their lives, there are people working two and three jobs to support their families, and these people are talking about, "Who are you wearing???" I want to see someone win an award on TV for creating world peace, curing a disease, teaching children to read get my point?
And I support this event because it is helping children and families who are dealing with HIV and AIDS on a daily basis and bringing some hope into their lives. These programs that CAAF raises money for are building morale and bringing joy to those who felt that joy had left their lives. That brings me joy.
Last year's A Night of Comedy 2 event was so successful, it raised over $260,000. Since its inception, CAAF has raised more than $20 million to support the basic needs, healthcare, social and recreational needs of children impacted by HIV/AIDS. Its mission is to make a positive difference in the lives of children infected with this deadly disease.
CAAF was founded in Los Angeles in 1993 by Joe Cristina, an executive at Mattel, Inc. whose desire to help children was inspired by the outpouring of support he received when he disclosed his own HIV + status. The US Government estimates that there are approximately 16,000 American children infected with HIV. It is also estimated that there are nearly 80,000 American children who have been orphaned by the AIDS-related deaths of their parents.
For more information on The Children Affected by AIDS Foundation (CAAP),
The Children Affected by AIDS Foundation's PR.com Company Profile