Stars and execs turned out to the Beverly Hilton on Monday night to honor FX Network president John Landgraf and Showtime’s EVP of corporate communications Trisha Cardoso at the Saban Community Clinic’s 40th annual dinner gala honors.
Aisha Tyler, star of FX’s “Archer,” hosted the evening and delivered a scorching, politically bent stand-up routine. She was joined onstage throughout the night by FX’s “Baskets” star Louie Anderson (who also performed stand-up), John Stamos, Ewan McGregor, Danny DeVito, and a performance by L.A.-based indie rockers Young the Giant.
The night also included a memorial to longtime Saban supporter Garry Marshall. Stamos introduced the memorial using Marshall’s greeting of, “Hello, rich people!” Marshall’s wife, Barbara, appeared on stage also to honor her late husband.
Cardoso was honored with the Lenny Somberg Award for her 20 years of volunteering for the clinic, presented to her by former boss John Wentworth.
“I burst into tears,” Cardoso told Variety of her reaction when she first learned of the honor. “Because this award is for volunteering, this is particularly meaningful for me.”
“I love Trisha, she’s fantastic,” comedy icon Chuck Lorre said of the honoree and his longtime philanthropy partner. “She helps me tremendously with my own foundation and she helped me set up ‘The Big Bang Theory’ scholarship at UCLA. So she’s been an extraordinary asset in my personal philanthropic journey and this is a well-deserved honor for her, from a great organization.”
“It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia” star Charlie Day roasted Landgraf in an introductory video that left the crowd in stitches. The video was followed by an introduction from DeVito about how he and Landgraf’s long-standing friendship was cemented over a laugh-filled moonlit night spent together farting in a pool.
One topic which every guest echoed was the secret to FX’s enormous success: Landgraf’s hands-off approach to the creative process.
“He’s built a brand at FX that’s defined by creative risk-taking,” Fox co-chair and CEO Dana Walden told the crowd.
“I think they don’t bother you when you make something creative. They let it ride,” recent Emmy-winner Anderson explained. “It’s like, you say to your dad, ‘Hey, I wanna build a race car, dad. I need $150 bucks.’ And your dad says, ‘No, I’ll give you $50.’ And then your dad says, ‘Alright, I’ll give you the money,’ and then guides you through it, but doesn’t interfere with the intricacies of it… doesn’t bother you about it and lets you go. And then he’s there to watch your race. So, that’s how I feel about John. He sees and knows what’s going on, but he doesn’t micro-manage or scrutinize you.”
“We often get asked, when we do panels for ‘Archer,’ ‘What has FX asked you to dial back? What have they not let you put in the show” Tyler revealed. “And (the “Archer” showrunners’ answer) is always essentially, ‘nothing.’ They often tell us that we can go further and we can push harder and we can be more radical. And I think that’s really rare at a network. And (Landgraf) often pushes us to challenge our viewers… We’ve never had to dumb our show down and they’ve never asked us to dial anything back in any way.”
Other guests in attendance included LL Cool J, “Weird Al” Yankovic, Liev Schreiber, Rob McElhenney, Glenn Howerton and Netflix content chief Ted Sarandos.
The Saban Community Clinic first opened its doors in 1967 as the Los Angeles Free Clinic and continues to serve low-income and uninsured individuals, providing more than 90,000 patient visits to nearly 20,000 men, women, and children each year.
Last year’s awards were hosted by Joel McHale and honored Sony Pictures Television chairman Steve Mosko and longtime clinic board member Michael Ziering.