Seth Rogen and friends dressed in their spiffiest prom attire and laughed for a good cause Friday night at the third annual Hilarity for Charity fundraiser presented by Genworth at the Hollywood Palladium.
The event, hosted by Rogen and his wife, Lauren Miller Rogen, raises money for Alzheimer’s causes in association with the Alzheimer’s Assn., including research studies, an online support group for Alzheimer’s caregivers under 40, awareness efforts including a campaign to raise awareness among women, and the organization’s Alzheimer’s and Dementia Care Relief Grant Program, which Miller Rogen excitedly announced onstage at the Palladium.
The grants, available for application here and given in association with Home Instead Senior Care, will go to support in-home care to help Alzheimer’s and dementia patients.
Rogen rolled through the carpet early in the evening, but remained in spirit, as he left behind a cardboard cutout outside for friends to take selfies with before heading into the party.
Rob Lowe, Kumail Nunjiani, Sarah Silverman, Marcia Gay Harden and noted Alzheimer’s activist Maria Shriver all followed Rogen on the carpet. Craig Robinson, whose elegantly simple reason for coming was “Seth asked me to” brought his band Craig Robinson and the Nasty Delicious with him, providing live music and entertainment throughout the evening.
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Weird Al took home the title of the prom outfit every else wishes they could’ve pulled off.
“Mulaney” actor and “Key and Peele” alum Zack Pearlman brought the beard on his way to enjoy the evening.
“Mad Men” and “Silicon Valley” actor Ben Feldman rushed straight from work on his new sitcom, NBC’s “A to Z,” to hold court on the red carpet.
Rogen took the stage in the Palladium to host the evening’s festivities in a white jacket, snazzy bowtie and sneakers, reminding the crowd quickly that he was not, in fact, a stand up comedian by bringing up an audience member to perform a hilarious scene he’d written for the show.
The first half of the show included Weird Al and his beautifully bizarre blue suit, Nanjiani’s stand up set that covered everything from his religion — “I was raised Muslim … Hold your applause” — to his parents’ disappointment with his career choice, “America’s Got Talent” magicians David and Leeman, and the always unpredictable and ever-hilarious Sarah Silverman. Two audience members got a special vantage point for the entertainment, as a professional auctioneer took the mic early in the evening to auction off the prize of prom king and queen, which included two plush seats positioned stage right and went for $3,600.
The Rogens took the stage together about halfway through the show, with Miller Rogen explaining the heartbreaking personal connection she has to Alzheimer’s Disease, as her 63-year-old mother is eight years into an early onset Alzheimer’s diagnosis.
Five million Americans live with Alzheimer’s, she told the crowd, a number expected to more than triple by 2050. The sixth leading cause of death in the U.S., Alzheimer’s Disease has no solution to cure or prevent it, Miller Rogen said, but Hilarity for Charity was doing its best to change that.
While the 2013 Hilarity for Charity fundraiser raised more than $400,000, by 10 p.m. in the evening, Miller Rogen announced, the 2014 event had already raised $850,000.
“That’s a big fuck you to Alzheimer’s,” she said.
They were hardly finished, either. The fun continued with producer-director extraordinaire Judd Apatow taking the stage with the show’s auctioneer to kick off the live auction portion of the evening. Apatow quickly got things going by raising money on the promise that he would sing Blood, Sweat and Tears’ “Spinning Wheel,” which he did with gusto.
The duo followed that by auctioning a $50 bill for $1,000, a donation which Apatow promised to match, and the stakes rose from there. A painting session with artist Curtis Kulig and Seth Rogen — “Doesn’t even have to be for you, it can be for your kid, if you ever wanted your kid to get high with Seth,” said Apatow — went for $8,000. A dinner cooked by “Top Chef” winner Michael Voltaggio and Rogen took in $25,000, and the ultimate Jimmy Buffett experience, including a personal Buffett performance at the home of the winner, topped off the live auction for $46,000.
Joseph Gordon-Levitt took the mic next and, after telling the crowd that he remembered seeing Rage Against the Machine in the theater in his adolescence, burst into an inspiring performance of No Doubt’s “Just a Girl,” peppered in with some comments on the importance of working for progress in women’s rights.
After comedian Bill Burr joked with the crowd about sports and the presidency, Rogen turned the show over to R&B and hip hip group Bell Biv DeVoe, who got the crowd on their feet and carried the party into the night.
By that time, the event was nearing $1 million to support Alzheimer’s efforts, a surefire success for the third annual show. For more information about the cause, organization and how to get involved, visit www.hilarityforcharity.org.