The late-night talk show host was the surprise performer on Saturday at Greg Berlanti and Robbie Rogers’ inaugural Barbara Berlanti Heroes Gala honoring “Arrow” star Stephen Amell and F— Cancer co-founder Yael Cohen Braun.
Noah told the audience gathered in a theater on the Warner Brothers lot that a close friend of his beat cancer. “He said, ‘Trevor, cancer is like, it’s a scary thing because they first tell you about it, you don’t believe it is happening,’” Noah said. “’You know that it exists and you don’t ever believe it’s something that can happen to you. It’s something that’s scary and you think it’s only affected you but it’s affected everyone around you and it seems like it’s the end and for some people it is, but for others, it isn’t. All you know is that you hate it every single day.’ I was like, ‘So, wow, cancer is Donald Trump.’
“It’s pretty wild,” Noah added. “He generally is. He’s a cancer.”
Noah admitted that he’s been on an emotional roller coaster since Trump was elected in 2016. “On one day, I wake up terrified by the notion that he’s the president of the most powerful nation of the world,” he said. “On the other hand, I wake up many days knowing he’s going to make me laugh. Terror and there is a joy…It’s like there’s giant asteroid headed toward the earth shaped like a penis. Like, I know I am going to die but I know I’m going to laugh.”
“The Goldbergs” star Jeff Garlin hosted the event, also adding humor to a night centered around a very serious topic.
Berlanti launched the gala in honor of his mother, who died of lung cancer about two years ago. He remembered his mom as a “larger than life” figure who was “an incredibly proud mother.
“Whenever introducing me she would say in one breathe, ‘This is my son Greg, have you seen his shows?’ Berlanti recalled. “She would hand out cards handwritten to every person she knew before every show premieres. She had these elaborate pillows made for the office every time we had a new show or film. I’d like to think of tonight as our pillow for her.”
After being presented with his award by F— Cancer co-founder Julie Greenbaum, an emotional Amell spoke about his mother, who has beaten cancer twice. “I’m so proud of you and it’s so wonderful to have you here,” the actor said to his mom, who was sitting in the audience. “You’re my role model.”
Braun said she started F— Cancer after she made a t-shirt for her mother emblazoned with the words ‘F— Cancer’ while she was battling breast cancer about 10 years ago. “It’s all she wore,” said Braun, who was presented with the Barbara Berlanti Vanguard Award by Olivia Munn. “And people’s responses were unbelievable. Strangers stopped her on the street. They hugged her. They cried. They told her beautiful, personal, intensely personal stories…It was obviously a sentiment and a war cry that resonated far beyond our family.”
Money raised at the gala will go directly to F— Cancer programs encouraging cancer prevention and early detection.
The night also included a solo performance by Kristin Chenoweth. She was supposed to duet with Ariana Grande, but because of of “things that [Grande] is going through, she couldn’t be here today,” her manager Scooter Braun said. Grande’s ex-boyfriend, rapper Mac Miller, died about a month ago of a drug overdose.
Chenoweth said three of her six aunts have had cancer and her mother is a three-time cancer survivor. “You know, I’m an Oklahoma girl and we don’t really use the f-bomb,” the Tony winner said, before quickly adding, ‘But f— cancer.”
For more information on F— Cancer, go to letsfcancer.com.