The Motion Picture and Television Fund enlisted many of its most famous supporters to headline the virtual benefit for the COVID-19 Emergency Relief Fund, which was created to provide financial support to entertainment industry workers.
“I hope after watching all of these videos you understand that MPTF is not just about the people you see on TV — it’s about the people who do the real work. Crew is life,” host Yvette Nicole Brown told the audience, highlighting the below-the-line workers who have been severely affected by Hollywood’s shutdown due to the global pandemic.
Brown and co-host Tom Bergeron emceed the proceedings, which streamed live on MPTF’s YouTube page, while standing six feet apart on an L.A. soundstage. They offered lighthearted jokes and banter between pre-recorded bits from stars like George Clooney, Pierce Brosnan, Jodie Foster, Hugh Jackman and Allison Janney.
Clooney was the first guest, sharing a few jokes of his own. “In full disclosure, I’m not wearing any pants. And I think if you were going to be completely honest as well, you would admit that you’re not wearing pants either,” he joked, before getting introspective.
“The other day, I started my 60th year, and when you get to a certain age in life, you find that you need to look back and see how you participated. What did you stand for? Whose life did you make safer or happier, more filled with joy or love? Why were you here?” Clooney said.
Jeff Bridges echoed similar sentiments, saying “I’m sequestered right along with you guys, hunkering down. It can be a bit frustrating, I know…But there are some positive sides to this. I find I have quite a bit of time now to meditate, contemplate how we might make this world a better place once this virus has run its course. What kind of world do we want to live in, our kids live in, our grandkids live in?”
Ray Romano and Brad Garrett staged a virtual “Everybody Loves Raymond” reunion (joined by “Raymond” writer and the event’s co-producer Phil Rosenthal), razzing each other about how they’re handling quarantine. “I think for the first time, your social distancing is mirroring your emotional distancing,” Garrett quipped about Romano.
For the event’s musical acts, Brad Paisley added a new verse to his song “No I in Beer,” with a shoutout to “the farmers and the first responders, to the truck drivers shifting gears [and] every nurse that needs a break,” while “Hamilton” and “Harriet” star Leslie Odom Jr.’s young daughter Lucille’s background dancing stole the show.
Also performing during the nearly two-hour live-stream were Skyler Day, Susanna Hoffs, Randy Newman and Rachel Platten. Richard Marx, who appeared alongside his wife Daisy Fuentes, played two numbers, with MPTF residents, support staff and first responders dancing along to his song “Power of You and Me” for the finale.
The virtual event also paid tribute to the six members of the MPTF family — Leah Bernstein, John Breier, Allen Daviau, Allen Garfield, Joel Rogosin and Ann Sullivan — who died from the virus or related complications during an “In Memoriam segment,” with Brown and and Bergeron raising a champagne toast to their memory.
To see all the stars who participated in the fundraiser, watch the video above.