Maybe laughter really is the best medicine.
Comics like Adam Carolla, Joel McHale and Aziz Ansari set to find out when the honored latenight star Jimmy Kimmel November 16 at Avalon Hollywood for Variety’s Power of Comedy gala to benefit the Noreen Fraser Foundation (see video highlights of the event).
Emcee Jeffrey Ross got the ball rolling with what he does best, roasting Kimmel with lines like “in your honor we have some of the funniest and most respected comedians that where available on a Saturday night” and referencing “Jimmy Kimmel Live’s!” recent scandal by saying “Jimmy’s been in a lot of hot water lately. But enough about Oprah’s hot tub.”
Ross was followed by McHale and Carolla, who toasted their friend with Johnnie Walker, and sets from comics Kevin Nealon, Dana Gould, Jon Daly, David Spade and Ansari.
Paul Scheer and Adam Pally found a creative way to auction off an Xbox One signed by the performers: heckle the audience with taunts like “if you buy a table at a charity event, you had a lot of money” and “I know for a fact that my managers are here tonight and they make enough to bid on this.”
Adam Scott and Will Arnett offered more heartfelt tributes – as did those who couldn’t attend, but submitted videos like Ben Affleck, Robin Williams. Kimmel’s ex-girlfriend, Sarah Silverman, sent a special video message from her crotch.
But, of course, Kimmel wasn’t the only reason people came to the event that night.
“I don’t believe in the cure; I’m sick of hearing about the cure and I hate pink,” said Noreen Fraser, who is not only the founder and CEO of her eponymous nonprofit that raises funds for women’s cancer research, but who is also battling breast cancer. “There is probably not going to be a cure, but putting money into research is going to find … new, less toxic treatments in drugs that will allow a person who is taking the medicine to have a good quality of life that will turn the cancer into a manageable disease, much like diabetes. It is going to become a disease that you can live with.”
Kimmel acknowledged this in his acceptance speech, thanking Variety for making him the “face of cancer” before signing out by singing Neil Diamond’s “Heartlight.”
Ross ended the night with a nod to Kimmel’s ABC show, by saying “apologies to Matt Damon, we ran out of time.”