Ceremony doubles as fundraiser for 111 Second Avenue

“One of the most moving and wonderful nights. This makes the pat down at the airport worth it,” joked honoree Billy Crystal at Monday’s NYU Tisch School of the Arts gala. The event raised money for scholarships and renovation of 111 Second Avenue.

Crystal reminisced about the East Village building: “My father produced jazz there known as the Sessions. He died suddenly in 1963 and when I signed on to go to NYU in ’68, my orientation was in that building and it’s now a dance studio and needs renovation badly. So tonight is personal.”

Robin Williams, a Juilliard grad, joked about the two schools’ rivalry: “We never had a football team but if they did they’d only be wide receivers and tight ends.”

Despite Crystal’s warning, Williams told another joke: “What’s the worst thing about going down on Willie Nelson? Hearing someone say, ‘I’m not Willie Nelson.’” It got a laugh, and Crystal approved. – — Stephen Schaefer

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