Josh Radnor, Judd Apatow and Christina Hendricks and other stars gathered Sept. 29 to not only enjoy a lovely brunch at the private estate of Ron Burkle, but to support a noble cause: The Rape Foundation’s 19th annual brunch.
The celebrities posed for photos and conducted interviews in front of Burkle’s rose garden and courtyard, and hobnobbed over cocktails before the brunch.
David Schwimmer served as MC, as he did last year, and introduced hosts Emily Deschanel and Radnor, but not without poking a little fun at them first.
“He loves theater so much so that he says he’s made a commitment to himself to doing a play each year, so he can, quote, ‘hold onto his soul,’” Schwimmer said of Radnor. “Josh, it’s almost October, and I haven’t seen you in anything. I think this little stage here qualifies. So in just a few moments, we can all congratulate ourselves for saving Josh Radnor’s soul.”
Albert Brooks continued the laughs, acknowledging his brother, Cliff Einstein, for his involvement with the Rape Treatment Center for the past 30 years.
“Now, a lot of you are saying, ‘What do you mean, your brother Cliff Einstein? You’re Albert Brooks,’” he went on. “I was born with the name Albert Einstein. I asked my parents, ‘Did you have any idea he figured out the universe? Was Jesus Christ taken?’”
He also took time to make fun of Apatow, who attended the event in a simple flannel shirt and a pair of khakis, while everyone else was considerably better dressed. Brooks joked that Apatow was planning on painting the house later.
Apatow got his turn on stage, and questioned Gail Abarbanel, president of The Rape Foundation, on her choice of speakers at the event.
“I’m not sure why Gail asked so many comedians to speak,” he said. “This is a difficult event to be funny in, and I feel like Gale is maybe playing some sort of elaborate practical joke on all of us that only she understands.”
Abarbanel, however, later explained that she believes comedians can offer deeper insight, and making people laugh opens them up to looking deeper at themselves.
It wasn’t all laughs though. Eric McCormack even brought a few audiences members to tears during his speech, speaking about the suicide of a 12-year-old girl after she was continually harassed.
“My wife and I sat down and we talked with our son,” he said. “We told him that, in the years to come, if he ever saw or was aware of these kinds of behaviors and did nothing, he wouldn’t just be a witness. He would be an accomplice.”
“We need to teach them about how to deal with peer pressure to do the wrong thing, but also, we need to teach them to be the guys who create pressure amongst their peers to do the right thing,” he continued.
Writer-producer Norman Lear also took the stage to campaign for donations to build a larger facility for The Rape Foundation’s Stuart House program with the incentive of having part of the hospital named after them. Apatow offered $50,000 for a janitor’s closet to have his name.
“I’m really so sorry, Judd, we just don’t have a janitor’s closet,” Lear responded. “But how about a janitor’s toilet?”
One attendee even donated $100,000 on the spot.