Sarah Silverman didn’t hold back in her performance at the Friends of the Saban Community Clinic Annual Dinner Gala at the Beverly Hilton in L.A. Nov. 26. Still, even she had to give pause a couple of times.
“I shouldn’t mention Walt Disney being a Holocaust denier in this room, right?” she asked the audience. “I’m being a hypocrite because I’m in a Disney movie, but if they do not make a sequel to ‘Wreck-It Ralph,’ I will speak my mind.”
The event honored Showtime Networks Inc. president of entertainment David Nevins and attorney Eric Siegel for their work at L.A.’s Saban Community Clinic, the longest continually running free clinic in the nation.
The evening also served as a fundraiser for the clinic, and according to Friends of the Saban Community Clinic board president Peter Benedek, the night had served its purpose, raising over $1.3 million.
“This is one of our most successful dinners yet,” he said. “We got the money before anything else happened!”
Don Cheadle and Kristen Bell of Showtime’s “House of Lies,” hosted the gala together.
“For those of you who haven’t seen ‘House of Lies,’ our characters are part of a team of ruthless management consultants who stop at nothing to get business done,” Cheadle explained to the room full of entertainment industry execs. “I guess that’s why we’re so comfortable in this room.”
However, Bell reassured the audience that their characters couldn’t be more unlike the crowd of charitable professionals before them.
Dinner chair and WME’s head of television Rick Rosen also took out some time to talk about Nevins. A cardboard cutout of another dinner chair and appointed chairman of television at Fox Broadcasting Company Kevin Reilly accompanied him—according to Rosen, he was supposed to be there, but he was too busy watching “The Voice.”
He didn’t remove his tongue from cheek when it was time to talk about Nevins.
“His track record speaks for itself. He’s been behind such seminal shows as ‘Sex and the City,’ ‘Entourage,’ ‘Boardwalk Empire,’” he listed HBO shows, then paused in front of the confused audience. “Oh wait, wrong speech. Sorry!”
Siegel got plenty of kudos as well. Legendary Entertainment head of television and digital media Bruce Rosenblum is a longtime friend of Siegel, so he had plenty of ammo.
“Our families have traveled together,” he said. “I can proudly say that Eric taught my son John about prostitutes in France when John was nine years old.”
Silverman continued the roast, admitting that she wasn’t too friendly with Nevins, but she did spoon him during a pitch meeting. Apparently, he “took it like a champ.”
The comedienne went on to explain that she couldn’t say no to performing at an event for such a good cause, as she has such a huge heart.
“I see those ads on TV with the kids in Africa with the flies and the big bellies, and these are one and two year-old-babies, nine months pregnant, and it breaks my heart,” she joked. “And I don’t give money because I don’t want them to spend it on drugs.”
The Beverly Hilton was host to another very famous face: President Barack Obama. Though he was not at the gala (he was attending a fundraiser at, coincidentally, Haim Saban’s Beverly Hills home), he was a guest at the hotel, and his presence was very much felt. The Affordable Care Act was fair game for all those who spoke, including dinner chair Ellen Hoberman of Hansen, Jacobson, Teller, Hoberman, Newman, Warren, Richman, Rush & Kaller, LLP.
Hoberman’s husband, Tom, “faced a serious health challenge a few months ago,” she explained. “He looked at me one day and said, ‘Jeez. I could be dead or bankrupt without my health insurance.’ That makes you think, doesn’t it? Life or death decided because of one’s ability to afford health insurance. As I’ve said for the past 25 years, health care is a right for all, and not a privilege of the few.”
The evening closed with a three-song performance from The Fray and a speech by Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti.