The International Myeloma Foundation used the power of celebrity and laughter to benefit the Peter Boyle Research Fund and support the Black Swan Research Initiative at the 7th annual Comedy Celebration, held at the Wilshire Ebell Theatre & Club in LA Nov. 9.
In 2006, Peter Boyle died after a four-year battle with myeloma, an incurable cancer of the bone marrow. The Peter Boyle Research Fund was set up in his name, and has benefitted IMF since its 2007 inception. The gala also turned its attention to the Black Swan Research Initiative, a unique project dedicated to finding the cure to myeloma.
Boyle’s former “Everybody Loves Raymond” co-star Ray Romano hosted the evening that honored Boyle while raising money for the fund. The show’s creator, writer and executive producer Philip Rosenthal took the stage to tell the story about the first time they met Boyle at his “Everybody Loves Raymond” audition — after someone had given him the wrong directions, sending him walking around Universal.
“He got lost for an hour, and it was a very hot day, so by the time he found us, he wasn’t just a movie star,” Rosenthal recalled. “He was a big, angry movie star. He looked at us and he just goes, ‘Which one is Rosenthal?’ And I said, ‘Him.’” Rosenthal then pointed to Romano, drawing laughs.
After Romano brought other “Raymond” cast members on stage, including Patricia Heaton and Monica Horan, he took some time to joke about his age and how important it is to have people in the medical field around him.
“I will be your friend if you’re a doctor,” he said. “I’m at a party and they introduce me to an orthopedic doctor, oh forget it. I’m going to invite him camping right there. I’m not gay, but if you’re a gay doctor, I don’t know. If you have an MRI machine…”
Comedian Jackie Hoffman poked fun at the Peacock. “I was last seen on a cancelled NBC series—woo, that’s redundant!,” she said. “I was on a cancelled NBC series called ‘The New Normal,’” she explained. “People would ask me, ‘Oh, ‘New Normal!’ That’s like ‘Modern Family,’ right?’ I said, ‘No, people watch ‘Modern Family.’’”
Bruce Vilanch, best known as the head writer for the Academy Awards, talked about the technology in his car radio. “I said ‘country music,’ and Garth Brooks came on,” he said. “I said ‘motown,’ and Diana Ross came on. And then a guy cut me off at Wilshire and Lucerne, and I said, ‘You miserable fucking idiot asshole troglodyte!’ And Senator Ted Cruz came on.”
The audience was also treated to a musical performance by David Crosby.
Though laughs were aplenty, IMF president Susie Novis reminded everyone of the reason they gathered there.
“Research is the key of the IMF mission, and at the center of our efforts are always the patients,” she said. “It’s for them that we are all working so hard to put an end to this terrible disease. “
Before the gala, there was also a cocktail reception and silent auction to raise funds.