The Friends of the Saban Community Clinic held their 38th annual dinner gala at the Beverly Hilton on Monday night, honoring president of Viacom Entertainment Group Doug Herzog and president of Cerrell Associates Lisa Gritzner with awards for their support of and commitment to the clinic.
“South Park” producer Anne Garefino introduced longtime friend and collaborator Herzog, emphasizing his selflessness and grace under pressure. Herzog credited his community activist parents with instilling in him a deep-seated inclination to serve others, especially those less fortunate. His team at Comedy Central put together a “bad lip reading” video that paired clips from Herzog’s most well-known projects (“South Park,” “The Daily Show,” “The Colbert Report”) with ridiculous lines about his character. Though the video may have missed its mark with older attendees unfamiliar with the YouTube sensation, Herzog himself seemed to be tickled.
The evening’s entertainment was provided by comedian Jim Gaffigan and musician Ingrid Michaelson, with Chris Hardwick serving as emcee. Gaffigan spent about 10 minutes riffing on his pale skin and his shameful love for donuts (and the time he smuggled a box of them past airport security). His new television project will air on both Comedy Central and TV Land in the upcoming months, and Gaffigan jokingly promised that the show “will change the landscape of television.”
Michaelson delighted the crowd with hit singles “The Way I Am” and “Girls Chase Boys,” along with an impressive rendition of Elvis’ “Can’t Help Falling in Love,” infusing the cover with jazzy vocal acrobatics (which prompted Hardwick to say, “Suck it, Elvis!”).
Sean Hayes also narragted the story of Michael, one of the clinic’s patients. Hayes explained that he and Michael had once been on the same path, both moving to Los Angeles to pursue a career in showbiz. Michael, however, suffered a spinal injury that derailed his plans and left him homeless. Over several years, the Saban Community Clinic treated Michael’s ailments and provided him with such support that he was able to reclaim control of his future. Michael now has an apartment, a cat and a job as a driver; he sits on the board of the clinic as a consulting patient. His story elicited a standing ovation from guests.
The evening raised upward of $1.4 million for the clinic, which provides free health care to low-income and uninsured patients, including the homeless. Since its inception in 1967 as the Los Angeles Free Clinic, the organization has grown to include three health centers around L.A. and now facilitates around 90,000 patient visits annually.
Ellen Hoberman, Tom Hoberman and HBO’s Michael Lombardo chaired the event with honorary chairs Viacom’s Philippe Dauman, Ziffren Brittenham partner Sam Fischer and HBO’s Richard Plepler.